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Safety and Human Factors

Driver's side of a car with a pair of cameras or projectors mounted on the dashboard and a computer-generated scene in the side mirror

The Safety and Human Factors area conducts studies using the DriveSafety DS-600cd Research Simulator, Seeing Machines faceLAB5 system, video data extraction equipment and other field equipment to address some of the following areas:

  • Road and Intersection Designs - layout, traffic flow, work zones, signs and signals, pavement markings and controls, external advertisements, external events, in-vehicle signals, warning lights/sounds, difficult maneuvers such as left turns, merging, stopping, backing, parking, acceleration, passing, lane changes, lane choices, roundabouts, etc.
  • Conditions -night, dusk/dawn, temperature variance, rain, snow, fog, pavement types, road contour, road width, shoulder width, confusing or new exchanges or patterns, etc.
  • Distractions -cell phones, radios, CD/MP3 players, headphones, video systems, computers, cruise control, and driver assistance systems; impact of other passengers (adult, children, infants); impact of eating and/or drinking while driving; etc.
  • Attitudes -impact on driving performance including thoughts toward risk, authority, anger, patience, aggression, etc.
  • Age / Gender - novice and elderly drivers – inability to stay in a driving lane, misjudging distances between cars, poor decisions at intersections, behavioral impulsivity (hitting the gas instead of the break), etc.
  • Impairments -eye wear, vision correction, Glaucoma; blocked or narrow field of vision issues including left and right side blind spots; driving and loss of hear hearing; driving and drugs (legal and illegal); and driving and alcohol; etc.
  • Medical Conditions - neurological impairment or disease; e.g., Alzheimer’s, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, diabetes, bipolar disorder, epilepsy; driving performance of handicapped, those using prostheses, etc.
  • New Vehicle Equipment - in-vehicle information systems, proximity warning systems, rear video systems, restraint systems, data recording systems, mapping systems, etc.
  • Rehabilitation and Fitness - traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, coronary disease, extremity injuries, major and minor surgery, hours behind the wheel, lack of sleep, time of day, frequency of exercise, occupational impact, etc.
  • Learning and Training- relationships between speed, breaking and following distance, responding to unsafe and dangerous driving actions, emergency situations, and improving driver confidence.