Does order matter? Investigating the effect of sequence on glance duration during on-road driving


Previous literature has shown that vehicle crash risks increases as drivers’ off-road glance duration increases. Many factors influence drivers’ glance duration such as individual differences, driving environment, or task characteristics. Theories and past studies suggest that glance duration increases as the task progresses, but the exact relationship between glance sequence and glance durations is not fully understood. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of glance sequence on glance duration among drivers completing a visual-manual radio tuning task and an auditory-vocal based multi-modal navigation entry task. Eighty participants drove a vehicle on urban highways while completing radio tuning and navigation entry tasks. Forty participants drove under an experimental protocol that required three button presses followed by rotation of a tuning knob to complete the radio tuning task while the other forty participants completed the task with one less button press. Multiple statistical analyses were conducted to measure the effect of glance sequence on glance duration. Results showed that across both tasks and a variety of statistical tests, glance sequence had inconsistent effects on glance duration—the effects varied according to the number of glances, task type, and data set that was being evaluated. Results suggest that other aspects of the task as well as interface design effect glance duration and should be considered in the context of examining driver attention or lack thereof. All in all, interface design and task characteristics have a more influential impact on glance duration than glance sequence, suggesting that classical design considerations impacting driver attention, such as the size and location of buttons, remain fundamental in designing in-vehicle interfaces.