A comparison of tactile, visual, and auditory warnings for rear-end collision prevention in simulated driving

J. J. Scott, Robert Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

264 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examined the effectiveness of rear-end collision warnings presented in different sensory modalities as a function of warning timing in a driving simulator. Background: The proliferation of in-vehicle information and entertainment systems threatens driver attention and may increase the risk of rear-end collisions. Collision warning systems have been shown to improve inattentive and/or distracted driver response time (RT) in rear-end collision situations. However, most previous rear-end collision warning research has not directly compared auditory, visual, and tactile warnings. Method: Sixteen participants in a fixed-base driving simulator experienced four warning conditions: no warning, visual, auditory, and tactile. The warnings activated when the time-to-collision (TTC) reached a critical threshold of 3.0 or 5.0 s. Driver RT was captured from a warning below critical threshold to brake initiation. Results: Drivers with a tactile warning had the shortest mean RT. Drivers with a tactile warning had significantly shorter RT than drivers without a warning and had a significant advantage over drivers with visual warnings. Conclusion: Tactile warnings show promise as effective rear-end collision warnings. Application: The results of this study can be applied to the future design and evaluation of automotive warnings designed to reduce rear-end collisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-275
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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