M. Lavallière, M. Tremblay, V. Cantin, M. Simoneau, N. Teasdale
With the increasing number of elderly drivers, it is important to better understand if strategies for capturing visual information are affected by age and by the complexity of the driving contexts. Ten young (aged 21-31 years) and older (aged 65-75 years) active drivers drove through a continuous simulated scenario (STISIM, v2.0). The scenario included driving on open roads (less demanding), stopping at intersections and passing maneuvers (more demanding). Eye movements were recorded with an oculometer (ASL, model 510). Compared to younger drivers, older drivers showed a smaller horizontal amplitude between fixations and a smaller variance in the amplitude of the eye movements. They also showed a smaller number of fixations/sec for the more complex driving maneuvers that were analyzed (passing maneuvers). Overall, this may reveal a ''tunnel effect'' (or perceptual narrowing) phenomenon when the driving context increases in complexity.
Keywords: driving; simulator; gaze; aging