Novice drivers tend to restrict their search of the road on dual-carriageways, relative to the scanning observed in experienced drivers. The present study determined whether the difference was the result of novices having limited mental capacity remaining after vehicle control had been maintained, or whether it resulted from an impoverished mental model of the events likely to occur on a dual-carriageway. Novice and experienced drivers watched video-recordings taken from a car travelling along a variety of roads, including dual-carriageways, and their eye movements were recorded to determine the scanning patterns as they followed instructions to indicate hazardous events. The experienced drivers showed more extensive scanning on the demanding sections of dual-carriageway in this task. This supports the hypothesis that the inspection of the roadway by novices is limited not because they have limited mental resources residual from the task of vehicle control, but that they have an impoverished mental model of what is likely to happen on dual-carriageways. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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