A. Cyr, S. Yamin, A. Bélanger, M. Hing, S. Marshall, S. Gagnon
This study examines the effects of road events and age on cognitive load in a simulated environment. Fifteen young and 15 older adults were exposed to 4 scenarios in a STISIM driving simulator including roadway events that were: 1) normal (free driving), 2) complex (turns) and 3) unexpected (car incursion). Cognitive load generated by the events was assessed through detection accuracy and reaction time on a dual task and ratings on the NASA-TLX. Results showed that older adults displayed longer reaction times to the dual task and reported higher NASA-TLX ratings then young adults while facing complex and unexpected road events. This study demonstrates the validity of the cognitive load approach for understanding older drivers’ reaction to roadway events.
Keywords: older driver; driver behaviour; driving simulation; dual task performance