Alternative methods of measuring hazard perception: Sensitivity to driving experience
Drivers? ability to perceive and react to hazards has been a focus of much research over the past two decades, and hazard perception testing is an increasingly important part of the driver licensing process world-wide.
Hazard perception appears to be sensitive to crash-involvement and driving experience. However, the methodological approach and conceptual basis of these experiments has varied considerably. This may account for why the effects observed in some studies have not always been replicated in others, and why development of truly parallel versions of hazard perception tests has proven difficult. Comparison of different methods to test hazard perception is theoretically important ? to gain a better understanding of the psychological processes which underpin hazard perception, and practically important ? to driver training, education, and licensing.
Outcomes of various methods of assessing hazard detection with still and moving images of traffic scenes are presented here. Novice (N=86) and Experienced (N=20) drivers were asked to detect any hazards or potential hazards, tested under distraction and non-distraction conditions, in photographed traffic scenes. Objects identified as hazards and the time taken to make such responses were the basis of several different analytical approaches. Comparisons were made between experienced and novice drivers using experts? ratings.
Experienced drivers detected hazards significantly faster than Novice drivers. Whilst no significant effect was found for hazard perception accuracy as a function of driving experience, qualitative analysis indicated that lane type and whether the object was fixed or moving did show differences. Implications of these results for understanding hazard perception are discussed.