Choice of time-headway in car-following and the role of time-to-collision information in braking

W van Winsum*, A Heino

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    136 Citations (Scopus)


    Time-headway (THW) during car-following and braking response were studied in a driving simulator from the perspective that behaviour on the manoeuvring level (e.g. choice of THW) may be linked to operational competence of vehicle control (e.g. braking) via a process of adaptation. Time-headway was consistent within drivers and constant over a range of speeds. Since time-headway represents the time available to the driver to reach the same level of deceleration as the lead vehicle in case it brakes, it was studied whether choice of time-headway was related to skills underlying braking performance. The initiation and control of braking were both affected by time-to-collision (TTC) at the moment the lead vehicle started to brake. This strongly supported the idea that time-to-collision information is used for judging the moment to start braking and in the control of braking. No evidence was found that short followers differ from long followers in the ability to accurately perceive TTC. There was, however, evidence that short followers are better able to programme the intensity of braking to required levels. Also, short followers tuned the control of braking better to the development of criticality in time during the braking process. It was concluded that short followers may differ from long followers in programming and execution of the braking response.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)579-592
    Number of pages14
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr-1996


    • driving
    • driver modelling
    • information processing

    Cite this