2107 Older Drivers at the Wheel – How Do They Feel Under Difficult Driving Circumstances?

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011: 1:30 PM
S320E (Orange County Convention Center )
Weihong Guo , Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Daniel Brennan , Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Phil Blythe , Professor, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
Description of Paper:

Driving is important to older adults in maintaining mobility, independent living and participating social activities. With the rapid growth of ageing population, keeping older drivers drive safely for longer would benefit both individuals and the whole society. This study aimed to gain a clear understanding of ageing-related issues under difficult driving circumstances. Older adults who were over 60 years old and still active drivers were recruited and asked to undertake various driving tasks with their own car. The designed tasks included driving at peak time in congestion, merging into motorways, overtaking slower vehicles, going through roundabouts, and making right turns at junctions and roundabouts. Physiological data including heart rate, breathing rate and skin temperature were captured to measure the drivers’ stress levels. Digital video cameras were used to capture the surroundings along the journeys and to define the driver’s reaction points and lateral lane position. The changes of stress level were analysed alongside the driving conditions, reaction points and lateral lane positions. The analytical results provided evidence of the impact of difficult driving circumstances on older drivers. Based on the experimental findings of this study, suggestions on advanced driver support systems were identified and are to be used as the input of the next stage of investigation – evaluating the effectiveness of advanced driver support systems. The detailed results will be presented in the full paper.