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Experimental modeling of the effect of hurricane wind forces on driving behavior and vehicle performance

Jose M. Rodriguez, MS, Julius Codjoe, Osama Osman, Sherif Ishak, PhD, Brian Wolshon, PhD


While traffic planning is important for developing a hurricane evacuation plan, vehicle performance on the roads during extreme weather conditions is critical to the success of the planning process. This novel study investigates the effect of gusty hurricane wind forces on the driving behavior and vehicle performance. The study explores how the parameters of a driving simulator could be modified to reproduce wind loadings experienced by three vehicle types (passenger car, ambulance, and bus) during gusty hurricane winds, through manipulation of appropriate software. Thirty participants were then tested on the modified driving simulator under five wind conditions (ranging from normal to hurricane category 4). The driving performance measures used were heading error and lateral displacement. The results showed that higher wind forces resulted in more varied and greater heading error and lateral displacement. The ambulance had the greatest heading errors and lateral displacements, which were attributed to its large lateral surface area and light weight. Two mathematical models were developed to estimate the heading error and lateral displacements for each of the vehicle types for a given change in lateral wind force. Through a questionnaire, participants felt the different characteristics while driving each vehicle type. The findings of this study demonstrate the valuable use of a driving simulator to model the behavior of different vehicle types and to develop mathematical models to estimate and quantify driving behavior and vehicle performance under hurricane wind conditions.


vehicle performance, driving behavior, driving simulator, hurricanes, wind forces

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