A disproportionate number of road accidents occur at night relative to the number of road trips completed during periods of darkness. Actively illuminated road studs offer greater visibility than standard retroreflective road studs and therefore may reduce the number of night-time accidents when used for delineation. A driving simulator study was conducted to test this hypothesis. Thirty-six participants were recruited, twelve each from younger (18-25), middle (26-54), and older (55+) age groups. Each drove along two simulated 36km rural A-road routes in simulated night-time conditions. Participants experienced sections in which there were actively illuminated road studs, sections in which there were standard retroreflective road studs, and sections in which there were no road studs whatsoever. Participants also completed pre- and post-trial questionnaires. Results from the simulator demonstrated that participants drove 1-1.5mph faster with active studs than with passive studs. However, no difference was observed in the minimum speeds attained through bends. Furthermore, participants exerted better lateral control of the vehicle when active studs were present and appeared to show a reduction in the variation in the position at which maximum brake application occurred, suggesting that participants had greater awareness of the road configuration. Significant differences were particularly apparent for bends curving to the right. STATS19 accident statistics suggest that younger drivers are most at risk of being involved in an accident at night. However, observed differences were most notable for drivers in the older age group, indicating that the introduction of active studs may have less of an impact on the key younger driver demographic. Questionnaire responses were very positive toward the use of active studs with participants indicating significantly greater safety, comfort, confidence, and control when driving with active studs present.

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