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Driver stress in response to infrastructure and other road users: Simulator research informing an innovative approach to improving road safety
EXTENDED ABSTRACT: Recent research suggests the psycho-biophysical impact of stress can negatively impact health long after stressor exposure, in addition to increasing on-road discourteous driving behaviour. Twentytwo drivers participated in a simulated drive during which biophysical markers of stress (e.g., heart rate) were measured in response to interactions with stress-inducing/reducing infrastructure (roadworks, roundabouts; straight roads), manoeuvres (merging, overtaking; open roads), and road users (rude/oblivious/distracted/nice drivers). Findings suggest drivers experience increased stress during stress-inducing interactions, therefore recommendations regarding minimising longer-term negative impact of stress and which also improves road safety through courteous driving include interventions framed within enforcement, engineering, education and/or engagement.