Dividing and Focussing Attention Hazards in Virtual Nottingham

Panos Konstantopoulos, Peter Chapman, David Crundall

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    Driving environment is complex and full of potential hazards. Safe driving depends on driver’s ability to monitor multiple sources. However, dividing attention across multiple potential hazards must give way to focussing upon one actual hazard when it occurs. Previous research has used the term Dividing and Focussing attention (DF) for these situations. Also, it has been stated that novice drivers find it more difficult to cope with DF hazards than experienced drivers. In order to further investigate this issue, we developed several simulated scenarios on which the driver needs to monitor two hazard precursors (e.g. two pedestrians on either side of the road). Eventually, one of these precursors turns into an actual hazard (e.g. one of the pedestrians walks into the road) on which the driver has to allocate attention and adjust driving behavior. A motion-based driving simulator was used to conduct this study. Participants drove around virtual Nottingham, a high-definition database (LiDAR scan), while their driving behaviour was recorded. The results are discussed in relation to DF hazard behaviour, driving experience and gender.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012

    Bibliographical note

    The full text presentation is available on the ICTTP (International Conference of Traffic and Transport Psychology) website (above link). The presentation was given at the International Conference of Traffic and Transport Psychology (ICTTP), Groningen, The Netherlands, 29-31 August 2012. Author's note: The study demonstrated a new way of assessing hazard perception. The paper presented a novel experimental methodology that was conducted in the newly developed state-of-the-art driving simulator of University of Nottingham. Following the presentation there were discussions about the research potential of the methodology. In addition, some delegates provided constructive feedback on the methodology, simulation operation and future research directions. Based on the findings of this study a small research grant has been submitted and a paper manuscript is in preparation. With some minor additions, the experimental method could provide new insights of how to improve hazard perception testing and improve novice drivers’ ability to anticipate hazards hence improve traffic safety records. Currently, there are discussions with SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research, The Netherlands to exchange knowledge in the generation of pedestrian hazards.


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