Chromatic Perception Effects on Collisions with Snow Plows

Principal Investigator(s):

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.

Sponsor(s):

Project details:

  • Project number: 2003037
  • Start date: 07/2002
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Safety