Does gender make a difference to performing in-vehicle tasks?


This study describes the gender differences in driving and visual behaviour observed beneath a high mental workload. The impacts of performing a set of in-vehicle auditory tasks on the behaviour of 34 drivers were studied in an on-road experiment using an instrumented vehicle. The results show that female participants tended to drive a lot of attentively in baseline driving than males, however they were also more littered with the upper workload. The latter effect was identified by an increase in steering wheel changes and a rather lower auditory task performance. Females adopted a a lot of conservative coping strategy to compensate for the higher workload, as identified by increased headways and additional stable lateral management. By distinction, male drivers didn't seem to be affected in the same approach, but their eye movements revealed vital gaze concentration and less mirror-checking. This suggests that male drivers may be less conscious of the impact of mental distractions on their driving performance and visual behaviour, and adopt a simplification strategy to deal with the extra workload. These gender variations in behaviours and coping strategies can be explained solely through a mixture of ancient measurements and drivers' eye movements, that give a supplementary measure for understanding driving behaviour. Increased understandings of such gender differences might have important implications for the planning and safe operation of future in-vehicle technologies.

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