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The X-factor: A longitudinal study of calibration in young novice drivers

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It is often assumed that young novice drivers overestimate their driving skills and underestimate the risks in traffic; and therefore insufficiently adapt their driving behaviour (e.g. speed or headway) to the specific situation. This balancing of skills and task demands has been called calibration. To study if improved calibration can explain the decreasing crash risk in the first years of the driving career, 500 young novice drivers completed questionnaires and kept a driving diary during two years (from the moment of licensing). The results indicate that, although drivers are less positive about their driving skills than has been previously thought, young novice drivers indeed overestimate their driving skills more than experienced drivers. In addition the results show that overestimation of driving skills correlates with self reported unsafe driving behaviour, such as more violations and less adaptation of driving behaviour (speed) to the specific situation. However, the study did not find evidence that calibration skills of young novice drivers improved in the first two years of the driving career. Therefore it is still uncertain how these skills are developed and if they can be taught in driver training. Until we have a better understanding of how driving experience works, and which aspects are important for reducing crash risk, we can only let drivers gain as much experience as possible in the most safe environment. This can be achieved with constricting drivers’ privileges (e.g. by limiting the number of passengers or restricting driving after dark), or by introducing a period of accompanied driving after licensing.
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... Young people with insufficient driving experience underestimate risk (ie, novice drivers show less awareness of the real hazards of the road environment), overestimate their driving skills (they consider they have mastered all the necessary driving skills) and do not adapt their driving behaviour to the demands of the specific traffic situation (eg, excessive speed, small safety margins, unsafe following-distances, aggressive driving, risky manoeuvres and engaging in secondary behaviours such as making a phone call). [3][4][5][6] Efforts should be made to raise the awareness of novice drivers about the danger of overconfidence in their driving skills. For instance, training after obtaining their driving licence should be contemplated to help fully develop their driving skills. ...
... Risky decision-making (RDM) can have a number of causes including an inability to understand the level of danger their actions place them in, over-confidence in their own abilities, sensation seeking, and an incorrect assessment of the advantages and costs of taking that risk. 3,5 In hazard awareness tests, hazardous situations are typically provoked by the actions of another road user (eg, a delivery driver half-hidden by their vehicle suddenly crosses the road). In this sense they can be considered as "passive" hazards. ...
... There has in fact been considerable investigation of this issue, looking at young/novice drivers' balancing of skills and task demands that has been defined as calibration: young/novice drivers overrate their driving skills and undervalue the risks of driving, and therefore fail to adapt their driving behaviour sufficiently to the actual driving scenarios "(eg, excessive speeding, gap acceptance problems or reckless overtaking)". 3,5 Training should address this calibration issue and ensure that risk inoculation is included with training to help nondrivers to anticipate hazards (see, for instance, the "online hazard perception training course for drivers"). By upskilling drivers while constantly reminding them of the risk and dangers of driving (in relation to their newly found skills), we might avoid the increase in risk that comes with untethered increases in confidence. ...
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Introduction: Traffic collisions are a principal cause of death in Europe, disproportionately affecting young drivers. Driving safety depends not only on our ability to anticipate and respond to dangers on the road but also on the level of risk we are willing to engage within our own driving behaviour. Methods: Hazard prediction (HPr) and risky decision-making (RDM) tests were given to three groups of young Spaniards (169 participants): 54 non-drivers (M=20), 65 novice (M=21) and, 50 experienced drivers (M=26 years old). Both tests presented participants with video clips of driving recorded from the driver's perspective. The HPr test contained hazardous situations caused by the actions of another road user (eg, a pedestrian crossing the road). Each HPr clip was occluded as a hazard began to unfold and participants were asked to predict "what happens next?" They selected their answer from four on-screen options. The RDM test used clips where any imminent danger would be provoked by the film-car driver's risky behaviour (eg, overtaking illegally). Participants were asked to report the probability of following certain types of risky behaviour (eg, "Would you go forward with the lights on amber?" or "Would you overtake the cyclist/lorry/bus at this point?"). In addition, the effect of the locality of the driving scenarios was manipulated: they could take place in the participant's native country (Spain) or in a different country (UK). Results: Non-drivers and novice drivers were less able to predict upcoming hazards and more likely to make risky decisions. Driving scenarios from another country (UK) provoked riskier decisions than those from the participants' home country (Spain). Conclusion: Improvement in HPr skills among novice or new drivers poses a huge challenge as far as driver training is concerned, though it is only part of the solution. Young inexperienced drivers' willingness to engage in risky behaviour also needs to be tackled. Our results suggest that such RDM can be assessed in a similar way to HPr skill, using a naturalistic approach, which raises the possibility of assessing and training drivers on a wider range of safety-related behaviours.
... Furthermore, overconfidence among drivers makes them less likely to adapt their behavior to traffic situations, leading to even more violations of traffic rules (De Craen, 2010;Isler et al., 2008). The question of overestimated driver's self-appreciation also reflects the impact of traffic safety campaigns: why people who overestimate their skills should pay attention to the instructions given to drivers in general since they are safer and drive better than these drivers? ...
... That is, the more the person positively self-assessed, the more Aggressive Violations and Ordinary Violations he / she committed. The literature shows that overconfidence among drivers causes them more difficulty in adapting their behavior to traffic situations, leading to more violations of traffic rules (De Craen, 2010;Isler et al., 2008). Therefore, it is possible to perceive that inflated self-assessment can cause concrete risks to people, because if the person believes to be a better driver, have the tendency to commit violations of traffic laws and aggressive behavior and endanger the lives of others as a result. ...
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This study aims to verify the self-evaluation that people make about their ability to drive and investigate whether there is a difference between self-evaluation and evaluation about their friends’ abilities. To this end, 151 people answered three different questionnaires, one questionnaire about driving abilities (self-evaluation and evaluation of friends), the Driver’s Behavior Questionnaire and a socio-demographic questionnaire The sample consisted of 50.3% of males with a mean age of 25.32 years (sd = 1.66). As a result, self-evaluation was positively correlated with age, evaluation of friend, weekly driving hours, Common Violations, and Aggressive Violations. In addition, there was significant difference between evaluation by sex: males carry out self-assessments in a more positive way. It was also found that people evaluate themselves better than they evaluate their friends. From this research, it is possible to think the target audience that would most benefit from an intervention to reduce self-evaluation, that is, men, people over 24 years old, and people who have more driving experience.
... They require special research because they have a higher tendency to cause accidents. The literature states that young drivers should drive at least 100,000 km over seven years to reach the level of an advanced driver [14][15][16]. There are many research methods that can be used, which are listed, for example, in [17] and used and described in [18,19]. ...
... Rarely/Never, 2-Occasionally, 3-Often, 4-Always/Always 1 11. I "squirm" at plays or lectures.15. I like to think about complex problems. ...
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This paper focuses on the statistical evaluation of two independent research tools in the field of traffic psychology. Our research focuses on young drivers in the Slovak Republic and conducts an international comparison. At present, these young drivers make up only about 7% of the total number of drivers, but they cause about 20% of accidents. The paper analyzes the traffic accident rate of young as well as inexperienced drivers. All drivers in the survey had a short period of driving experience. The traffic-psychological survey obtained detailed data via two independent tools. We aimed to find relations between the factors and subfactors of the tools used, namely the BIS-11 (Barratt Impulsiveness Scale) and DAQ (Driver Attitude Questionnaire). The researchers also used these tools in other countries, so it was possible to compare the results obtained. The results from these tools should reveal the psychological causes of as many traffic accidents as possible. Our paper shows the possibilities for the evaluation of the tools used with correlation analysis. The results of our research are shown in symmetrical matrixes of correlation coefficients. Our study also compares its values with the results of foreign authors. Such research has revealed some facts about young drivers’ violations connected with drunk driving, speeding, and other traffic offenses. Our aim was to find connections between the driver’s history (skills, traffic accidents, age, etc.) and psychological characteristics, and we have answered several research questions. In conclusion, we have highlighted the most significant relationships between the factors of driver psychology.
... Typically, young-novices tend to rate unmaterialized road hazards and complex situations as less hazardous than experienced road users (Armsby, Boyle, & Wright, 1989;De Craen, 2010;Borowsky & Oron-Gilad, 2013). Some reported that a higher number of lanes and wider roads (Ukkusuri, Miranda-Moreno, Ramadurai, & Isa-Tavarez, 2012) are associated with a higher number of pedestrian crashes. ...
Article
ABSTRACT Understanding the shortcomings of child-pedestrians in evaluating traffic situations may contribute to producing intervention techniques which may increase their awareness to potential hazards as well as inform and inspire designers of autonomous vehicle and infrastructure systems to deal with the complications of crossing pedestrians. The present work examined pedestrians’ hazard-perception (HP) skills in complex traffic scenes. Two experiments explored how pedestrians’ HP abilities vary with age and experience. In the first, adults and youngsters (7–13-year-olds) were presented with pairs of photographs displaying traffic situations and instructed to compare between the hazard levels of the two. Findings revealed a marked trend where experienced-adults tended to rate photographs depicting field of view partially obscured by parked vehicles as more hazardous. Moreover, adults tended to rate photographs depicting vehicles closer to the crossing site as more hazardous. Lastly, adults tended to rate photographs depicting complex configurations like traffic circles, as more hazardous than T-junctions. Findings suggested that youngsters may be highly influenced by cueing. Next, pedestrians’ HP was tested utilizing a crossing decision task. Participants observed traffic scenes presented in a dynamic simulated environment of an urban road from a pedestrian’s perspective and pressed a response button whenever they assumed it was safe to cross. Compared to experienced-adults and 7–8-year-olds, 9–13-year-olds presented a less decisive performance. Compared to previous findings regarding simpler road crossing configurations, most participants, regardless of age, related more to the approaching vehicles and presence of a pedestrian crossing while refraining from addressing the road configuration. Implications for road-safety are discussed.
... Machin & Sankey (2008) investigated the relationship between personality factors, risk perceptions, and driver behaviour of novice drivers; results showed that novice drivers underestimate the risks in many situations. Research also has shown that the crash risk of novice drivers decrease with increased driving experience (Mayhew et al., 2003;de Craen, 2010). According to Groeger (2006), age and inexperience should be associated together to explain the aggressive driver behaviour of young novices as there are indications that the lack of experience is more relevant than the young age. ...
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Unsafe driver behaviour is regarded as the most significant contributory factor in road traffic crashes in Nigeria, and the prevailing road safety culture in the country is one aspect which sustains the high crash rate. This research used a problem-oriented approach with the intention to recommend research-based solutions to road safety problems in Nigeria while considering cultural and environmental factors that provoke different driving styles and behaviours. It aims to identify which, among culture and road environment, has a stronger influence on drivers’ behaviour and how behavioural changes can be achieved. To achieve this, a multi-method approach was adopted in different phases. Phase 1, an exploratory study involved on-road observation of traffic behaviour and conflicts in Nigeria using the Traffic Conflict Technique (TCT). It provided an understanding of the general traffic behaviour of various road users, showed the effect of various factors on conflict severity and helped to identify the most prevalent unsafe behaviours found in this environment. Based on the results of this study, a driving simulator experiment was designed and carried out in Phase 2, comparing the driving style of three groups of drivers in varying road conditions. These were Nigerians with no experience of driving in the United Kingdom (UK), Nigerians with some experience of driving in the UK and UK drivers. The conditions varied depending on how much regulation was provided (low or high infrastructure). A short road safety awareness-raising intervention for Nigerian drivers with no experience of driving in the UK was also evaluated. It was hypothesised that those Nigerian drivers with no experience of driving in a highly regulated UK road system would not be encouraged to adopt a safe driving style. This would have implications for the use of road safety interventions in Nigeria that have been developed outside the Nigerian context. In addition, participants completed the Driving Behaviour Questionnaire (DBQ) to compare reported behaviour and objectively measured driving behaviour in various traffic scenarios (overtaking, lane changing, car following etc.). Since many road safety measures could not evaluated for Nigerian drivers in phase 2, a focus group study was conducted in Phase 3 with the lead road safety agency in Nigeria-the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC). The study investigated the perceived effectiveness and ease of implementation of a wide range of road safety measures on drivers’ behaviour including those that were evaluated in Phase 2 (simple engineering measures and awareness-raising campaigns). Results provided a greater understanding of the road safety situation in Nigeria. Some of the unsafe behaviours identified in Phase 1 are distinct and can only be found in a particular cultural environment like Nigeria because of the traffic conditions and vehicle fleet. Investigating some of these behaviours in Phase 2 and comparing them with the behaviour of drivers from other cultures showed that there were distinct differences in behaviour between all the groups in most of the traffic scenarios. Nigerian drivers with no experience of driving in the UK were more likely to engage in unsafe driving behaviours compared to other groups. Improvements in the roadenvironment did not bring about any significant changes in the behaviour of this group of drivers. However, small changes were observed after the awareness-raising intervention. The results indicate that the behaviour of drivers are interpretable in relation to their traffic safety culture, and are only partly influenced by their driving environment. Specifically, drivers’ traffic safety culture has a greater influence on their behaviour compared to changes in the road environment. Findings from the focus group study in phase 3 revealed that road safety measures such as education and information campaigns are perceived to have the potential to be very effective and easy to implement in Nigeria compared to other measures. The research findings provide an innovative approach to defining the key safety-critical behaviours which are prevalent in Nigeria as well as starting to understand how features of the road environment and/or training could be used to improve the road safety record in Nigeria. It also has implications for the design of road safety interventions in developing countries, particularly with respect to the non-portability of infrastructure measures from developing countries.
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