Scientists at the University of Granada (UGR), in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University (UK) have designed a test to train new drivers and improve their driving skills by presenting the with virtual danger situations which they might take years to actually experience.
This research, published in the Traffic Injury Prevention journal, is the first danger perception test adapted to the Spanish context. This is a test that has been employed for obtaining a driving licence in other countries (such as England, US and Australia) for over twenty years.
Scientists at the University of Granada (UGR), in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University (UK) have designed, for the first time within a Spanish context, a danger perception test for drivers that helps reduce traffic accidents. This test is particularly useful to evaluate new drivers, since it exposes them, through a series of videos, to numerous dangerous situations while driving. Virtually experiencing such situations (which they might otherwise never experience, or which they would take years to do so) trains new drivers and improves their driving skills.
This type of test has been employed for obtaining a driving licence in other countries (such as England, US and Australia) for over twenty years. Some experts suggest that it be used as a psychotechnical test to evaluate danger perception in elderly drivers.
In the danger perception test developed by the UGR drivers are shown realistic videos that display several dangerous situations. After the video, participants must answer questions such as: Identify the danger in this video, locate the danger in the scenario, what will follow as a result of this scenario? This is a means to measure the situational conscience of participants, in other words, in which degree they perceive the danger they face. This research has been published in the Traffic Injury and Prevention journal.
The advantages of danger perception tests through video or computer include that all participants can be evaluated through the same group of danger situations (or with alternative versions of the test that have the same comparable metrical properties). In the second place, neither participants nor evaluators are ever exposed to any risk. Finally, responses to dangerous situations are measured objectively instead of the more subjective results provided by evaluators.
As Cándida Castro, the PI in this research, from the Experimental Psychology Department at the UGR, explained: “our danger perception test distinguishes different types of drivers, with different degrees of experience and a different profile of relapse”. The project has been developed in collaboration with David Crundall, from Nottingham Trent University.
This research has also established that new and reoffending drivers are more prone to distraction than non-reoffending, experienced drivers.
Apprentice, new and reoffending drivers (whether they have previous experience or not) tend to underestimate danger—i.e. they acknowledge less frequently potentially dangerous situations as dangerous. They also display more risk-taking attitudes and responses than non-reoffending experienced drivers (i.e. they do not as frequently take evasive action before potential traffic dangers).
Researchers also found empirical data which suggest that training based on instructive comments improve the danger perception skills on the road, even under brief training sessions (8 minutes). This guides participants, and provides them with relevant information on where they must focus their attention to recognize and prevent danger.
This project has been funded by the General Traffic Office and the CEI-Biotic at the University of Granada. It also enjoyed the disinterested collaboration of the ‘Victoria y Luna’ driving school in Granada, and the Genil driving school in Ogíjares, both of which provided students for the survey.
Castro, C., Padilla J.L., Roca J., Benítez I., García-Fernández P., Estévez B., López-Ramón M.F. & Crundall, D. (2014). Development and validation of the Spanish Hazard Perception Test. Traffic Injury Prevention. DOI:10.1080/15389588.2013.879125
Castro, C., Peña-Suárez, E, Ventsislavova, P., Gugliotta, A.A., García-Fernández, P., Roca, J., Padilla, J.L. y Crundall, D. (2013). Desarrollo y validación de una versión nueva del test de percepción de peligros: sensibilidad al entrenamiento mediante comentarios instructivos. DGT. Proyecto de la DGT- 0100DGT23259.
Available at: http://sl.ugr.es/06CB
Cándida Castro Ramírez
Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Granada
(CIMCYC). Centre for the Research on Mind, Brain and Behaviour
Phones: 958240663 / 958 240662