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Release: Nov. 8, 2000

UI engineering lecture on driver behavior is scheduled for Nov. 14

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Jan Theeuwes, engineering professor at the Vrije University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, will deliver a Caterpillar Distinguished Lecture, "The Relationship Between Discomfort Glare and Driving Behavior," at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14 in Room 2217 of the Seamans Center for the Engineering Arts and Sciences. The lecture, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the University of Iowa College of Engineering and the Caterpillar Foundation.

In his talk Theeuwes plans to lecture on a recently completed study investigating the effects of discomfort glare on actual driving behavior. In the study, drivers were exposed to a glare source mounted on the hood of an instrumented vehicle simulating headlights of an oncoming car. Subjects drove at night in actual traffic along a particular track consisting of urban, rural and highway stretches. Driving behavior and the detection of critical objects as well as various subjective measures of discomfort glare were measured.

The results indicated that the glare source subjects adapted their behavior in a safe direction. In particular, on dark and winding roads, the subjects drove significantly slower and invested more effort when the glare source was on than when it was off. Higher glare intensities caused a significant drop in object detection, both in terms of missed targets and detection distance. Older subjects showed the largest behavior adaptation and the largest drop in object detection performance.

The Caterpillar Distinguished Lecture Colloquium is made possible by grants awarded to the UI College of Engineering through the UI Foundation by the Caterpillar Foundation of Peoria, Ill. The grants comprise the Caterpillar Excellence Fund, which aids student, faculty and curriculum development in the College of Engineering.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. People requiring an accommodation in order to participate in this program are asked to contact the College of Engineering in advance at 319-335-5764.