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Driving Simulator

The York Driving Simulator

The driving simulator is a computerized behavioral test, which has close resemblance to the actual experience of driving and performance requirements of driving a car. It has already been proven to be an effective instrument in assessment of psychomotor and cognitive performance.  It also correlates well with a well-validated measure of wakefulness, the MWT. The driving simulator has proven to be a practical tool for evaluating the effects of sleep disorders in the context of driving.

The York Driving Simulator (York Computer Technologies, Kingston, Ontario, Canada) is used to assess driving performance. The driving simulator consists of a personal computer, a 22” wide screen monitor and a peripheral steering wheel, an accelerator and brake accessories. The simulator provides a forward view from the driver’s seat of a motorway road scene, with standard lane markings and signs appropriate to the road environment. The two-lane route has no turns, no stop signs or traffic lights, and posted speeds ranging from 70 to 100 km/h. Wind gusts are frequently generated at random intervals, and direction to constantly require lane correction by the driver throughout the task.

Users have a practice session, which lasts ten minutes, that allows the user to become accustomed with the program and to ask the research assistant for help. This is immediately followed by a 30 minute task where the user will be asked to: a) stay in the right hand lane to avoid passing cars in the left lane; b) obey all lane markings; c) obey the speed signs the and drive at the speed limit; c) keep both hands on the steering wheel while operating the pedals with the right foot only.

The secondary dependant measured variables measured by the driving task include: a) total number of crashes, based on their inability to correct the car in wind gusts; b) reaction time for the patient to correct the vehicle in response to wind gusts.

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