Conference Proceeding

The Danger of Incorrect Expectations In Driving: The Failure to Respond

  • Martin H Martens (TNO Human Factors, Soesterberg, the Netherlands)


This paper addresses Inattentional Blindness or look-but-fail-to-see in driving. How it is possible that visual information, highly relevant for driving is not perceived or responded to. Our main focus was on driver expectations. Different experimental studies were performed. In the conducted studies, we had drivers perform a driving task in which they had to drive a specific road numerous times. This way they were able to control driver expectations with a specific road environment. After some drives we made some crucial changes to the road environment (e.g., change in priority, change in No-Entry road). Behavioural responses (speed, deceleration) were measured to these changes, as well as eye movenents (glance duration) and awareness of the changes. All partcipants were experienced drivers, and over all studies, 250 drivers participated. There was a relation between driver expectations and the failure to respond. Glance duration to traffic signs was found to decrease with a driver becoming more and more familiar with a specific road. Visually selecting the information seems to be an important condition for enabling a response, but it is certainly not enough. There are various cases where expectations were so strong that drivers looked at the information but did not respond. There seems to be a high correlation between glance duration and responding, as well as between the type of change and responding. In-vehicle equipment warning the driver for these types of situations is highly effective. An elaborated task performance model is presented.

How to Cite:

Martens, M., (2007) “The Danger of Incorrect Expectations In Driving: The Failure to Respond”, Driving Assessment Conference 4(2007), 314-320. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2007 the author(s)

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Published on
11 Jul 2007
Peer Reviewed