Effects of road surface appearance and low friction warning systems on driver behaviour and confidence in the warning system

Publisher's full text

Warning systems for slippery road conditions are a potential newcomer among driver support systems. A total of 75 participants drove in a high-fidelity driving simulator on roads with both visible and invisible ice, to investigate to which extent drivers rely on a low friction warning system. Three experimental groups with different versions of a low friction warning system and a control group without warning system were compared. All drivers ranked the systems according to trust.

A system displaying recommended speed received the best ratings. Driving speed was analysed for three particular segments of the route. Generally, lowest speeds were achieved with the recommended speed system. The participants drove more slowly on a slippery segment that looked icy than on the segments that looked dry when they did not receive a low friction warning. When they received a warning for low friction they also lowered their speed for the segment looking like asphalt. The results provide guidelines for how to present low friction warnings to drivers. The design has substantial effects on the resulting behaviour and therefore it can have a high impact on traffic safety. So far, not much research on low friction warning systems has been reported.

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