This work presents the results of a virtual reality (VR) experiment aiming at investigating how individual driving behaviour is affected by the presence of wildfire smoke. The experiment included a driving simulation task to study the chosen driving speed at different smoke densities and the lateral position of the driven car on the road cross section. During the VR experiment, participants were presented with a simulated wildfire evacuation scenario including the presence of smoke through a head mounted display and were given a task to evacuate via car using a steering wheel and pedals on a single carriageway road with two lanes. A total of 46 participants took part in the experiments and their driven trajectories along with their instantaneous speed were collected in 5 different visibility conditions. Driving speed decreased with increasing smoke density. No difference in choice of speed was found in relation to the smoke density in the previously driven road segment (in thicker or thinner smoke). No difference in lateral position (closer to or further from the centreline of the road) at different smoke densities was found. Suggested correlations between driving speed and wildfire smoke density are provided in this paper, referring to either a fractional reduction of the speed in smoke-free conditions or an absolute choice of speed at a given visibility condition. These correlations are useful to provide more accurate estimation of evacuation times with traffic evacuation modelling tools in case of wildfire and wildland-urban interface fire scenarios.
- Transportteknik och logistik