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Age differences in visual abilities in nighttime driving field conditions
Published August 26, 1996 by Human Factors and Ergonomics Society in United States
This study was conducted to provide field data on age differences in sign legibility and object detection. Two age groups of healthy drivers with normal vision were tested for nighttime visual ability. The older group had an average age of 65.6 years and the younger group averaged 22.5 years. The field study was conducted on a private road with the subjects seated in the front passenger seat. Subjects performed a Landolt ring legibility task for four types of signs: positive and negative contrast, and new and worn material. Subjects also performed object detection tasks using a small object and a pedestrian target appearing in average and low reflectance. In addition, sign legibility and object detection were completed for some trails using a simulated inclement weather visor to create a worst-case scenario. The object detection task was also completed in the presence of glare from oncoming headlamps. Results showed that older driver's legibility distances were 65% those of the younger drivers. Age differences in the object detection task ranged from a 20% to a 45% reduction for older drivers across visibility conditions