Evaluation of driver behavior to hydroplaning in the state of Florida using driving simulation.
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Evaluation of driver behavior to hydroplaning in the state of Florida using driving simulation.

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      This project used a driving simulator to investigate patterns of drivers' behavior during various rainfall events using different roadway geometries. The authors conducted a literature review of previous transportation studies using driving simulators and selected and analyzed extensive field data on major highway sections throughout Florida. The data was broken into two major categories: light rain for rainfall intensity ranging from 0.01 to 0.24 inches/hour and heavy rain for rainfall intensity of greater than 0.25 inches/hour. The driving simulator at the University of Central Florida simulated the parameters, such as speed and rainfall intensity, observed in the field. Based on the analysis, it was found that drivers are not affected by light rainfall events. However, heavy rainfall has a significant impact on their speed; on average, they reduced their speed by 6 to 12 mph. Also, there was no interaction between rainfall intensity and either gender or age group. The female participants appeared to drive faster as compared to their male counterparts, and the age group ranging from 16 to 21 years old appeared to be the most aggressive drivers. Eighty percent of the participants reported on the survey that they have experienced some level of hydroplaning while driving on the road. The simulator appears to provide identical results to the field data analysis, lending credence to the validity of using a driving simulator to investigate the pattern of drivers' behavior during rainfall event. The researchers recommended further validation and refinement of this study. Continuation of this project may also help Florida Department of Transportation and other agencies with future decision making, such as variable message signs, determining appropriate corrective measures on existing roadway sections, and/or designing future roadway sections to reduce hydroplaning.
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