Intelligent warning systems may make 'dilemma zone' safer

Apr 02, 2014

Most drivers have experienced a traffic signal that turns yellow just as they approach an intersection, which makes it difficult for them to decide whether to stop or proceed through it. The wrong choice in this critical situation, known as the "dilemma zone," may lead to crashes, especially at high-speed intersections. A new study published in Human Factors examines how intelligent warning systems help drivers negotiate the dilemma zone and encourage safer driving behavior.

"Intelligent systems could improve driver safety by potentially reducing crashes at signalized ," said Leo Gugerty, a coauthor of "Effects of Intelligent Advanced Warnings on Drivers Negotiating the Dilemma Zone" and professor of psychology at Clemson University. "Statistics from the Federal Highway Administration show that signalized intersections are dangerous places, and our study provides some evidence that intelligent dilemma zone warnings help behave more safely when approaching them."

Researchers Leo Gugerty, Scott McIntyre, Drew Link, Karl Zimmerman, Devendra Tolani, Peter Huang, and Robert Pokorny designed two studies to compare the effectiveness of six types of roadway or in-vehicle warning systems. Participants were asked to navigate through dilemma zone traffic lights while their responses were measured based on the presence or absence of warning signals.

"Sometimes drivers respond to safety measures in ways that undo safety benefits, such as driving faster when using antilock brakes," said Gugerty. "However, the drivers in our simulator studies responded to the dilemma zone warning signals by driving more safely."

Results indicated that both roadway and in-vehicle warnings led to more stopping and milder decelerations at dilemma zone intersections. When given advanced warning, the participants rarely exhibited unsafe driving behavior, such as accelerating to beat the light. In time, implementation of such systems could lead to fewer traffic-related injuries and fatalities.

Explore further: MIT team's wireless Vital-Radio could follow breathing, heart rate at home

More information: "Human Factors and Ergonomics: People-Friendly Design Through Science and Engineering" Plan to attend the HFES 2014 International Annual Meeting, October 27-31, Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Related Stories

Jaywalking not worth the risk, expert says

Dec 16, 2013

The hectic holidays may have many looking to save a few extra minutes wherever they can be found, but a University of Alabama at Birmingham expert says one seemingly small action—jaywalking—should be ...

Accident rates improving for older US drivers

Feb 20, 2014

Safety researchers expressed concern a decade ago that traffic accidents would increase as the aging U.S. population swelled the number of older drivers on the road. Now, they say they' have been proved wrong.

Recommended for you

Team develops faster, higher quality 3-D camera

Apr 24, 2015

When Microsoft released the Kinect for Xbox in November 2010, it transformed the video game industry. The most inexpensive 3-D camera to date, the Kinect bypassed the need for joysticks and controllers by ...

Researchers finding applications for tough spinel ceramic

Apr 24, 2015

Imagine a glass window that's tough like armor, a camera lens that doesn't get scratched in a sand storm, or a smart phone that doesn't break when dropped. Except it's not glass, it's a special ceramic called ...

Classroom acoustics for architects

Apr 23, 2015

The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) has published a free online booklet for architects to aid in the application of ANSI/ASA S12.60-2010/Part 1-American National Standard Acoustical Performance Criteria, Design Requirements, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.