POLICE DRIVERS' REACTIONS TO DANGEROUS DRIVING SITUATIONS
 
Chapman, P., Crundall , D. and Phelps, N., University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
 
Police drivers regularly experience extremely hazardous driving situations. In some cases they are required to drive rapidly while responding to a call, in other cases they need to pursue another vehicle at speed. The demands of such situations are likely to affect drivers' visual search patterns. This research explores whether experienced police drivers have developed particular strategies that allow them to meet these demands successfully. In this study trained police drivers, matched experienced drivers, and a group of novice drivers all viewed a selection of films of driving situations, some of which came from actual police response drives, some from police pursuit situations, and some of which were control drives on the same roads. Physiological responses, subjective ratings, and eye movements were recorded from all driver types. The results extend previous findings on reactions to driving hazards and on changes in visual search patterns as a function of traffic experience. Implications for the effectiveness of advanced driver training courses are explored.