Are child-pedestrians able to identify hazardous traffic situations?

One more publication within the child pedestrian’s realm of road crossing co-authored by Anat Meir and Yisrael Parmet published in  Safety Science, Vol. 80, pages 33-40 (2015)

Are Child pedestrians able to identify hazardous traffic situations?

Highlights

we explored child-pedestrians’ HP skills employing hazard detection task in virtual settings (our Dome lab). We used the same approach that we have used previously in the driving HP domain to study novice drivers. As pedestrians’ age increased their awareness toward potential hazards increased.  7–9-year-olds reported less instances of FOV obscured by parked vehicles. 7–9-year-olds lingered more in identifying instances of FOV obscured by parked vehicles.

Abstract

Background. Child-pedestrians are more prone to fail in identifying hazardous situations. Aiming to better understand the development of hazard-perception abilities in dynamic road situations we examined participants’ hazard detection abilities in a virtual environment.

Method.  Experienced-adult participants and child-pedestrians observed typical road crossing related scenarios from a pedestrian’s point of view and engaged in a hazard detection task.

Results. Consistent with our hypotheses, less instances of obscured field of view by parked vehicles were reported as hazardous by 7–9-year-olds, who were also prone to linger more in identifying situations depicting field of view partially obscured by parked vehicles compared to all other age groups. Reports of obscured field of view by road curvature as hazardous increased with age.

Conclusions. Understanding child-pedestrians’ shortcomings in evaluating traffic situations contribute to the effort of producing intervention techniques which may increase their attentiveness toward potential hazards and lead toward reduction in their over-involvement in crashes.

Pedestrians' crossing scenarios

Traffic scenes for pedestrian crossing (only the left part of the scene is shown). Top: no moving elements, Mid: road curvature obscuring FOV, Bottom: Parked vehicles obscuring FOV.

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