September 16, 2021
According to the studies there are three factors that cause traffic accidents, i.e. road, human (road users), and vehicles. And human factor is the main factor of traffic accidents. The causes include sleepiness, fatigue, breaking the speed limit, not keeping distance, alcohol or drugs, illness, cell phone or electronic device usage, etc. Among these conditions, sleepiness and fatigue are the most common and unique factors. And studies show that these both factors mainly are caused by human activities which incompatible with the biological rhythm of the human body.
The driver’s alertness can be stimulated by using different ways such as drinking coffee, chewing, singing, talking, smoking and so on. But the most effective way to maintain driver’s alertness is the using peppermint scent in a car.
Peppermint fragrance is commonly known on its freshness as medicine or aromatherapy. This research was conducted to examine the effectiveness of peppermint as a car freshener in order to maintain drivers’ alertness level. A within-subject design experiment was carried out in a car-driving simulator laboratory engaging twelve male participants. There were two driving conditions: with placebo and with peppermint fragrance. Placebo and peppermint fragrance was released continuously using an electric vaporizer. The participants’ alertness level was monitored via brainwave activities using electroencephalograph (EEG) along 30 minutes of driving. Frequency analysis on EEG data was conducted to determine the alpha, theta, and beta power band on F3 and F4 of lobus frontal to generate the (α+θ)/β ratio. Results of this study demonstrated that Peppermint, as one of the stimulus on sleepiness/fatigue, is promising to be applied as in-vehicle fragrance to help maintain drivers’ alertness. The effectiveness was shown by higher alertness level produced in the peppermint exposure, although the difference was not significant compared to non-fragrance situation. More substantial increase of alertness level might be obtained by applying different method of fragrance exposure in the future study.