This system prevents reckless drivers overtaking when it is not safe and can also aid cautious drivers in overtaking slower vehicles. This is the proposition of researcher ir. Geertje Hegeman, who will receive her PhD on this subject from TU Delft on Thursday 28 February.
Each year in the Netherlands at least 25 deaths are caused by overtaking manoeuvres that go wrong. In many other countries, the statistics are much higher. Researcher Geertje Hegeman has designed a warning system (the overtaking assistant) which displays a green light when it is safe to overtake another vehicle. If it is not safe, a red light is displayed. She has tested this in a driving simulator on a two-lane road. Her conclusion is that the overtaking assistant increases the driver’s sense of ease and can have a positive effect on safety and efficiency.Men and women
One interesting aspect of the study conducted by Hegeman in the driving simulator is the differences in behaviour between men and women. Of the participating 12 men and 12 women, the women overtook more when driving using the assistant, while men in fact overtook less. This reduced the differences in driving behaviour between men and women. Furthermore, when using the assistant, men were less inclined to swerve to one side (they often do this to see whether there is any oncoming traffic), which is also beneficial to traffic safety.Inter-vehicle communication
In addition to GPS, inter-vehicle communication between all vehicles is in Hegeman’s view needed in order to give correct overtaking advice. This is already the subject of a great deal of study (e.g. with a view to anti-collision systems), but according to Hegeman it could be another ten years before the first overtaking assistants are commercially available.
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