Improving long term driving comfort by taking breaks - How break activity affects effectiveness

Appl Ergon. 2017 Nov:65:81-89. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2017.05.008. Epub 2017 Jun 12.


During long duration journeys, drivers are encouraged to take regular breaks. The benefits of breaks have been documented for safety; breaks may also be beneficial for comfort. The activity undertaken during a break may influence its effectiveness. Volunteers completed 3 journeys on a driving simulator. Each 130 min journey included a 10 min break after the first hour. During the break volunteers either stayed seated, left the simulator and sat in an adjacent room, or took a walk on a treadmill. The results show a reduction in driver discomfort during the break for all 3 conditions, but the effectiveness of the break was dependent on activity undertaken. Remaining seated in the vehicle provided some improvement in comfort, but more was experienced after leaving the simulator and sitting in an adjacent room. The most effective break occurred when the driver walked for 10 min on a treadmill. The benefits from taking a break continued until the end of the study (after a further hour of driving), such that comfort remained the best after taking a walk and worst for those who remained seated. It is concluded that taking a break and taking a walk is an effective method for relieving driving discomfort.

Keywords: Automotive; Driving comfort; Seating; Taking breaks.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Posture
  • Rest*
  • Time Factors
  • Vibration / adverse effects*
  • Visual Analog Scale
  • Walking*