A. Stinchcombe, S. Yamin, A-A. Cyr, S. Gagnon
Traumatic brain injured (TBI) drivers exhibit a greater risk for traffic violations and motor vehicle crashes resulting from lasting behavioural and cognitive impairments. The purpose of this investigation is to examine the behavioural reactions of highly functional TBI drivers in response to simulated driving obstacles in comparison to matched controls. The present study sought to explore the deficits at the tactical and operational levels of Michon’s hierarchy of driver behaviour which may contribute to the increased crash rate among highly functional TBIs as previously observed. Seventeen TBI and 16 control participants completed a simulated drive in which four separate surprising road obstacles were presented. Longitudinal acceleration, longitudinal velocity, lateral velocity and lane position were compared between groups. Results indicated that TBIs were slower to respond, swerved less, and were more cautious immediately after the obstacle had passed. TBI drivers also drove slower overall. Findings support deficits at the tactical and operational levels of Michon’s hierarchy of driver behaviour. Differences at the strategic level are also discussed.
Keywords: driving behaviour; traumatic brain injury; simulation