The alerting effect of hitting a rumble strip: a simulator study with sleepy drivers.

Göran Kecklund
Magnus Hjälmdahl
Torbjörn Åkerstedt

A moving base driving simulator experiment was carried out in order to investigate the effects of milled rumble strips on driver fatigue. There were rumble strips both at the edge line and centre line. Four different physical designs of milled rumble strips (yielding noise values from 1.5 to 16 dBA) and two placements on shoulder were used in the experiment. Sound and vibrations from real milled rumble strips were reproduced in the simulator. In total 35 regular shift workers drove during the morning hours after a full night shift. The main results showed an increase in sleepiness indicators (EEG alpha/theta activity, eye closure duration, standard deviation of lateral position, subjective sleepiness) from start to before hitting the rumble strip, an alerting effect in most parameters (not subjective sleepiness) after hitting the strip. The alertness enhancing effect was, however, short and the sleepiness signs returned 5 min after the rumble strip hit. Essentially no effects were seen due to type of strip. It was concluded that various aspects of sleepiness are increased before hitting a rumble strip and that the effect is very short-lived. Type of strip, as used in the present study did not have any effect.

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