Impact of perceptual countermeasures on driving behavior at curves using driving simulator

Objective: The probability of crash occurrence on horizontal curves is 1.5 to 4 times higher than that on tangent sections. A majority of these crashes are associated with human errors. Therefore, human behavior in curves needs to be corrected.

Methodology: In this study, 2 different road marking treatments, optical circles and herringbone patterns, were used to influence driver behavior while entering a curve on a 2-lane rural road section. A driving simulator was used to perform the experiment. The simulated road sections are replicas of 2 real road sections in Flanders.

Results: Both treatments were found to reduce speed before entering the curve. However, speed reduction was more gradual when optical circles were used. A herringbone pattern had more influence on lateral position than optical circles by forcing drivers to maintain a safe distance from opposing traffic in the adjacent lane.

Conclusion: The study concluded that among other low-cost speed reduction methods, optical circles are effective tools to reduce speed and increase drivers’ attention. Moreover, a herringbone pattern can be used to reduce crashes on curves, mainly for head-on crashes where the main problem is inappropriate lateral position.