Universiteit Hasselt - Knowledge in action


Driving. It seems easy and comes naturally, but the complexity of it often don’t occur to us. While driving, we have to combine several tasks (such as steering, gearing, respecting the right-of-way) with certain skills (motor/mental skills), easily switch between both and appropriately respond to changes in driving environment. Driving thus is no sinecure and for some, it might be even more difficult. Young novice drivers for example must invest more energy in driving, because they have less driving experience and their brain isn’t fully grown.

Within behavioural research, we examine the driving behaviour and mobility of various groups: young people, elderly and recently also seniors with dementia and people with an autism spectrum disorder. On the one hand, we examine the behaviour of a certain group and see how it is connected to underlying mechanisms. On the other hand, we compare the driving ability of several groups. How able to drive are elderly people with early dementia compared to healthy elderly? How can we explain that young novice drivers have a higher risk of crash involvement compared to older and more experienced drivers?

Based on targeted problem analyses, we developed interventions to support involved target groups to retain a safe and independent mobility. In order to collect data, we use a wide range of tools and techniques such as self-reporting and computer tasks, direct observation (e.g. through driving simulation and eye tracking devices) and underlying physiological measures (e.g. through an EEG, the so-called electroencephalogram).

Projects and realisations

Driving behaviour of young novice drivers examined

Despite several effective countermeasures, young novice drivers have a high accident risk worldwide. The key question remains: why? In this research, we explored the driving behaviour of young novice drivers by examining the underlying mechanisms. Read more >

Yes, I Drive!

Obtaining a driver’s license is every young person’s passport to a certain freedom and independence. It increases job opportunities and allows them to maintain social contacts more easily. However, learning to drive can be, to a certain extent, a stressful and sometimes even a frightening experience. How do young people with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience that? IMOB investigated it. Read more >

Autism and (learning how to) drive

An autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the most frequent developmental disabilities worldwide. An ASD is characterized by communication challenges, social-interaction difficulties and limitations in flexible thinking and acting, but does it also have an influence on (learning how to) drive? We examined the underlying mechanisms of the driving behaviour of young novice drivers with ASD. Read more >

CareVille Limburg

How can we support elderly in continuing a safe and independent mobility? Mobility is an important element in the quality of life. It allows the elderly to participate in everyday activities and to maintain social contacts, which reduces the risk of depression and social isolation. We evaluate the driving ability of elderly and inform them about alternative transport facilities, when driving is no longer possible. Read more >