Mining patterns of near-crash events with and without secondary tasks.
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The engagement of secondary tasks, like using a phone or talking to passengers while driving, could introduce considerable risks to driving safety. This study utilizes a near-crash dataset extracted from a naturalistic driving study to explore the patterns of near-crash events with or without the involvement of secondary tasks as a surrogate approach to understand the impact of these behaviors on traffic safety. The dataset contains information about driver behaviors, such as secondary tasks, vehicle maneuvers, other conflict vehicles' maneuvers before and during near-crash events, and the driving environment. The patterns for near-crashes with or without the involvement of secondary tasks are mined by adopting the apriori association rule algorithm. Finally, the mined rules for the near-crash events with or without the involvement of the secondary tasks are analyzed and compared. The results demonstrate that near-crashes with the involvement of secondary tasks often occur with drivers in a relatively stable and presumably predictable environment, such as an interstate highway with a constant speed. This type of near-crash is highly associated with the leading vehicle's sudden slowing or stopping since there is no expectation of any interruptions for these drivers performing the secondary tasks. The most common evasive maneuver in this kind of emergency is braking. Near-crashes without the involvement of secondary tasks is often associated with lane-changing behavior and sideswipe incidents. With shorter reaction time and awareness of the driving environment, the drivers in this type of near-crash can often make more complex maneuvers, like braking and steering, to avoid a collision. Understanding the patterns of these two types of near-crash incidents could help safety researchers, traffic engineers, and even vehicle designers/engineers develop countermeasures for minimizing potential collisions caused by secondary tasks or improper lane changing behaviors.