Preventing drowsiness accidents by an alertness maintenance device

Willem B. Verwey, David M. Zaidel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

89 Citations (Scopus)


The reported experiment investigated in an advanced driving simulator whether drivers¿ alertness can be maintained in drowsiness-inducing conditions by a special game-like system, a `gamebox¿. Drowsiness was assessed by self-rating and eye-closures. Mental effort was assessed by a subjective workload rating scale and by a physiological measure (the 0.1 Hz component of heart rate). Driving quality and safety were assessed by steering movements, time-to-line crossings, and by the occurrence of safety-related driving errors¿solid line crossings, driving off-road incidents and accidents. When driving with the gamebox, drivers reported a lower degree of drowsiness and fewer instances of sleep episodes as compared to a control condition. Driving with the device resulted in fewer incidents and accidents, and these occurred later in the session. The quality of vehicle control deteriorated progressively over the course of the session, but less so in the gamebox condition. Hence, the results corroborate the notion that mental activity counteracts drowsiness in prolonged driving.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-211
JournalAccident analysis & prevention
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Wakefulness
  • Sleepiness
  • Man-machine systems
  • Accident prevention
  • Automobile driving
  • Arousal
  • Vigilance


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