Driving with varying secondary task levels: mental workload, behavioural effects, and task prioritization

Nina Schaap, Bart van Arem, Richard van der Horst, Karel Brookhuis

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Advanced Driver Assistance (ADA) Systems may provide a solution for safety-critical traffic situations. But these systems are new additions into the vehicle that might increase drivers’ mental workload. How do drivers behave in situations with high mental workload, and do they actively prioritize safe driving? We conducted two driving simulator experiments, investigating the effects of increased mental workload on driving behaviour and task prioritization. Increased secondary task difficulty raised the level of mental workload. This had effects on driving behaviour, upto a certain threshold of task difficulty. Above that threshold, drivers gave priority to safe driving and gave up on the secondary task.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication11th Trail Congress Connecting People - Integrating Expertise, 23 and 24 November 2010
EditorsT.P. Alkim, T. Arentze
Place of PublicationDelft
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)978-90-5584-139-4
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2010
Event11th International TRAIL Congress 2010: Connecting People - Integrating Expertise - Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 23 Nov 201024 Nov 2010
Conference number: 11


Conference11th International TRAIL Congress 2010


  • METIS-273266
  • IR-101576
  • Driving behaviour
  • driving simulator experiment
  • mental workload
  • task prioritization
  • secondary tasks

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