PURPOSES : In this study, a virtual driving simulator was used to analyze the effects of implementing appropriate highway driving criteria on the attentiveness of motorists on Korean highways.
METHODS : The study includes three scenarios. Scenario 1 was purposed to investigate the relationships between driver focus, the brain waves associated with drowsiness, and the speed of motorists driving along the straight 5-km section of Saemangeum South-North Road, which is the same as a car-only road. Scenarios 2 and 3 were designed to have shorter straight sections to enable comparison of the occurrence of drowsiness-related brain waves and velocity changes at 3 km and 2 km, respectively.
RESULTS : Driver focus was found to decrease and result in speeding after driving 2.5 km of the straight section. Past this point, driver focus continued to decrease, and drivers continued to accelerate. However, upon reaching a curved section, driver focus increased according to the linear change; furthermore, drivers showed a tendency to reduce their speed to a value near the speed limit.
CONCLUSIONS : According to the analysis of highway traffic accidents that occurred between 2013 and 2015, approximately 50% of total traffic accidents are due to speeding, drowsiness, and negligence. Therefore, if appropriately long straight sections, i.e., sections that are not associated with a reduced ability to focus, are calculated and implemented in road planning and operation, it is possible to prevent accidents caused by lack of driver focus.