Age-related difference in steering control under reduced visibility conditions

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Nguyen, Bobby T.
Zhuo, Yan
Ni, Rui

Rui Ni, Bobby T. Nguyen, Yan Zhuo, Age-related Difference in Steering Control under Reduced Visibility Conditions, Displays, Available online 25 September 2012, ISSN 0141-9382, 10.1016/j.displa.2012.09.001.


The current study investigated age-related differences in a steering control task under low visibility conditions. Younger and older drivers were presented with displays simulating forward vehicle motion through a 3D scene of random dots on a ground plane. The lateral position of the vehicle was perturbed by a simulated side wind gust according to a sum of sinusoidal functions. The drivers’ task was to steer the vehicle to maintain a straight path. The visibility of the driving scene was reduced by reducing the quantity and the quality of the optical flow field. We found that performance decreased when visibility was reduced for both older and younger drivers, with better performance for younger drivers as compared with older drivers. An age-related interaction was also found with deteriorated optical flow information. These results suggest that under reduced visibility conditions, older drivers may have increased accident risks due to decreased ability to successfully steer the vehicle.

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