Conference Proceeding

The Influence of Fog on Motion Discrimination Thresholds in Car Following

  • Stéphane Caro (IRNETS, Arcueil, France)
  • Viola Cavallo (IRNETS, Arcueil, France)
  • Christian Marendaz (University of Grenoble Grenoble, France)
  • Erwin Boer (LUEBEC, San Diego, California)
  • Fabrice Vienne (IRNETS, Arcueil, France)


A possible explanation for close following in fog is that it would allow drivers to control headway more precisely by reducing motion perception thresholds. The purpose of our experiments was to determine the motion discrimination thresholds for closing and receding under normal and foggy conditions. An experiment and a pilot study were conducted on a driving simulator in which subjects were presented with a car following situation. Subjects had to press a button as soon as they detected that the lead vehicle was closing or receding, and their choice response time was recorded. Several visibility conditions were tested corresponding to different contrasts between the lead vehicle outline and the background, ranging from clear weather conditions to foggy conditions in which the vehicle could only be seen by its rear lights. Initial headway and lead vehicle acceleration were also varied. As expected, response times were longest with small accelerations and long headways. There was also an effect of visibility conditions with longer response times when the contrast between the vehicle outline and the background was 5% or less. Moreover, the reduction of response time corresponding to a reduction of headway was greater in fog than in clear conditions, at least in the given range of distances. This suggests that driving closer in fog may have a perceptual-control benefit in terms of a reduction in response times that partially offsets the reduction in timeheadway. Driving closer may also benefit lateral trajectory control because the lead vehicle is less likely to be lost in fog.

How to Cite:

Caro, S. & Cavallo, V. & Marendaz, C. & Boer, E. & Vienne, F., (2007) “The Influence of Fog on Motion Discrimination Thresholds in Car Following”, Driving Assessment Conference 4(2007), 446-451. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2007 the author(s)

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Published on
11 Jul 2007
Peer Reviewed