Reaction test highlights impact of alcohol, fatigue and experience

12.00 | 17 November 2015 | | 1 comment

An interactive game which records reaction times suggests that people who regularly consume higher levels of alcohol are up to 20% slower to react than those who consume lower levels.

Released in the build-up to Road Safety Week (23-29 Nov) the ‘Emergency Stop’ reaction time test measures in milliseconds (ms). The test shows that those who consume on average 1-10 units of alcohol per week had a reaction time of 508ms, compared to 605ms for those who consume 31-40 units per week.

JustPark*, the game’s creator, tested it on 2,000 people of all ages, and found that reaction time is affected by a number of other factors including the amount of sleep and driving experience the participant had.

For example, people who slept eight hours the night before taking the survey reported the fastest average reaction times (525ms), up to 20% faster than those who has less sleep. Those who slept six hours recorded on average 544ms, five hours 575ms and four hours 653ms. It also showed that those who slept for longer than eight hours had slower reaction times: at nine hours the average response time was 545ms, and for 10 or more hours 649ms.

The reaction time of drivers who drive more than once a week (496ms) is on average 10% faster than that of non-drivers (548ms). More broadly, people who hold a driver’s licence reacted 8% faster than those without one.

The report also suggests reaction time gets better with driving experience. Drivers with 1-2 years of driving experience (391ms) reported a 27% faster reaction time than those who had held a licence for less than a year (536ms).

Men demonstrated reaction times that were on average 0.02ms or 5% faster than women.

JustPark is an online service that matches drivers with spare car parking spaces. It is the UK’s largest homegrown sharing economy company, with more than 750,000 registered users.


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    Although the exercise is primarily designed to illustrate what affects our reaction times, it would also be useful and perhaps more meaningful to then show to the participants, the actual differences in stopping distances (from the same speed), that these different reaction times would have represented. What woud be the actual difference in stopping distances between a reaction time of 391ms and 653ms for instance?

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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