Chromatic Perception Effects on Collisions with Snow Plows

Principal Investigator:

Albert Yonas, Professor, Child Development

Project Summary:

Low-luminance contrast conditions, such as those created by blowing snow or fog, constitute some of the most hazardous conditions that drivers commonly experience. Recent experiments indicate that under fog-like conditions, people perceive themselves to be travelling significantly slower than they actually are. To compensate, they speed up. This low-luminance perceived slowing is comparable to the perceived slowing that occurs at equiluminance (no-luminance contrast), where motion information is carried by chromatic contrasts alone. In this project, the researchers will perform a series of experiments to test whether these two phenomena are governed by the same neural mechanism. They also propose to make controlled color-contrast measurements under real fog and blowing snow conditions. The combination of physical measurements and perceptual experiments will allow them to determine the impact of low-luminance contrast conditions and color on an individual's perception of motion and space under real driving conditions. If such a relationship is demonstrated, this could lead to improvements in driving safety through the careful choice of color warning markings, chromatically controlled lighting, special fog tints, and better public education.


Project Details:

  • Start date: 07/2002
  • Project Status: Completed
  • Research Area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Safety