Knowing how and where to look reduces driving risks

Training young and new drivers so that they pay attention to their peripheral vision could reduce road traffic accidents. Road traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death globally and young novice drivers are the most likely to be involved.

Driving a car is a fairly complex task which requires us to undertake a number of simultaneous tasks. Paying attention to what is happening in your peripheral vision is one of them. With experience, drivers acquire the capacity to detect potential threats outside of their central vision. New drivers, however, are busy processing unfamiliar information on the road and have little capacity to pay attention to their peripheral vision.

Dr. Donghyun Ryu at the School of Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences is testing a training method that he is developing, which could significantly contribute to safer roads.

By developing a training technique to teach people to pay attention to their peripheral vision, he hopes to improve new drivers’ perception of hazards.

“Once the study is completed, this method of training could be introduced in driving schools around the world,” says Dr. Donghyun Ryu.

If you’re wondering what this might have to do with sport, Dr Ryu adds:

“We’ve successfully tested the method on sports players to try and increase their performance by teaching them to select and integrate the most useful information. Given that driving also relies on perception of a rapidly changing environment, I decided I would test a similar training technique on novice drivers.”

Dr. Ryu’s research, How To Reduce The Risk Of Accidents In Driving: The Effect Of Gaze-Contingent Perceptual Training On Driving Safety is funded by an AXA Research Fund Post-Doctoral Fellowship. Here’s a video that they’ve produced.

Publication date: 21 February 2018