A Comparison of Virtual Reality and Non-Virtual Reality Approaches to Hazard Perception Training & Testing: Does a 360-Degree Environment Provide Tangible Benefits?

Organisation: Nottingham Trent University

Amount awarded

August 2021

Uploaded to Knowledge Centre
7 September 2021

Using virtual reality (VR) headsets in driver hazard perception is just as good as, and in some conditions better than, single screen tests at differentiating between safe and less-safe drivers, with drivers preferring the immersive experience of VR, according to this series of studies by Nottingham Trent University (NTU).

Hazard perception skills are traditionally assessed via clips of driving, viewed from the driver’s perspective, which contain one or more developing hazards. Viewers’ response times to the appearance of hazards are used as a measure of their driving safety, with highly experienced drivers, or drivers with a crash-free history, typically making faster responses.

Using a ‘what happens next?’ method of hazard identification, psychologists explored how both new and experienced drivers reacted when using a VR headset. The 360-degree view of potential hazards gave participants the opportunity to look all around them, such as into side roads as they pass, or to check side mirrors and blind spots for other road users.

This six-part study, commissioned and funded by the RAC Foundation together with the Road Safety Trust and the DVSA, involved more than 400 participants, with drivers reporting that the VR experience was more engaging, immersive and realistic than a single monitor test on average. They also preferred real video of roads to a CGI simulation, rating them higher for clarity and visual complexity on average

The research team also analysed the levels of cybersickness among participants, finding levels very low with only 4% of participants removed from studies due to sickness, despite the screen regularly cutting to black between hazards, which can prompt nausea.

For more information and to download the full report visit the Road Safety Trust website: