Conference Proceeding

Examining Young Novice Driver Headway Choice in a Simulated Car Following Task

  • Eve Mitsopoulos-Rubens (Monash University Accident Research Centre, Australia)
  • Thomas Triggs (Monash University Accident Research Centre, Australia)
  • Michael Regan (Monash University Accident Research Centre, Australia)


Despite the high incidence of rear-end crashes relative to other crash types among young novice drivers, research examining the car following practices of young novice drivers compared with experienced drivers has been limited. Further, little is understood about the impact of initial following distance—that is, following distance at the commencement of a car following episode—on the final headway adopted. The objective of the current study was to compare systematically the headway choice of a group of 30 young novice drivers with a group of 30 experienced drivers using a car following task that was developed for use in a driving simulator. An important feature of this study was the manipulation of initial following distance. This enabled exploration of how initial headway influences the final headway adopted by each of the novice and experienced groups. The results showed that the young novice drivers in the current study chose to travel at shorter final headways overall than their more experienced counterparts. Furthermore, while initial following distance impacted on the final following distance adopted overall, the novices did not adjust to incremental variations in initial following distance in the same manner as the experienced drivers. The implications of these findings for understanding the mechanisms underlying the headway choices of novice as opposed to experienced drivers are briefly discussed.

How to Cite:

Mitsopoulos-Rubens, E. & Triggs, T. & Regan, M., (2007) “Examining Young Novice Driver Headway Choice in a Simulated Car Following Task”, Driving Assessment Conference 4(2007), 558-564. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2007 the author(s)

Publisher Notes

  • Honda Outstanding Student Paper Award

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Published on
12 Jul 2007
Peer Reviewed