Presentation W P3

W P3 (Poster Presentation):
Using Simulation to Better Understand the Effects of Aging on Driver Visibility: Potential Implications for Safety Research and Vehicle Design

Presented by: Tara Kajaks

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Kajaks T1, Vrkljan BH2, Godwin A3, MacDermid JC2

  1. School of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
  2. School of Rehabilitation Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
  3. Human Kinetics, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada



To engage in paid or unpaid work, which promotes independence, good health, and economic contributions, many older adults rely on their vehicles. However, age-related decreases in physical and cognitive functioning contribute to high older driver collision rates. Through the implementation of virtual simulation in older driver research practices, older driver safety issues and vehicle design can be studied. The purpose of this study was to both quantify left blind-spot visibility in older adults with normal and abnormal neck ROM, and identify a simulation method to assess visibility issues for older drivers with visual and functional impairments.


Older driver demographic, anthropometric, and physical function data from the Candrive McMaster site (n = 100), a national older driver safety study, were extracted and used to select avatar input criteria for virtual simulations. Siemens Jack software was used to simulate eight (four male) older drivers who performed a left head rotation to view the left blind spot from a virtual Volkswagen Beetle. Two tall and two short participants were simulated as having both ‘normal’ (65 degrees) and ‘abnormal’ (50 degrees) neck ROM. Gender differences were tested using non-parametric analyses on the nominal data and a one-way ANOVA on the height and weight data from the Candrive data subset (α=0.05). Descriptive statistics were reported for the visibility simulations


Most Candrive participants were involved in paid (14 %) or unpaid (67 %) work. 21 % of participants had abnormal rotational neck ROM. No gender differences in work or neck ROM were reported, but males were taller and heavier (174.9 cm ± 6.6, 85.4 kg ± 13.7) than females (161.88 cm ± 5.5, 67.1 kg ± 12.07). The simulation results show average visibility along the side of the blind spot to be 22.3 % and 10.4 % in the 65 and 50 degree head rotation conditions, respectively. Front blind spot visibility was 100 % in both head rotation conditions and 0 % with no head rotation


Older drivers with abnormal neck ROM have less left blind spot visibility and may need compensatory strategies and devices to improve visibility for safer driving. This finding is important given the high percentage of Candrive participants who are active in the community through work and driving.

Schedule Details

Wednesday October 1
13:00 - 14:00 Poster Viewing
Session: Vulnerable workers & ethical issues