Driving With Hemianopia X: Effects of Cross Traffic on Gaze Behaviors and Pedestrian Responses at Intersections

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Purpose: We conducted a driving simulator study to investigate the effects of monitoring intersection cross traffic on gaze behaviors and responses to pedestrians by drivers with hemianopic field loss (HFL). Methods: Sixteen HFL and sixteen normal vision (NV) participants completed two drives in an urban environment. At 30 intersections, a pedestrian ran across the road when the participant entered the intersection, requiring a braking response to avoid a collision. Intersections with these pedestrian events had either (1) no cross traffic, (2) one approaching car from the side opposite the pedestrian location, or (3) two approaching cars, one from each side at the same time. Results: Overall, HFL drivers made more (p < 0.001) and larger (p = 0.016) blind- than seeing-side scans and looked at the majority (>80%) of cross-traffic on both the blind and seeing sides. They made more numerous and larger gaze scans (p < 0.001) when they fixated cars on both sides (compared to one or no cars) and had lower rates of unsafe responses to blind- but not seeing-side pedestrians (interaction, p = 0.037). They were more likely to demonstrate compensatory blind-side fixation behaviors (faster time to fixate and longer fixation durations) when there was no car on the seeing side. Fixation behaviors and unsafe response rates were most similar to those of NV drivers when cars were fixated on both sides. Conclusion: For HFL participants, making more scans, larger scans and safer responses to pedestrians crossing from the blind side were associated with looking at cross traffic from both directions. Thus, cross traffic might serve as a reminder to scan and provide a reference point to guide blind-side scanning of drivers with HFL. Proactively checking for cross-traffic cars from both sides could be an important safety practice for drivers with HFL.

Last updated on 07/31/2022