chapter  3
11 Pages

Driving, Risk and Youth

WithGraham Hole

Explanations of how people assess the riskiness of their driving have been largely dominated by the idea of "risk compensation". It is suggested that drivers adjust their behaviour to maintain a certain preferred level of risk. The most compelling evidence against Risk Homoeostasis Theory comes from psychological studies of decision-making. Accident statistics show that the risk of an accident varies depending on the driver's age and gender. Younger drivers are most at risk, especially if they are male. The obvious reason is that young drivers have only limited driving experience. One problem is that young drivers' vehicle control skills develop faster than their hazard perception abilities. One reason for drivers having a distorted idea of their own abilities is that after passing their test, they rarely get any independent evaluation of their driving. Australian psychologists Bridie Scott-Parker, Mark King and Barry Watson suggest that young drivers often drive merely for "psychosocial" reasons rather than to get to a particular destination.