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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-137
Date: December 2005

Enhanced Night Visibility Series, Volume VI: Phase II—Study 4: Visual Performance During Nighttime Driving in Fog

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APPENDIX F—FRONT SEAT EXPERIMENTER’S PROTOCOL

Front Seat Experimenter’s Protocol - Fog

Data Collection


Orient participant to the vehicle.

Take participant to the SUV 1 & 2 parked outside the front door.

Check which vehicle they will do their first VES in and have them drive that vehicle if it is available.

Show them how to adjust their seat, interior display lights, the windshield wipers and the steering wheel.

Explain to them how to turn on and off the parking lights.

Make sure they are wearing their seatbelt.

Say,

You will notice that your side and rearview mirrors have been covered. This is to reduce the glare that you might get from other vehicles.

Turn on the baseline (HLB) VES for the drive to the road and practice run. Do NOT turn on the UV lights.

Turn on the power button to the power supply/converter unit. This is the lower of the two units located behind the driver’s seat in each vehicle. The On/Off switch is a small switch button. There are several red and green lights located near the On/Off switch, and these lights will cycle on when the unit is switched on. The red lights will go dark if there are no problems on power-up.

Turn the toggle switch on the upper unit ON.

To turn on power to each individual headlamp:

Locate the blue and cream colored On/Off button box (with voltage output display) that controls the individual lights. This box is attached to the power supply/converter in the SUV 1 & 2. Simply depress the appropriate red button corresponding to the desired light. The button will remain in the depressed position and will light up red until depressed a second time to release the button and turn the light off.

Make sure that you are both wearing your seatbelt.
Instruct the driver to drive to the Smart Road.

Radio the control room, ask for the gate to be opened and tell them the number of cars entering the road.

The first vehicle will drive down to T3.

Radio the relay station to let them know that you are driving down.

The second vehicle will park at the entrance of T2 and wait for the relay station to say that they can come down.

Orient participant to Smart Road.

First we will drive down the road to get you used to the road and the vehicle. Go ahead and drive down the road at a comfortable speed (<30mph). It is very important for your safety, and the safety of the experimenters on the road, that you slow down to 10 mph or slower when we reach the section of road with fog on it.

Allow the participant to drive down the road.

The second vehicle can begin once they are notified that the first vehicle is at T3.

Remind them of the speed limit if necessary.

Start slowing down as soon as you can see the fog, so you can do a smooth entrance at 10 mph or less.

First vehicle at T3:

Pull all the way to the farthest parking space.

Put the vehicle in park and have the participant take their foot off the brake.

Have the participant turn off the parking lights.

Radio the relay station that the second vehicle can drive down.

Second vehicle at T3:

Pull into the nearest parking space.

Put the vehicle in park and have the participant take their foot off the brake.

Review instructions with participant (This may be done while waiting at T2 or T3 during the practice drive).

Show them the button.

I will need you to hold this in your hand during the study. When you press this you will hear a beep. Once the study begins I need you to press the button as soon as you detect an object.

Detection is when you can just tell that something is on the road in front of you. You cannot tell what the object is but you know something is there.

When you can accurately recognize an object, I would like you to press the push button again and identify the object verbally at the same time.

Recognition is when you not only know something is there but you also know what it is.

You will need to be specific when you recognize. If you see an object, you will need to tell me what the object is.

For example,

“I see a Person” or “I see a cyclist”

If you perform an Unsuccessful Recognition, you can press the push button again and then verbally identify the object.

Hand them the button.

Once both vehicles are at T3 radio the onroad experimenters that you are ready to begin.

Let drivers do a practice run up the Smart Road.

We will now practice while you drive up the hill to help you get used to driving the vehicle on the Smart Road and using the push button. I would like you to drive up the road at 10 miles per hour or less (we don’t want the speed dial to go over the 10 mph at any point).

On the way up we will practice how to detect and recognize objects. You will see 2 objects. Please remember to say:

“I see a person” or “I see a cyclist.”

If you perform an Unsuccessful Recognition, you can press the push button again and then verbally identify the object.

Set up the computer at the second turnaround if you haven’t already.

Enter in participant number, age, gender, and condition.

It is VERY important that you do not talk to the drivers when you are collecting data. EMERGENCIES EXCLUDED!!!!

Monitor the computer while going up the hill:

Make sure that the value in the “Current Distance” field is increasing. This ensures the program is working.

Perform the following tasks:

Press the computer space bar again when your body is in line with the object. After space bar is pressed, the arrow will scroll down to the next object.

During the practice run, you may need to assist the participant. For example, if they do not indicate the Detection or Recognition points and the object is close to 40 feet, you need to say,

We are very close to the first object please press the push button as soon as you can detect it and then once again when you can recognize it.

Monitor the safety of the pedestrians on the road.

Use the computer program to determine when you are approaching a pedestrian.

Say “Station X, Clear” as soon as the participant recognizes the pedestrian.

If driver does not see pedestrian, use the computer read out to determine when the vehicle is within 40 feet of pedestrian. Tell the pedestrian to clear at that time.

Make sure the participant is not driving over 10 mph. They should be driving under 10 mph. This can be verified using the computer read out.

The screen is going to start flashing when the vehicle is 40 feet away from the station. If there is a pedestrian on the station say “Station X, Clear” as soon as the screen starts flashing.

If you forget to press the “Spacebar” the program will go to the next station 50 feet after it passes the station. Please make a note on the error sheet, so the person working with the data can subtract the 50 feet from the station location recorded in the program.

First vehicle at T2:

Pull in to the turnaround and keep to the right hand side of the road. Park at the cone so that you are on the road side of the turnaround, facing up the hill, and parallel to the road.

As soon as the first car reaches the turnaround, they need to let the second vehicle know that they can proceed up.

Second vehicle at T2:

Pull up to the cone on the left hand side of the turnaround.

Wait until the first car is out of sight before you go down the road.

Ask participant questions about the VES.

You may begin to ask the questions when the driver is past the fog, if you are comfortable doing so. If not, wait until they are parked.

Remind subjects of the scale, where 1 is strongly agree, and 7 is strongly disagree.

After station 5 the screen will change to a new screen where the questions for each VES will appear. In order for the first question to appear you can press “s.” If you need to quit at this point to redo some of the tasks press “Shift+Q.”

Document any unexpected events that occurred during the previous run on the “In-Vehicle Notes Sheet”.

Show participant to their next vehicle as per the order sheet.
Ask the participant to leave the vehicle running and make sure it is in park.
Turn off the HID or HLB lights.
Assist driver in getting out of the vehicle if necessary.
Use the stepstools if necessary.
Lead/guide participant from one vehicle to the next-if there are vehicles with lights on, take the participant around the back of the vehicle.
Open the door for the participant and move the seat back before they get in.

Orient participant to next vehicle and turn on the lights.

If they have been in the vehicle before, ask them if they remember the controls. Be sure to offer to answer questions.

See each vehicle’s orientation instructions below.

Be sure to turn on the lights yourself and show them where to turn off the parking lights.

UV lights need to be turned on as soon as you get in the vehicle to give them time to warm up, prior to data collection.

Explain to the participant where the dimmer switch is.

Remind the participant to keep their seatbelt on at all times.

Ask them if they have any questions.

SUVs

Button on left side of seat moves seat up and down, back and forth (show button).

Lever on steering column moves the wheel up and down.

Hand the participant the keys and have them start the car (if not on).

Turn on the parking lights (one click only).

Show the participant how to adjust the interior lights. If necessary, help them to adjust it by asking them to tell you when it is comfortable.

Sedan

You need to have them start the vehicle before orienting them because the seat and wheel move when you start it. Be sure to warn the participants of that before you start the car.

Button on left side of seat moves seat up and down, back and forth (show button).

Button for the steering wheel moves the wheel up and down, in and out.

There are many lights. The only ones they need to worry about are the speedometers- analog and digital (point each out). The subject is free to use whichever they feel most comfortable with.

Turn on the headlights all the way (two clicks). Make sure they are on before you leave the vehicle.

Show the participant how to adjust the interior lights. If necessary, help them to adjust it by asking them to tell you when it is comfortable.

Show the participant how to turn on and adjust the windshield wipers.

Prepare for the first VES.

Make sure you are in the correct vehicle, using your VES order.

Once back to the data collection screen you can edit the Experimental Setup and the Target Order for the next condition.

Let the valet check the headlamps and radio that everything is ok.

Radio the onroad experimenters when you are ready to go down.

Continue down the road.

Start data collection for first VES when you are parallel with the guardrail.

Monitor the safety of the pedestrians on the road.

Use the computer program to determine when you are approaching a pedestrian.

Say “Station X, Clear” as soon as the participant recognizes the pedestrian.

If driver does not see pedestrian, use the computer read out to determine when the vehicle is within 40 feet of pedestrian. Tell the pedestrian to clear at that time.

Make sure the participant is not driving over 10 mph. This can be verified using the computer program.

Continue the same procedure for the rest of the VES.

Using the IR push button in the Sedan.

Make sure IR is cleared to “0” (press push button until it reads “0”).

Each time the participant recognizes an object with the IR, press the button once.

Make sure to clear back to “0” before pressing the spacebar.

Make a note on the notes sheet for each IR.

Bring Participant Back to the Building.

Participant should drive the vehicle they did their last VES in, back to the building.

Leave the vehicle running and turn off the laptop so the back seat experimenter can return all computers to the lab.

Document Time on Participant’s Debriefing Sheet.

Ask driver to fill out the payment receipt log.

Pay the driver, and thank them for their participation.

 

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