Measurement of auditory cues in drivers' distraction.
A driving simulator was used to examine the effects on driving performance of auditory cues in an in-vehicle information search task. Drivers' distraction by the search tasks was measured on a peripheral detection task. The difficulty of the search task was systematically varied to test the distraction caused by a quantified visual load. 58 participants completed the task. Performance on both search tasks and peripheral detection tasks was measured by mean response time and percent error. Analyses indicated that in-vehicle information search performance can be severely degraded when a target is located within a group of diverse distractors. Inclusion of an auditory cue in the visual search increased the mean response time as a result of a change in modality from auditory to visual. Inclusion of such an auditory cue seemed to influence distraction as measured by performance on the peripheral detection task; accuracy was lower when auditory cues were provided, and responses were slower when no auditory cues were provided. Distraction by the auditory cue varied according to the difficulty of the search task.
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