Location

Big Sky, Montana

Date

24-6-2009

Session

Session 7 – Poster Session B

Abstract

The current research represents an initial investigation of drivers’ understanding of high beam and low beam headlight patterns in a nighttime driving environment. Fifty-four university students used a highlighter to indicate on a paper diagram of a roadway scene the portion of the scene that they felt their headlights would illuminate. Although the headlight patterns produced by participants varied more than expected, several consistent patterns emerged. Classification and evaluation of these drivers’ responses revealed that many drivers misunderstand the area of the roadway that is illuminated by their headlights. These misunderstandings fall into fairly distinct patterns. The results indicate many drivers possess an incomplete understanding of the pattern of illumination provided by their headlights. These results are consistent with earlier evidence that many road users fail to appreciate the visibility challenges that exist at night.

Rights

Copyright © 2009 the author(s)

DC Citation

Proceedings of the Fifth International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training and Vehicle Design, June 22-25, 2009, Big Sky, Montana. Iowa City, IA: Public Policy Center, University of Iowa, 2009: 384-390.

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Jun 24th, 12:00 AM

How Well Do Drivers Understand Their Own Headlights?

Big Sky, Montana

The current research represents an initial investigation of drivers’ understanding of high beam and low beam headlight patterns in a nighttime driving environment. Fifty-four university students used a highlighter to indicate on a paper diagram of a roadway scene the portion of the scene that they felt their headlights would illuminate. Although the headlight patterns produced by participants varied more than expected, several consistent patterns emerged. Classification and evaluation of these drivers’ responses revealed that many drivers misunderstand the area of the roadway that is illuminated by their headlights. These misunderstandings fall into fairly distinct patterns. The results indicate many drivers possess an incomplete understanding of the pattern of illumination provided by their headlights. These results are consistent with earlier evidence that many road users fail to appreciate the visibility challenges that exist at night.