Perfect Timing: Urgency, Not Driving Situations, Influence the Best Timing to Activate Warnings
Journal article, 2014

Objective: The aim of the study was to investigate the influence of different driving scenarios (urban, rural, highway) on the timing required by drivers from a two-stage warning system, based on car-to-car communication. Background: Car-to-car communication systems are designed to inform drivers of potential hazards at an early stage, before they are visible to them. Here, questions arise as to how drivers acknowledge early warnings and when they should be informed (first stage) and warned (second stage). Hence, optimum timing for presenting the information was tested. Method: A psychophysical method was used to establish the optimum timing in three driving scenarios at different speed limits (urban: 50 km/h, rural: 100 km/h, highway: 130 km/h). A total of 24 participants (11 female, 13 male; M = 29.1 years, SD = 11.6 years) participated in the study. Results: The results showed that the optimum timing did not differ among the three scenarios. The first and second stages should ultimately be presented at different timings at each speed limit (first stage: 26.5 s, second stage: 12.1 s before a potential hazard). Conclusion: The results showed that well-selected timing for activating information and warning is crucial for the acceptance of these systems. Appropriate timing for presenting the information and warning can be derived for these systems. Application: The findings will be integrated in further development of assistance systems based on car-to-x technology within the Car2X-Safety project of the Niedersächsisches Forschungszentrum Fahrzeugtechnik in Germany. This study was also supported by Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.

method of adjustment

driving scenario

car-to-car communication

collision warning timing

traffic jam

driver assistance


Julia Werneke

Chalmers, Applied Mechanics, Vehicle Safety

Andro Kleen


Mark Vollrath

Technische Universität Braunschweig

Human Factors

0018-7208 (ISSN) 1547-8181 (eISSN)

Vol. 56 2 249-259

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Applied Psychology

Vehicle Engineering



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