Conference Proceeding

Effects of Environmental Factors on Naturalistic Driving in Obstructive Sleep Apnea

  • Lixi Yu (University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA)
  • John D Dawson (University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA)
  • Nazan S Aksan (University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA)
  • Jon Tippin (University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA)
  • Matthew Rizzo (University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA)


Reduced visibility and other environmental factors can impair driver ability to respond to roadway hazards. We examined the effects of reduced visibility on naturalistic driving in 66 drivers, including 45 at-risk drivers with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and 21 controls. We analyzed three months of electronic data using “black box” recorder technology and assessed the extent to which driver speed, longitudinal acceleration, and lateral acceleration metrics depend on ambient visibility from web-based environmental data archives. We calculated summary driving metrics within 10-second intervals, and reduced these to within-subject means and tested for associations of interest. OSA drivers did not differ from controls with respect to electronic measures or visibility conditions in which they drove. On average, drivers drove slower when visibility was reduced. After controlling for speed, variations in lateral and longitudinal acceleration were positively associated with high-visibility conditions. These findings suggest that drivers exert greater vehicular control when visibility is limited, and that this association is not just due to slower speeds. Weaker relationships between visibility and driving measures in OSA suggest reduced adaptive strategies. Our methods provide a framework for analyzing the effects of other environmental factors on driving, and we provide an additional example using wind speed.

How to Cite:

Yu, L. & Dawson, J. & Aksan, N. & Tippin, J. & Rizzo, M., (2013) “Effects of Environmental Factors on Naturalistic Driving in Obstructive Sleep Apnea”, Driving Assessment Conference 7(2013), 149-155. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2013 the author(s)

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Published on
18 Jun 2013
Peer Reviewed