The distractions of driving are a popular area of research. Recent studies have looked at what distracts drivers and what other failures of awareness may contribute to traffic accidents. The goal of this paper is to look at research and explain how change blindness can possibly effect driving.
One failure of awareness that seems to have a connection with traffic accidents is change blindness. Rensink (2002) proposed that change blindness occurs when a change within the scene goes unnoticed, due to the inability or difficulty to detect it. Resink (2002) also explained that change blindness can take place during a disruption in vision, such as an eye- movement or a blink.
Lees, Sparks, Lee, and Rizzo (2007) looked at the high numbers of traffic accidents that occurred among elders and conducted research to undercover some of the common risk factors. Lees et al. (2007) used two types of attention related tasks to carry out their research: useful field of view and change blindness. Useful field of view relates to memory and decision making tasks whilst change blindness relates to vision and attention (Lees et al., 2007). While both are important, attention is what is required for noticing changes; attention determines the ability to point out changes and look at a picture as a whole (Pringle, Irwin, Kramer, & Atchley, 2001). The experiment used both a driving simulator and real driving conditions. While participants were in the driving simulator, controlled “hazardous” objects were added to the driving conditions. Lees et al. (2007) then asked his participants to explain what those hazardous objects were (e.g a vehicle failing to stop at a stop sign) and were assessed to see if they acted appropriately. If the participants acted appropriately, a car crash would not transpire. The real driving conditions were based off of explicit verbal directions. Lees et al. (2007) asked the participants to verbally express what they saw in terms of landmarks (e.g restaurants). While the participants explained the landmarks, the experimenter assessed all the driving faults that occurred and tallied the number of correct landmarks that were acknowledged (Lees et al., 2007). Without being biased towards elderly drivers, Lees et al. (2007) found a common factor. It was not so much that older people could not detect change; it was the speed to which they could react to it (Lees et al., 2007). It seemed as though elders are cognitively busy both assessing the change and deciding what to in regards to it. Lees et al. (2007) acknowledged that people of all ages are susceptible to traffic crashes and proposed that people be aware of the need of attention in driving. Lees et al. (2007) also explained that when researching on different ages, specific stimuli may be considered more attractive to one individual more so than the other.
While Lees and coworkers emphasized on elderly drivers Galpin and coworkers acknowledged drivers as a whole. Galpin, Underwood and Crundal...