Fleetcoach utilises the latest technology to produce high quality video simulations that users can view for their training. Doing training via video makes it cheaper, quicker, and of course much safer than on the road. But does it work? Researchers have new evidence from a world-leading study to add to the mounting pile that it does.
The AA Research Foundation commissioned the Waikato Traffic and Road Safety (TARS) Research Group (led by Fleetcoach founder Dr Robert Isler) and engineering firm BECA to investigate people’s perception of risk while driving, and matched this to the actual riskiness of the particular situation.
Estimates of the objective levels of risk for the roads were calculated using road protection scores from the KiwiRAP database (part of the International Road Assessment Programme). Hazard perception and risk management are extremely important skills to have while on the road, and so it is these that we want to make sure we are teaching when we design driver training programmes.
The researchers asked drivers to look at the same stretches of road on a photograph, from behind the wheel, and in a video simulation. What they found, was that people’s judgements of the risk were identical across all three methods. This means that when drivers see risks on the roads, this translates to seeing them on a video, and vice versa.
Add to this the study by Chapman, Underwood & Roberts (2002), which clearly showed that effective visual search patterns can be transferred from being trained in a video simulation to being used while on the road in a real-life situation.
The final point in favour of video simulation training is the fact that when drivers don’t have to think about the manual car handling skills such as steering and manoeuvring the car, they are left able to concentrate fully on the important task at hand – which is training their eye movements to search out risks and respond to them. They are also less likely to gain an overinflated sense of confidence in their driving, which is dangerous, and very common when people are practicing only the manual driving skills.
That’s a pretty solid set of evidence for online video simulations. They’re safer, cheaper, quicker, and don’t over increase confidence. And as far as training for real life road situations, online video simulations really do work!
If you are interested in reading the study, the reference is:
Charlton, S., Starkey, N., Perrone, J., Isler, R. (2014). What’s the risk? A comparison of actual and perceived driving risk. Transportation Research Part F: Psychology and behaviour, (25) 50-54.
And a summary of the results can be found in the AA Directions magazine online at: http://www.aa.co.nz/assets/Directions/Autumn-2014/AA-Directions-autumn-2014.pdf