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Driver Behavior on Horizontal Curves Pilot Study

Project Information

Project ID: 
Project Status: 
Start Date: 
Thursday, December 1, 2011
End Date: 
Saturday, June 30, 2012
FHWA Program: 
FHWA Subprogram: 
Safety Design and Operations
FHWA Activity: 
Local and Rural Roads
FHWA Topics: 
Safety--Local and Rural Road Safety
TRT Terms: 
Highway Curves; Rural Roads; Safety; Research; Driver Errors; Simulation
FHWA Discipline: 
TRB Subject Area: 
Safety and Human Factors

Contact Information

First Name: 
Last Name: 
(202) 493-3468
Email Address: 
Human Factors Team
Office of Safety Research and Development
Office Code: 

Project Details

Project Description: 

The minisimulator will be used to perform an experimental evaluation determining the effect familiarity with roadway, inattention, being in a hurry, and other possible variables have on driver performance on rural two-lane roadways with horizontal curves.


The key project objective is to gain a better understanding of critical precrash events occurring before run-off-road (ROR) crashes on rural two-lane roadways with horizontal curves.


Deliverable Name: 
Evaluating Driver Performance on Rural Two-Lane Horizontal Curved Roadways Using a Driving Simulator
Deliverable Description: 
Since 2005, approximately 4,500 fatalities each year have resulted from single-vehicle run-off-road (ROR) crashes along two-lane rural roads in the United States. Crash investigations suggest that many of these crashes involve drivers who are familiar with the roadway but are inattentive and in a hurry. It has been suggested that methods to mitigate ROR crashes involving these factors might be studied in driving simulators, where environmental conditions can be controlled and drivers are not at risk of injury or fatality. The present study addresses how being inattentive or in a hurry affects the performance of drivers who are familiar with a roadway. The efficacy of eliciting these conditions in a driving simulation environment and whether these elicitations affect driving behavior in measurable ways is investigated. The potential for using these driving simulator elicitation methods to evaluate engineering countermeasures to ROR crashes on two-lane rural roadway horizontal curves is also discussed. The results should be useful to researchers studying factors associated with increased risk for ROR crashes and engineering countermeasures to prevent such crashes.