Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About usNews and EventsNews articles

Testing models of driver behaviour

08 October 2012

PhD ceremony: Mr. B. Lewis Evans, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Testing models of driver behaviour

Promotor(s): prof. K.A. Brookhuis

Faculty: Behavioural and Social Sciences

Everyone has an opinion on why drivers behave the way they do and even within Traffic Psychology, a field aimed at addressing this issue, the models and theories that seek to explain this issue are widespread, diverse, and often contradictory. Often these models only appear once in the literature and even those that are more established have not been well empirically tested. My PhD Thesis is an attempt to begin to rectify this by testing the core assumptions of several of the leading models of driver behaviour. Specifically constant monitoring theories such as Task Difficulty Homeostasis Theory, Risk Allostasis Theory, and the Risk Monitor Model were compared against threshold reaction theories such as Zero-Risk Theory and the Multiple Comfort Zone Model were examined.

The results of my thesis challenge the idea that drivers are purposeful risk takers and constant risk assessors. Rather drivers appear to be creatures of habit, often driving in a relatively automatic fashion, including sometimes unknowingly breaking road rules and perhaps even being influenced by emotions they do not even know they are having. In short, it appears that learning to drive is learning not to fear and that to paraphrase Wagenaar (1992) people run risks, but they do not often take nor feel them. Ultimately, that drivers are not always, or even often, deliberate risk takers challenges often predominant culture of blame in traffic safety circles and invites a move to a more systematic and complex system approach to road safety issues.

See also the press release 'Hidden images can affect your driving speed'

Last modified:15 September 2017 3.41 p.m.
printView this page in: Nederlands

More news

  • 13 August 2019

    Eat, sleep, recycle

    The 51st edition of KEI week is devoted to the theme of sustainability. On Monday 12 August, around 6,000 KEI participants and KEI leaders were handed cloth bags instead of plastic ones and a KEI wristband with a chip enabling digital payments. A vegetarian...

  • 12 August 2019

    Cold winters not caused by Arctic climate change

    Recent studies into the relationship between decreases in sea ice in the Arctic and ice-cold winters in the mid-latitudes, like the Polar Vortex cold waves in North America, seem to suggest that such a connection does indeed exist. However, the mechanisms...

  • 30 July 2019

    The University of Noorderzon

    Thursday 15 August marks the start of the 10-day Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival, held in our beautiful Noorderplantsoen park. Young and old will return home from the festivities slightly smarter than they were before, thanks to the ‘University...