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J Sleep Res. 1996 Mar;5(1):12-5.

Sleepiness and performance of professional drivers in a truck simulator--comparisons between day and night driving.

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Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


Previous research has shown that night driving performance may be seriously affected by sleepiness. The present study compared daytime and night-time performance of professional drivers on a simulated truck driving task. A secondary purpose was whether a nap or a rest pause would affect performance. Nine professional drivers participated in a counterbalanced design. The conditions were day driving (DAYDRIVE), night driving (NIGHTDRIVE), night driving with a 30 minute rest (NIGHTREST), and night driving with a 30 minute nap (NIGHTNAP). Each condition consisted of three consecutive 30-min periods. For the DAYDRIVE and NIGHTDRIVE all periods were spent driving while the second period was either a rest pause or a nap for the other two conditions. Mean speed, standard deviation of speed and, standard deviation for lane position were recorded. Self ratings of sleepiness were obtained before and after each 30-min period. Reaction time tests and 10 minute standardized EEG/EOG recordings were obtained before and after each condition. EEG/EOG were also recorded continuously during driving. The effects on driving were small but significant: night driving was slower, with a higher variability of speed, and had higher variability of lane position. Subjective and EEG/EOG sleepiness were clearly higher during the night conditions. Reaction time performance was not significantly affected by conditions. Neither the nap nor the rest pause had any effect.

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