A Comparison of Tactile, Visual, and Auditory Warnings for Rear-End Collision Prevention in Simulated Driving

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Colleges, School and Institutes


OBJECTIVE This study examined the effectiveness of rear-end collision warnings presented in different sensory modalities as a function of warning timing in a driving simulator. BACKGROUND The proliferation of in-vehicle information and entertainment systems threatens driver attention and may increase the risk of rear-end collisions. Collision warning systems have been shown to improve inattentive and/or distracted driver response time (RT) in rear-end collision situations. However, most previous rear-end collision warning research has not directly compared auditory, visual, and tactile warnings. METHOD Sixteen participants in a fixed-base driving simulator experienced four warning conditions: no warning, visual, auditory, and tactile. The warnings activated when the time-to-collision (TTC) reached a critical threshold of 3.0 or 5.0 s. Driver RT was captured from a warning below critical threshold to brake initiation. RESULTS Drivers with a tactile warning had the shortest mean RT. Drivers with a tactile warning had significantly shorter RT than drivers without a warning and had a significant advantage over drivers with visual warnings. CONCLUSION Tactile warnings show promise as effective rear-end collision warnings. APPLICATION The results of this study can be applied to the future design and evaluation of automotive warnings designed to reduce rear-end collisions.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-275
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2008