Hazard Perception Test
What a lot of people don’t notice is that driving is a cognitively demanding activity. Having good hazard perception is very important because it strongly correlates with the number of crashes someone has. The lower your hazard perception the more crashes you are likely to have. Hazard perception can be defined as “a drivers’ ability to search the road ahead to rapidly identify potentially dangerous traffic situations”. There was a study done on mild traumatic brain injury and how that can effects someone’s hazard perception. They tested a group of 42 mild traumatic brain injury patients (MTBI) and 43 patients with minor orthopedic injuries with no TBI. The results showed that a person with a MTBI show significant slowed responses on the hazard perception test 24 hours after injury compared to someone with no TBI. The test is called the University of Queensland Hazard Perception Test. This is a computerized test where you have to click by using the mouse if you see hazards or potential dangers on the screen. It simulates a real driving experience and can show more hazards in one sitting then if you were to really drive in a car. The rationale behind this is since MTBI can produce brain damage that impairs cognitive performance and hazard perception appears to be a cognitively demanding task then MTBI can impair hazard perception. This means that if someone has a MTBI such as a concussion, they should refrain from diving for at least 24 hours. This is not always the case and people with these mild traumatic brain injuries are going back to driving too quickly and are not cognitively ready to drive due to the MTBI. If they are not ready then there perception of potentially dangerous traffic situations can be slower than average which can lead to car crashes.
Driving after concussion: The acute effect of mild traumatic brain injury on drivers' hazard perception.
Preece, Megan H. W.; Horswill, Mark S.; Geffen, Gina M.
Neuropsychology, Vol 24(4), Jul 2010, 493-503. doi: 10.1037/a0018903