Fail to notice or distracted? An emperical study of hazard perception among adolescents.
Geus, E. de
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This study examined the difference in hazard perception and visual search between adolescent and adult cyclists, as well as the impact of distraction hereon. This because previous car research showed that young-inexperiened drivers compared to adult-experienced drivers, are worse in hazard perception and scan traffic less widely. Previous research also showed that visual search of car drivers is impaired by distraction. In this study, adult and adolescent cyclists completed a hazard perception test, which consisted of traffic videos from the perspective of a cyclist, in a control and distraction condition. Participants were asked to press a button whenever they thought a situation was hazardous, eye movements were analyzed using an eye tracker. Results showed that overall, adults pressed the button more often during the hazard perception test than adolescents. Besides that, in the control condition, adults pressed the button more for hazardous situations and therefore scored higher on this aspect of the test than adolescents. There was no difference between age groups in terms of fixations on hazardous situations. However, there was an effect of distraction, when distracted by a secondary task, both groups fixated less in hazardous areas. Surprisingly, results of visual search showed that in the distraction condition adolescents scanned the videos more broadly from side to side compared to adults, in the control condition no difference emerged. The results suggest that on some points, adolescents have poorer hazard perception skills than adults and that distraction has an impact on hazard perception of both groups. Limitations and implications are discussed.