In the first part of this series, I aimed at reimagining the instrument cluster of automobiles by specifically trying to tackle the problem of distraction while driving — my idea was to have nifty controls that helped drivers achieve simple tasks without having to take their hands off the wheel.
With more exploration, research and talking to people who are rather new to driving, I uncovered some major insights that led me to designing for driver anxiety.
What is driver anxiety?
People who are on the edge about their driving performance because of their lack of confidence, uncertainty about road conditions, unfamiliar routes, technological distraction or poor driving skills. This anxiety while driving arises when people encounter some sort of an accident (not necessarily lethal) in their initial phase of learning or any experience that evokes fear in them while driving. This leads to a situation where they make one mistake, and that goes onto being a snowballing effect where they continue committing multiple errors — this in turn completely shatters their confidence and are hence prone to more accidents on the road.
My process of arriving at designing of anxiety included three contextual inquiries and four semi-structured interviews to understand and get a general feel of how new drivers reacted to situations on roads and how it impacted them mentally.