Driven
to help
Returning independence to wounded veterans (among others) means getting them behind the wheel again.

Johnell Brooks’ key interest, simply put, is discovering inventive ways to help people drive safely as long as possible.

She is a human-factors psychologist in Clemson’s Department of Automotive Engineering. As one might imagine, her research requires a significant amount of time in the lab. She, her colleagues and her students use a full-size driving simulator to conduct driving-related research, ranging from studies of visual limitations during night driving to distracted driving due to multitasking (think texting).

With that expertise, she began collaborating with physicians and occupational therapists at a nearby rehabilitation hospital — this time in a much-different setting. She quickly discovered that a driving simulator designed for use in the lab is not a good fit (literally, it’s huge) in a clinic. What to do? Not to worry, she had an idea and an action plan.

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Ranking Clemson received in U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 Up-and-Comers category for institutions that have made the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty and student life.

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