Road hazard perception is considered the most prominent higher-order cognitive skill related to traffic-accident involvement. Regional cultures and social rules that govern acceptable behavior may influence drivers’ interpretation of a traffic situation and, consequently, the correct identification of potentially hazardous situations. Here, we aimed to compare hazard perception skills among four European countries that differ in their traffic culture, policies to reduce traffic risks, and fatal crashes: Ukraine, Italy, Spain, and Sweden. We developed a static hazard perception test in which driving scenes with different levels of braking affordance were presented while drivers’ gaze was recorded. The test required drivers to indicate the action they would undertake: to brake vs. to keep driving. We assessed 218 young adult drivers. Multilevel models revealed that the scenes’ levels of braking affordance (i.e., road hazard) modulated drivers’ behavior. As the levels of braking affordance increased, drivers’ responses became faster and their gaze entropy decreased (i.e., visual search strategy became less erratic). The country of origin influenced these effects. Ukrainian drivers were the fastest and Swedish drivers were the slowest to respond. For all countries, the decrement in response times was less marked in the case of experienced drivers. Also, Spanish drivers showed the most structured (least erratic) visual search strategy, whereas the Italians had the most rigid (most constant) one. These results suggest that road hazard perception can be defined cross-culturally, with cultural factors (e.g., traffic climate, legislation) modulating response times and visual search strategies. Our results also support the idea that a multimodal assessment methodology is possible for mass testing of road hazard perception and its outcomes would be relevant to understand how different traffic cultures shape driving behavior.

A cross-cultural comparison of visual search strategies and response times in road hazard perception testing

TAGLIABUE M.;
2020

Abstract

Road hazard perception is considered the most prominent higher-order cognitive skill related to traffic-accident involvement. Regional cultures and social rules that govern acceptable behavior may influence drivers’ interpretation of a traffic situation and, consequently, the correct identification of potentially hazardous situations. Here, we aimed to compare hazard perception skills among four European countries that differ in their traffic culture, policies to reduce traffic risks, and fatal crashes: Ukraine, Italy, Spain, and Sweden. We developed a static hazard perception test in which driving scenes with different levels of braking affordance were presented while drivers’ gaze was recorded. The test required drivers to indicate the action they would undertake: to brake vs. to keep driving. We assessed 218 young adult drivers. Multilevel models revealed that the scenes’ levels of braking affordance (i.e., road hazard) modulated drivers’ behavior. As the levels of braking affordance increased, drivers’ responses became faster and their gaze entropy decreased (i.e., visual search strategy became less erratic). The country of origin influenced these effects. Ukrainian drivers were the fastest and Swedish drivers were the slowest to respond. For all countries, the decrement in response times was less marked in the case of experienced drivers. Also, Spanish drivers showed the most structured (least erratic) visual search strategy, whereas the Italians had the most rigid (most constant) one. These results suggest that road hazard perception can be defined cross-culturally, with cultural factors (e.g., traffic climate, legislation) modulating response times and visual search strategies. Our results also support the idea that a multimodal assessment methodology is possible for mass testing of road hazard perception and its outcomes would be relevant to understand how different traffic cultures shape driving behavior.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3364018
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