Allocation of attention in familiar and unfamiliar traffic scenarios

Thompson, C ORCID: and Sabik, M 2018, 'Allocation of attention in familiar and unfamiliar traffic scenarios' , Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 55 , pp. 188-198.

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Increased travel worldwide has led to an escalation of road traffic accidents, particularly among tourists driving in unfamiliar, opposite traffic flow driving scenarios. Ability to allocate attention to driving-relevant information and regions is predicted to be the main cause of tourist accidents, with a lack of attention directed to areas of space that are inhibited in familiar traffic conventions but relevant in overseas driving. This study investigated the influence of habit and expectancy on driver behaviour and allocation of attention in familiar (left-hand traffic; LHT) and unfamiliar (right-hand traffic; RHT) contexts. Twenty-eight drivers from the UK were presented with video clips of driving taken in the UK and in Poland and asked to judge whether it was safe to enter a roundabout in each clip. Half were given information about differences in LHT and RHT situations prior to the task. Judgement performance was not influenced by this information, however accuracy was higher for LHT and the RHT task was rated more difficult, supporting the notion that driving in unfamiliar surroundings is more effortful. In LHT both groups made more fixations to the right side of each roundabout, however in RHT, whilst the control group allocated attention in the same way, the intervention group made significantly more fixations to the left. Pre-drive preparatory information can therefore increase attention to the most relevant areas of space in unfamiliar driving contexts. This has implications for drive tourism and it is suggested that such information is made more explicit to drivers.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1369-8478
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr Catherine Thompson
Date Deposited: 16 May 2018 12:58
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 23:17

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