Hazard perception in novice and experienced drivers: the effects of sleepiness

Accid Anal Prev. 2009 Jul;41(4):729-33. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2009.03.016. Epub 2009 Apr 17.


One driver skill that has been found to correlate with crash risk is hazard perception ability. The purpose of this study was to investigate how hazard perception latencies change between high and low sleepiness for a high risk group (novice drivers) and a lower risk group (experienced drivers). Thirty-two novice drivers (aged 17-24 years) and 30 experienced drivers (aged 28-36) completed a validated video-based hazard perception test, in which participants were asked to anticipate genuine traffic conflicts in footage filmed from the driver's perspective, with separate groups tested at either 10a.m. (lower sleepiness) or at 3a.m. (higher sleepiness). We found a significant interaction between sleepiness and experience, indicating that the hazard perception skills of the more experienced drivers were relatively unaffected by mild increases in sleepiness while the inexperienced drivers were significantly slowed. The findings suggest that the disproportionate sleepiness-related accident involvement of young, inexperienced drivers could be partly due to a slowing of their ability to anticipate traffic hazards.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attention*
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data*
  • Automobiles*
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception*
  • Psychometrics
  • Queensland
  • Reaction Time
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk*
  • Safety*
  • Time Factors
  • Wakefulness*
  • Young Adult