This article is confusing. It would have been instructive to get the actual glance times of men and of women, when viewing the two font types. As written, the only thing I can conclude is that the simpler font has a more beneficial impact on men. What I cannot tell is whether women are having to look longer regardless of font.
Here's the issue:
"For women, the figures were equivalent in the first group and showed a 3.3 percent improvement in the second group."
The way I read this, women's glance times are about the same as men's for the Eurostyle font, the bad one, and hardly improve at all with the good font. To me, that sounds like women are spending less time looking at the road, overall. Yet, the article says:
"It's possible women are…more efficient at moving information" that is displayed, he said "It could also be a neurobiological difference."
Which makes me think that something is missing somewhere in the explanation?
This kind of strikes me as a bit of a "blinding flash of the obvious." Helvetica/Ariel is known to be one of the more readable fonts. Old english and script type fonts are much more difficult to read.
I wouldn't even have to run a study to conclude that people will read faster, get the meaning faster and thus be distracted for less time with an easy to read font vs a difficult to read font.
As an aging driver I have noticed over the last decade that it takes significantly longer to “acquire” the data and “see” what is in the scene. This may account for a number of accidents where fast moving vehicles are missed by aging drivers exiting side roads. As eyesight deteriorates the ability to change focus from infinity [as when looking straight ahead] to shorter distances as little as 60 cm [called accommodation] for reading displays and instruments also deteriorate. Correct prescription glasses will help, but the impact of the contrast ratio of font to background and light level are also important.
Duane, you didn't look at the fonts sufficiently carefully before commenting. Helvetica is an example of a "grotesque" font, at least if Wikipedia is to be believed. Follow the links in the article, quite revealing.