Eye movements and hazard perception in active and passive driving

Andrew Kerr MacKenzie, Julie Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Differences in eye movement patterns are often found when comparing passive viewing paradigms to actively engaging in everyday tasks. Arguably, investigations into visuomotor control should therefore be most useful when conducted in settings that incorporate the intrinsic link between vision and action. We present a study that compares oculomotor behaviour and hazard reaction times across a simulated driving task and a comparable, but passive, video-based hazard perception task. We found that participants scanned the road less during the active driving task and fixated closer to the front of the vehicle. Participants were also slower to detect the hazards in the driving task. Our results suggest that the interactivity of simulated driving places increased demand upon the visual and attention systems than simply viewing driving movies. We offer insights into why these differences occur and explore the possible implications of such findings within the wider context of driver training and assessment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalVisual Cognition
VolumeIn press
Early online date7 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Eye movements
  • Driving
  • Visual Cognition
  • Hazard Perception
  • Natural Scene Perception


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