1. Study suggests perceptual judgment, motor skills not fully developed until age 14

    April 24, 2017 by Ashley

    From the University of Iowa press release:

    For adults, crossing the street by foot seems easy. You take stock of the traffic and calculate the time it will take to get from one side to the other without being hit.

    Yet it’s anything but simple for a child.

    New research from the University of Iowa shows children under certain ages lack the perceptual judgment and motor skills to cross a busy road consistently without putting themselves in danger. The researchers placed children from 6 to 14 years old in a realistic simulated environment and asked them to cross one lane of a busy road multiple times.

    The results: Children up to their early teenage years had difficulty consistently crossing the street safely, with accident rates as high as 8 percent with 6-year-olds. Only by age 14 did children navigate street crossing without incident, while 12-year-olds mostly compensated for inferior road-crossing motor skills by choosing bigger gaps in traffic.

    “Some people think younger children may be able to perform like adults when crossing the street,” says Jodie Plumert, professor in the UI’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. “Our study shows that’s not necessarily the case on busy roads where traffic doesn’t stop.”

    For parents, that means taking extra precautions. Be aware that your child may struggle with identifying gaps in traffic large enough to cross safely. Young children also may not have developed the fine motor skills to step into the street the moment a car has passed, like adults have mastered. And, your child may allow eagerness to outweigh reason when judging the best time to cross a busy street.

    “They get the pressure of not wanting to wait combined with these less-mature abilities,” says Plumert, corresponding author on the study, which appears in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, published by the American Psychological Association. “And that’s what makes it a risky situation.”

    The National Center for Statistics and Analysis reported 8,000 injuries and 207 fatalities involving motor vehicles and pedestrians age 14 and younger in 2014.

    Plumert and her team wanted to understand the reasons behind the accident rates. For the study, they recruited children who were 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 years old, as well as a control group of adults. Each participant faced a string of approaching virtual vehicles travelling 25 mph (considered a benchmark speed for a residential neighborhood) and then crossed a single lane of traffic (about nine feet wide). The time between vehicles ranged from two to five seconds. Each participant negotiated a road crossing 20 times, for about 2,000 total trips involving the age groups.

    The crossings took place in an immersive, 3-D interactive space at the Hank Virtual Environments Lab on the UI campus. The simulated environment is “very compelling,” says Elizabeth O’Neal, a graduate student in psychological and brain sciences and the study’s first author. “We often had kids reach out and try to touch the cars.”

    The researchers found 6-year-olds were struck by vehicles 8 percent of the time; 8-year-olds were struck 6 percent; 10-year-olds were struck 5 percent; and 12-year-olds were struck 2 percent. Those age 14 and older had no accidents.

    Children contend with two main variables when deciding whether it’s safe to cross a street, according to the research. The first involves their perceptual ability, or how they judge the gap between a passing car and an oncoming vehicle, taking into account the oncoming car’s speed and distance from the crossing. Younger children, the study found, had more difficulty making consistently accurate perceptual decisions.

    The second variable was their motor skills: How quickly do children time their step from the curb into the street after a car just passed? Younger children were incapable of timing that first step as precisely as adults, which in effect gave them less time to cross the street before the next car arrived.

    “Most kids choose similar size gaps (between the passing car and oncoming vehicle) as adults,” O’Neal says, “but they’re not able to time their movement into traffic as well as adults can.”

    The researchers found children as young as 6 crossed the street as quickly as adults, eliminating crossing speed as a possible cause for pedestrian-vehicle collisions.

    So what’s a child to do? One recommendation is for parents to teach their children to be patient and to encourage younger ones to choose gaps that are even larger than the gaps adults would choose for themselves, O’Neal says. Also, civic planners can help by identifying places where children are likely to cross streets and make sure those intersections have a pedestrian-crossing aid.

    “If there are places where kids are highly likely to cross the road, because it’s the most efficient route to school, for example, and traffic doesn’t stop there, it would be wise to have crosswalks,” Plumert says.


  2. Study suggests hands-free technology may still affect driver attention

    April 20, 2017 by Ashley

    From the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society press release:

    Drivers commonly perform secondary tasks while behind the wheel to navigate or communicate with others, which has led to a significant increase in the number of injuries and fatalities attributed to distracted driving. Advances in wearable technology, particularly devices such as Google Glass, which feature voice control and head-up display (HUD) functionalities, raise questions about how these devices might impact driver attention when used in vehicles. New human factors/ergonomics research examines how these interface characteristics can have a deleterious effect on safety.

    In their Human Factors article, “Driving While Interacting With Google Glass: Investigating the Combined Effect of Head-Up Display and Hands-Free Input on Driving Safety and Multitask Performance,” authors Kathryn Tippey, Elayaraj Sivaraj, and Thomas Ferris observed the performance of 24 participants in a driving simulator. The participants engaged in four texting-while-driving tasks: baseline (driving only), and driving plus reading and responding to text messages via (a) a smartphone keyboard, (b) a smartphone voice-to text system, and (c) Google Glass’s voice-to-text system using HUD.

    The authors found that driving performance degraded regardless of secondary texting task type, but manual entry led to slower reaction times and significantly more eyes-off-road glances than voice-to-text input using both smartphones and Google Glass. Glass’ HUD function required only a change in eye direction to read and respond to text messages, rather than the more disruptive change in head and body posture associated with smartphones. Participants also reported that Glass was easier to use and interfered less with driving than did the other devices tested.

    Tippey, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Research and Innovation in Systems Safety at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says, “Our evidence suggests that adding voice input and using an HUD can make secondary tasks like texting while driving less unsafe. However, regardless of entry or display method, it is not safe to perform these types of secondary task while driving in environments where the workload from driving is already heavy.”


  3. Drivers who slow down while using mobile phones may potentially increase on-road conflicts

    April 17, 2017 by Ashley

    From the Queensland University of Technology press release:

    Drivers who slow down while using mobile phones have the potential to increase on-road conflicts, a new QUT study warns.

    Oscar Oviedo-Trespalacios, from QUT’s Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety — Queensland (CARRS-Q), said distracted drivers reducing their speed might sound favourable in terms of safety, but it could also lead to other types of crash risk.

    Drivers frustrated by following slow moving vehicles whose drivers have reduced speed to keep talking on their phones may perform aggressive overtaking manoeuvres, increasing the crash risk for other road users,” he said.

    The results of the study “Effects of road infrastructure and traffic complexity in speed adaptation behaviour of distracted drivers” have been published in the leading road safety journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.

    Mr Oviedo-Trespalacios said using a mobile phone while driving had been shown to increase crash risk four-fold.

    “Young drivers are particularly at risk as there is a greater prevalence of driving while using a mobile phone in this age group.

    “While it’s illegal to use a handheld mobile phone while driving in Australia research has shown drivers continue to adopt the dangerous practice.”

    In a bid to highlight the dangers but also identify possible solutions, Mr Oviedo-Trespalacios’ research has looked at the way drivers react and respond to mobile phone use behind the wheel.

    “We found that on average distracted drivers travel at about 5km/h slower when following another vehicle and almost 3km/h slower in free-flowing traffic.

    “The negative consequences this has on other road users include increased risk of nose-to-tail crashes as a result of sudden stopping, perception of discourteous or aggressive driver behaviour, as well congestion to the transport system,” he said.

    “I guess the question needs to be asked, do we really want to sacrifice safety, efficiency and courtesy just to have a conversation?”

    Mr Oviedo-Trespalacios said the research also suggested ideas for safe ways to use mobile phones while driving.

    “We need to consider that if we can’t stop drivers using their mobile phones, is there a way to make it safe?

    “For example, changing the design of mobile phones so they are context-aware and only work when it is safe to do so.

    “Other options maybe looking at advances in technology and developing warning systems that alert drivers when they are distracted, or advise drivers of when it is safe to use their phone handsfree.”


  4. Study suggests hands-free talking and texting are unsafe

    June 27, 2013 by Ashley

    From the University of Utah press release via EurekAlert!:

    Cellphone DistractionUsing hands-free devices to talk, text or send e-mail while driving is distracting and risky, contrary to what many people believe, says a new University of Utah study issued today by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

    “Our research shows that hands-free is not risk-free,” says University of Utah psychology Professor David Strayer, lead author of the study, which he conducted for the foundation arm of the nonprofit AAA, formerly known as the American Automobile Association.

    These new, speech-based technologies in the car can overload the driver’s attention and impair their ability to drive safely,” says Strayer. “An unintended consequence of trying to make driving safer – by moving to speech-to-text, in-vehicle systems – may actually overload the driver and make them less safe.”

    Just because you can update Facebook while driving doesn’t mean that it is safe to do so,” he adds. “Don’t assume that if your eyes are on the road and your hands are on the wheel that you are unimpaired. If you don’t pay attention then you are a potential hazard on the roadway.”

    In a 2006 study, Strayer first showed talking on a hands-free cell phone was just as distracting as using a hand-held phone while driving, but the message has failed to fully connect with the public, with many people believing hands-free devices are safer. But now, with the backing of the AAA, Strayer hopes people realize they are risking their lives and those of others by using distracting hands-free phone, e-mailing, texting and social media technologies while driving.

    Strayer conducted the study with these other members of the University of Utah Department of Psychology: Joel M. Cooper, research assistant professor of psychology; and doctoral students Jonna Turrill, James Coleman and Nate Medeiros-Ward and Francesco Biondi.


  5. Study examines how to talk about “driving retirement”

    June 11, 2013 by Ashley

    From the University of Colorado Denver press release via EurekAlert!:

    Senior DriverClinicians often wait too long before talking to elderly patients about giving up driving even though many may be open to those discussions earlier, according to a new study from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the CU College of Nursing.

    These conversations often don’t happen until clinicians see a ‘red flag’ which could mean an accident or some physical problem that makes driving more difficult for the elderly,” said Marian Betz, MD, MPH, at the CU School of Medicine and lead author of the study. “But what’s interesting is that most elderly drivers we spoke with said they were open to having earlier discussions.”

    The study, published last week in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, involved focus groups and interviews with 33 drivers over age 65 and eight health care providers including physicians, nurses and physician assistants. The research was done at three clinics at the CU School of Medicine, and drivers were recruited from a local senior center and senior living community.

    The study found that while clinicians were often the first to raise the subject of elderly drivers handing over their car keys, they tended to wait for ‘red flags’ before bringing it up. They also reported that those conversations were usually “unpleasant.”

    Elderly drivers, meanwhile, said they were open to these discussions and generally saw their medical providers as “fair minded.” At the same time, the majority said they didn’t believe their providers were aware of their driving status or ability. The elderly also tended to see a smaller role for family members in conversations about whether they should stop driving.

    “Driving is linked to independence and asking for someone’s keys is very emotional,” said Betz, who conducted an earlier study on creating advanced directives to help drivers plan for future changes in driving. “Studies have shown that most people outlive their ability to drive safely by more than six years.”

    Betz said health care providers should start conversations with elderly drivers earlier, perhaps at age 65 when Medicare benefits kick in. That way, drivers can be thinking about it years before having to make the decision.

    “A primary theme that emerged from this study was the overall importance of improved communication about driving safety,” the study said. “Both clinicians and drivers supported the idea of regular questioning about driving as a way to make it an easier topic, as patients might be more receptive if they heard it once before.

    The researchers recommended a practice known as ‘anticipatory guidance’ in gently preparing elderly drivers, by monitoring physical and mental changes, for the day when they could no longer operate a vehicle safely. Doctors could include driving status in their patient questionnaires and talk about it during regular office visits, they said.

    “It’s not just about taking the keys, it’s about making plans,” said Betz, an emergency room physician. “Drivers in our studies reported needing help in preparing for that transition, including learning about transportation alternatives.”

    Issues surrounding elderly drivers have been around for decades, but with 10,000 baby-boomers turning 65 every each day, it has taken on a new urgency.

    “It is now a public health issue,” Betz said. “Driving is such an important part to living in America. Mobility is critical, mobility is freedom. But at some point most people will develop difficulties with driving, so we all need to prepare for it.”


  6. Study suggests hands-free talking while driving lead to spike in errors

    June 5, 2013 by Ashley

    From the University of Alberta press release via ScienceDaily:

    Cellphone DistractionTalking on a hands-free device while behind the wheel can lead to a sharp increase in errors that could imperil other drivers on the road, according to new research from the University of Alberta.

    A pilot study by Yagesh Bhambhani, a professor in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, and his graduate student Mayank Rehani, showed that drivers who talk using a hands-free cellular device made significantly more driving errors — such as crossing the centre line, speeding and changing lanes without signalling — compared with just driving alone. The jump in errors also corresponded with a spike in heart rate and brain activity.

    “It is commonplace knowledge, but for some reason it is not getting into the public conscience that the safest thing to do while driving is to focus on the road,” said Rehani, who completed the research for his master’s thesis in rehabilitation science at the U of A.

    The researchers became interested in the topic in 2009 shortly after Alberta introduced legislation that banned the use of handheld cellphones while driving but not hands-free devices. In this study, they used near infrared spectroscopy to study the brain activity of 26 participants who completed a driving course using the Virage VS500M driving simulator at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.

    Near infrared spectroscopy is a non-invasive optical technique that allows researchers to examine real-time changes in brain activity in the left prefrontal lobe. Participants were first tested in a control condition, using the simulator to drive in city street conditions using no telecommunications device. They were tested again while talking on a hands-free device during two-minute conversations that avoided emotionally charged topics.

    The research team found there was a significant increase in brain activity while talking on a hands-free device compared with the control condition. A majority of participants showed a significant increase in oxyhemoglobin in the brain, with a simultaneous drop in deoxyhemoglobin — a sign of enhanced neuronal activation during hands-free telecommunication.

    “The findings also indicated that blood flow to the brain is significantly increased during hands-free telecommunication in order to meet the oxygen demands of the neurons under the ‘distracted’ condition,” said Bhambhani.

    He added the results did not reveal a significant relationship between enhanced neuronal activation and the increase in the number of driving errors, most likely because the near infrared spectroscopy measurements were recorded from a single site, the prefrontal lobe.

    The findings are considered novel on a topic that is receiving considerable attention by policy-makers globally. Rehani’s contribution to the project earned him the 2013 Alberta Rehabilitation Award for Innovation in Rehabilitation (Student).

    The researchers note this is a preliminary study and hope that it can be part of a larger body of literature that can help inform policy-makers about the safety implications of using hands-free devices while driving.

    For Rehani, the work was part of rewarding academic journey at the U of A, which gave him opportunities to do research in a number of areas in neuroscience. He said he received outstanding support from both the faculty and colleagues at the Glenrose — including Quentin Ranson, the occupational therapist and rehabilitation technology lead who helped facilitate the simulator research.

    “To have a Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, which is the only free-standing faculty of its kind in Western Canada, and to have a hospital like the Glenrose dedicated to rehabilitation, is amazing,” he said. “Both workplaces have such a collegial environment, with quality faculty and staff who are both working toward patient betterment. These institutions connect so well, it’s fantastic.”


  7. Study examines demographic profile of people who use cellphones while driving

    June 3, 2013 by Ashley

    From the University of Alberta press release via EurekAlert!:

    Cellphone DistractionIf you’re still using your mobile phone behind the wheel, University of Alberta sociology researcher Abu Nurullah likely has your number.

    More specifically, he can tell what statistical category you fall under. Using survey data from mid-2011—just months before Alberta’s distracted-driving law went into effect—Nurullah and his colleagues determined several characteristics of people who appear to top the risk scale by using cellphones while driving. The data are useful for police who have to deal with unlawful drive-and-dialers, and for policy-makers seeking to change offenders’ habits with ad campaigns.

    Nurullah says that although campaigns are an important piece of curbing the behaviour, social pressure from family and friends is also important.

    “I think the social influence is the key one. Friends, family, employers—they should be influencing others to reduce the use of cellphones while driving,” he said. “Effective enforcement of the laws should include not only fines for such offences, but also mandatory lessons on the dangers of cellphone use while operating a vehicle.”

    Driving demographics: Mobile phone use by the numbers:

    • Men outnumbered women by almost 10 per cent in phone use while driving. The largest proportion of offenders in both groups fell in the 35-to-44 age category.
    • The majority of mobile users had completed post-secondary education.
    • Among income brackets, the lowest income earners had the lowest level of cellphone use while driving. Rates of use increased with each income category, with those earning over $100,000 per year being the top users.
    • A slight majority of users indicated not being religious.

    “These stats can be used to identify the worst offenders for effective enforcement of laws that deter cellphone use while operating a vehicle,” said Nurullah. “Since males are more likely to undertake risky driving, it is expected that they would use cellphones more in driving situations.”

    Attitude adjustment: Social pressure and education critical

    The survey also highlighted people’s perceptions of the dangers of using a cellphone while driving. The majority of people—those who used cellphones while driving and those who didn’t—agreed that texting while driving was dangerous and that cellphone use was more likely to result in a collision. But a much smaller minority said they didn’t believe cellphone use is as dangerous as impaired driving.

    Though the legislation introduced in 2011 may have curbed some use, Nurullah says that a common levelling-off effect means other measures need to be put in place to convince itinerant talkers to hang up and drive.

    “There should be an emphasis on educating people about this, changing people’s mindsets about doing this, because it is risky,” he said. “There is no alternative to social pressure because it is more effective than legal enforcement. Social media campaigns can also be designed to make people informed about safe driving practices involving the use of cellphones.”

     


  8. Study suggests driving and hands-free talking lead to spike in errors

    May 29, 2013 by Ashley

    From the University of Alberta press release via EurekAlert!:

    driving_trafficTalking on a hands-free device while behind the wheel can lead to a sharp increase in errors that could imperil other drivers on the road, according to new research from the University of Alberta.

    A pilot study by Yagesh Bhambhani, a professor in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, and his graduate student Mayank Rehani, showed that drivers who talk using a hands-free cellular device made significantly more driving errors—such as crossing the centre line, speeding and changing lanes without signalling—compared with just driving alone. The jump in errors also corresponded with a spike in heart rate and brain activity.

    “It is commonplace knowledge, but for some reason it is not getting into the public conscience that the safest thing to do while driving is to focus on the road,” said Rehani, who completed the research for his master’s thesis in rehabilitation science at the U of A.

    The researchers became interested in the topic in 2009 shortly after Alberta introduced legislation that banned the use of handheld cellphones while driving but not hands-free devices. In this study, they used near infrared spectroscopy to study the brain activity of 26 participants who completed a driving course using the Virage VS500M driving simulator at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.

    Near infrared spectroscopy is a non-invasive optical technique that allows researchers to examine real-time changes in brain activity in the left prefrontal lobe. Participants were first tested in a control condition, using the simulator to drive in city street conditions using no telecommunications device. They were tested again while talking on a hands-free device during two-minute conversations that avoided emotionally charged topics.

    The research team found there was a significant increase in brain activity while talking on a hands-free device compared with the control condition. A majority of participants showed a significant increase in oxyhemoglobin in the brain, with a simultaneous drop in deoxyhemoglobin—a sign of enhanced neuronal activation during hands-free telecommunication.

    “The findings also indicated that blood flow to the brain is significantly increased during hands-free telecommunication in order to meet the oxygen demands of the neurons under the ‘distracted’ condition,” said Bhambhani.

    He added the results did not reveal a significant relationship between enhanced neuronal activation and the increase in the number of driving errors, most likely because the near infrared spectroscopy measurements were recorded from a single site, the prefrontal lobe.

    The findings are considered novel on a topic that is receiving considerable attention by policy-makers globally. Rehani’s contribution to the project earned him the 2013 Alberta Rehabilitation Award for Innovation in Rehabilitation (Student).

    The researchers note this is a preliminary study and hope that it can be part of a larger body of literature that can help inform policy-makers about the safety implications of using hands-free devices while driving.

    For Rehani, the work was part of rewarding academic journey at the U of A, which gave him opportunities to do research in a number of areas in neuroscience. He said he received outstanding support from both the faculty and colleagues at the Glenrose—including Quentin Ranson, the occupational therapist and rehabilitation technology lead who helped facilitate the simulator research.

    “To have a Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, which is the only free-standing faculty of its kind in Western Canada, and to have a hospital like the Glenrose dedicated to rehabilitation, is amazing,” he said. “Both workplaces have such a collegial environment, with quality faculty and staff who are both working toward patient betterment. These institutions connect so well, it’s fantastic.”

     


  9. Study suggests brain can’t cope with making a left-hand turn and talking on hands-free cell phone

    March 4, 2013 by Ashley

    From the St. Michael’s Hospital press release via EurekAlert!:

    driving frustrationMost serious traffic accidents occur when drivers are making a left-hand turn at a busy intersection.

    When those drivers are also talking on a hands-free cell phone, “that could be the most dangerous thing they ever do on the road,” said Dr. Tom Schweizer, a researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital.

    Researchers led by Dr. Schweizer tested healthy young drivers operating a novel driving simulator equipped with a steering wheel, brake pedal and accelerator inside a high-powered functional MRI. All previous studies on distracted driving have used just a joy-stick or trackball or else patients passively watching scenarios on a screen.

    Immersing a driving simulator with a fully functional steering wheel and pedals in an MRI at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre allowed researchers to map in real time which parts of the brain were activated or deactivated as the simulator took them through increasingly difficult driving maneuvers.

    The researchers were able to show for the first time that making a left-hand turn requires a huge amount of brain activation and involves far more areas of the brain than driving on a straight road or other maneuvers.

    When the drivers were also involved in a conversation, the part of the brain that controls vision significantly reduced its activity as the part that controls monitoring a conversation and attention was activated.

    The research was published today online in the open access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

    Visually, a left-hand turn is quite demanding,” Dr. Schweizer said. “You have to look at oncoming traffic, pedestrians and lights, and coordinate all that. Add talking on a cell phone, and your visual area shuts down significantly, which obviously is key to performing the maneuver.”

    The simulation had the drivers making six left turns with oncoming traffic, which required them to decide when to turn safely. It then distracted them, by making them answer a series of true-false audio questions, such as “Does a triangle have four sides?” The MRIs showed that blood moved from the visual cortex, which controls sight, to the prefrontal cortex, which controls decision-making.

    “Brain activity shifted dramatically from the posterior, visual and spatial areas [of the brain] to the prefrontal cortex,” said Dr. Schweizer, a neuroscientist and director of the Neuroscience Research Program at the hospital’s Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute.

    “This study provides real-time neuroimaging evidence supporting previous behavioural observations suggesting that multitasking while driving may compromise vision and alertness. ‘Hands free’ not does mean ‘brains free.'”

    Dr. Schweizer said his study needed to be replicated in larger groups and with various age groups and with people with known brain impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease.


  10. Study examines causes of road rage

    January 15, 2013 by Sue

    From the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health press release via EurekAlert!:

    driving frustrationCutting in and weaving, speeding, and hostile displays are among the top online complaints posted by drivers, according to a new study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) recently published in an online issue of Accident Analysis and Prevention.

    Driver aggression is a major safety concern and researchers estimate this behaviour is a factor in nearly half of all motor vehicle collisions. Identifying the underlying causes and strategies for preventing driver aggression continues to be a priority.

    CAMH researcher Dr. Christine Wickens reviewed thousands of entries posted on RoadRagers.com, a website that invites drivers to submit complaints about unsafe and improper driving.

    Following a previous study evaluating complaints submitted to the Ontario Provincial Police, Dr. Wickens turned her attention towards the crop of new websites that ask drivers to describe the unsafe driving practices they’ve observed.

    “These websites can tell us more about what people are doing out there in the real world,” she explained.

    Dr. Wickens, a post-doctoral fellow with CAMH’s Social and Epidemiological Research Department, and her colleagues evaluated more than 5,000 entries posted on RoadRagers.com between 1999 and 2007. The team sorted the complaints — which consisted mostly of reports on driving in Canada and the U.S. — into various categories, including: speeding/racing, erratic/improper braking and blocking.

    The most common complaints involved cutting in and weaving (54 per cent of all complaints), speeding (29 per cent) and hostile displays (25 per cent).

    The research team also discussed how slighted drivers might feel compelled to retaliate or ‘teach other drivers a lesson.’ In some extreme cases, one reckless action can escalate into a hostile situation between multiple drivers.

    The next step in the research will be to examine how slighted drivers perceive the offensive actions of another motorist: Is the other driver in a rush, negligent, or deliberately aggressive? How do these different interpretations affect how we respond?

    With this in mind, Dr. Wickens advises drivers to work hard at keeping cool behind the wheel.

    Remind yourself to take a deep breath, stay calm, and do whatever it takes to bring your anger down,” she said.

    Dr. Wickens suggested that educating drivers during their training on the most common complaints might help them realize the impact of their actions and avoid these types of behaviours. The training could also teach drivers to be aware of their own responses associated with behaviours they are likely to encounter on the road.