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Effect of Increasing Road Light Luminance on Night Driving Performance of Older Adults

Authors: Said M. Easa, Maureen J. Reed, Frank Russo, Essam Dabbour, Atif Mehmood, Kathryn Curtis


The main objective of this study was to determine if a minimal increase in road light level (luminance) could lead to improved driving performance among older adults. Older, middleaged and younger adults were tested in a driving simulator following vision and cognitive screening. Comparisons were made for the performance of simulated night driving under two road light conditions (0.6 and 2.5 cd/m2). At each light level, the effects of self reported night driving avoidance were examined along with the vision/cognitive performance. It was found that increasing road light level from 0.6 cd/m2 to 2.5 cd/m2 resulted in improved recognition of signage on straight highway segments. The improvement depends on different driver-related factors such as vision and cognitive abilities, and confidence. On curved road sections, the results showed that driver-s performance worsened. It is concluded that while increasing road lighting may be helpful to older adults especially for sign recognition, it may also result in increased driving confidence and thus reduced attention in some driving situations.

Keywords: Driving, older adults, night-time, road lighting, attention, simulation, curves, signs.

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