The Role of Perceptual and Cognitive Filters in Observed Behavior

  • Kåre Rumar


Initially the development of man’s position in road transport is described and analyzed. It is shown that the large changes have to do with the lack of feedback, new situations from physiological point of view and especially the higher speeds.

The part played by human and technical errors in road accidents is discussed. It is found that most investigations attribute a dominating part to human errors. Although this is believed to be more of an artifact than a true description the results can be used for further analysis. Such an analysis shows that the two most frequent human errors are inadequate human information acquisition and information processing.

A simple descriptive model of the driver in traffic is presented. It is suggested that man’s inherited limitations and lack of appropriate experience result in systematic errors in information acquisition and processing. Two inserted constructs
  • • a perceptual filter

  • • a cognitive filter

are used to describe road user errors and to generate hypotheses and suggestions of how to meet and overcome some inadequate road user behavior. Special high risk situations (night traffic, peripheral detection, speed) and special high risk groups (inexperienced young drivers), are used to illustrate the ideas in the descriptive model


Information Acquisition Road Safety Road Transport Road User Peripheral Vision 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Cole, B.L. & Jenkings, S.E. Conspicuity of traffic control devices. Austrialian Road Research Board. Internal report, 1978.Google Scholar
  2. Durth, W. Die optischen Informationen als Kriterien fiir die Gestaltung der Uberholstrecke. Strassenbau, Verkehrstechnik und Verkehrssicherheit. 1971, 75, 31–32.Google Scholar
  3. Englund, A. & Pettersson, H.E. The accident commision of the Insurance companies (in Swedish). Road Safety Committee (TRK) Rapport 1, Stockholm. 1978.Google Scholar
  4. Evans, L. & Wasielewski, P. Do accident-involved drivers exhibit riskier everyday driving behavior. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 4, 57–64, 1982.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gibson, J.J. The senses considered as perceptual systems. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 1966.Google Scholar
  6. Goeller, B.F. Modeling the traffic safety system. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 1, 167–204. 1969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Haight, F.A. Road safety: A perspective and a new strategy. The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, USA. Working paper 29, 1983.Google Scholar
  8. Helmers, G. & Aberg, L. Driver behavior in intersections as related to priority rules and road design. National Swedish Road and Traffic Research Institute (VTI). VTI Rapport 167. 1978.Google Scholar
  9. Johansson, R. The relation between subjective and objective accident risk. (In Swedish) Transport Research Delegation, Sweden. Report 1982: 9.Google Scholar
  10. Johansson, G. & Rumar, K. Drivers and road signs. Ergonomics 9, 57–62. 1966.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Johansson, G. & Backlund, F. Drivers and road signs. Ergonomics 13, 6, 1970.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Klebelsberg, D. & Kallina, H., Wieviele Verkehrszeichen können gleichzeitig wahrgenommen werden? Kriminalistik, 14, 1960.Google Scholar
  13. Nygaard, B. A pilot study of the effect of feedback at a pedestrian crossing. National Swedish Road and Traffic Research Institute (VTI). Memo. 1981.Google Scholar
  14. Rumar, K. The visual environment in road traffic. Proceedings from CIE 19th Session, Kyoto, Japan, Publication 50. Paper 79–01. 1980.Google Scholar
  15. Rumar, K. Daylight running lights in Sweden—Pre-studies and experiences. SAE Technical Paper 810191. Detroit. 1981.Google Scholar
  16. Rumar, K. The human factor in road safety. Invited paper to the 11th Australian Road Research Board Annual Conference, 1981, Proceedings, 11, Part 1, 63–80, 1982.Google Scholar
  17. Sabey, B.E. & Staughton, G.C. Interacting roles of road environment, vehicle and road user in accidents. 5th International Conference of the International Association for Accident and Traffic Medicine, London, 1975.Google Scholar
  18. Spolander, K. Accident risks of drivers—a model tested on man and woman (in Swedish) Swedish Road and Traffic Research Institute (VTI). Rapport 260. 1983.Google Scholar
  19. Sten T. Safety marginals by driving. (in Norwegian) Technical University of Norway. Internal report. 1979.Google Scholar
  20. Summala, H. & Näätänen, R. Perception of highway traffic signs and motivation. Journal of Safety Research, 6, 4. 1974.Google Scholar
  21. Summala, H. & Hietamäki, J. Drivers immediate response to traffic signs. Ergonomics, 27, 2, 205–216, 1984.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Treat, J.R. A study of precrash factors involved in traffic accidents. Highway Safety Research Institute (HSRI). USA. The HSRI Research Review 10, 6, 11, 1. 1980.Google Scholar
  23. Turtola, K. Perception of simultaneously presented traffic signs. Universiy of Tampere, Finland, Report 42, 1969.Google Scholar
  24. Undeutsch, U. Die Auffassungsfähigkeit für Verkehrszeichen. Zeitschrift fiXr Verkehrssicherheit, 9, 1963.Google Scholar
  25. Wilde, G.J.S. Objective and subjective risk in drivers’ response to road condi- tons: The implications of the theory of risk homeostasis for accident aetiology and prevention. Seminar on the Implications of Risk Taking Theories for Traffic Safety, West-Berlin. 1981.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kåre Rumar
    • 1
  1. 1.Swedish Road & Traffic Research InstituteLinköpingSweden

Personalised recommendations