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Risk and safety perception on urban and rural roads: Effects of environmental features, driver age and risk sensitivity

Cox, Jolene; Beanland, Vanessa; Filtness, Ashleigh

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Objective: The ability to detect changing visual information is a vital component of safe driving. In addition to detecting changing visual information, drivers must also interpret its relevance to safety. Environmental changes considered to have high safety relevance will likely demand greater attention and more timely responses than those considered to have lower safety relevance. The aim of this study was to explore factors that are likely to influence perceptions of risk and safety...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorCox, Jolene
dc.contributor.authorBeanland, Vanessa
dc.contributor.authorFiltness, Ashleigh
dc.date.accessioned2020-01-20T01:09:13Z
dc.identifier.citationJolene A. Cox, Vanessa Beanland & Ashleigh J. Filtness (2017) Risk and safety perception on urban and rural roads: Effects of environmental features, driver age and risk sensitivity, Traffic Injury Prevention, 18:7, 703-710, DOI: 10.1080/15389588.2017.1296956
dc.identifier.issn1538-9588
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/198541
dc.description.abstractObjective: The ability to detect changing visual information is a vital component of safe driving. In addition to detecting changing visual information, drivers must also interpret its relevance to safety. Environmental changes considered to have high safety relevance will likely demand greater attention and more timely responses than those considered to have lower safety relevance. The aim of this study was to explore factors that are likely to influence perceptions of risk and safety regarding changing visual information in the driving environment. Factors explored were the environment in which the change occurs (i.e., urban vs. rural), the type of object that changes, and the driver’s age, experience, and risk sensitivity. Methods: Sixty three licensed drivers aged 18–70 years completed a hazard rating task, which required them to rate the perceived hazardousness of changing specific elements within urban and rural driving environments. Three attributes of potential hazards were systematically manipulated: the environment (urban, rural); the type of object changed (road sign, car, motorcycle, pedestrian, traffic light, animal, tree); and its inherent safety risk (low risk, high risk). Inherent safety risk was manipulated by either varying the object’s placement, on/near or away from the road, or altering an infrastructure element that would require a change to driver behavior. Participants also completed two driving-related risk perception tasks, rating their relative crash risk and perceived risk of aberrant driving behaviors. Results: Driver age was not significantly associated with hazard ratings, but individual differences in perceived risk of aberrant driving behaviors predicted hazard ratings, suggesting that general driving-related risk sensitivity plays a strong role in safety perception. In both urban and rural scenes, there were significant associations between hazard ratings and inherent safety risk, with low-risk changes perceived as consistently less hazardous than high-risk impact changes; however, the effect was larger for urban environments. There were also effects of object type, with certain objects rated as consistently more safety relevant. In urban scenes, changes involving pedestrians were rated significantly more hazardous than all other objects, and in rural scenes, changes involving animals were rated as significantly more hazardous. Notably, hazard ratings were found to be higher in urban compared with rural driving environments, even when changes were matched between environments. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that drivers perceive rural roads as less risky than urban roads, even when similar scenarios occur in both environments. Age did not affect hazard ratings. Instead, the findings suggest that the assessment of risk posed by hazards is influenced more by individual differences in risk sensitivity. This highlights the need for driver education to account for appraisal of hazards’ risk and relevance, in addition to hazard detection, when considering factors that promote road safety
dc.description.sponsorshipThis research was supported by a grant from the NRMA-ACT Road Safety Trust. Vanessa Beanland is supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DE150100083).
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherTaylor & Francis Group
dc.rights© 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
dc.sourceTraffic Injury Prevention
dc.subjectRisk perception
dc.subjectrisk sensitivity
dc.subjectsafety perception
dc.subjectrural roads
dc.subjecturban roads
dc.titleRisk and safety perception on urban and rural roads: Effects of environmental features, driver age and risk sensitivity
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume18
dcterms.dateAccepted2017-02-15
dc.date.issued2017-05-11
local.identifier.absfor170112 - Sensory Processes, Perception and Performance
local.identifier.ariespublicationa383154xPUB7034
local.publisher.urlhttps://www.tandfonline.com
local.type.statusAccepted Version
local.contributor.affiliationCox, Jolene, College of Health and Medicine, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationBeanland, Vanessa, University of Sunshine Coast
local.contributor.affiliationFiltness, Ashleigh, Queensland University of Technology
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DE150100083
local.bibliographicCitation.issue7
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage703
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage710
local.identifier.doi10.1080/15389588.2017.1296956
local.identifier.absseo970117 - Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
dc.date.updated2019-11-25T07:22:20Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-85019206202
local.identifier.thomsonID000407255900005
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access
dc.provenancehttp://sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/issn/1538-9588/..."author can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing) On institutional repository, subject-based repository or academic social network (Mendeley, ResearchGate or Academia.edu) after 12 months embargo" from SHERPA/RoMEO site (as at 23.1.20)
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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