Saccades and driving
Driving is not only a physical task, but is also a mental task. Visual inputs are indispensable in scanning the road, communicating with other road users and monitoring in-vehicle devices. The probability to detect an object while driving (conspicuity) is very important for assessment of driving effectiveness, and correct choice of information relevant to the safety of driving determines the efficiency of a driver. Accordingly, eye fixation and eye movements are essential for attention and choice in decision making. Saccades are the most used and effective means of maintaining a correct fixation while driving. In order to identify the features of the most predisposed subjects at high driving performances and those of the high-level sportsmen, we used a special tool called Visual Exploration Training System. We evaluated by saccade and attentional tests various groups of ordinary drivers, past professional racing drivers, professional truck drivers and professional athletes. Males have faster reaction time compared to females and the age below 30 seems to guarantee better precision of performance and accuracy in achieving all visual targets. The effect on physical activity and sports is confirmed. The performances of the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) selected students who were significantly better than those of a group of aspiring students and amateur racing drivers probably thanks to individual predisposition, training and so-called ‘neural efficiency’.