Most of the information required by the driver during the driving task is perceived visually and a relevant quote of accident is due to the erroneous perception of the features of the alignment. The traditional methods, such as the drawing of the perspective of the road and computer animation techniques, for evaluating the driver perception are limited because of experiment conditions too far from the actual driving ones. Moreover they and do not allow the analysis of the driver reactions at the visual perception of the road scenario. The interactive driving simulators are believed to be the most accurate method in order to analyze the driver perception. This paper reports on experimental studies at the fixed-base driving simulator of Inter- University Research Center on Road Safety (CRISS) carried out in order to evaluate the possible erroneous perception in conditions of combined curve and to ascertain the effectiveness of the main suggestions by Italian guidelines on the coordination of horizontal and vertical alignment for avoiding wrong perception of the road environment. The results highlight the high potentials of the interactive driving simulation in order to evaluate the driver performance induced by the driver perception of the road alignment and to avoid geometric combinations which can cause undesirable optical effects and reduced road safety.
Keywords: interactive driving simulator; driver perception; road safety