SOCIAL AND INTERPERSONAL FACTORS IN DRIVING

Psychological investigations of driver behavior have traditionally adopted a systems approach emphasizing driving in terms of information processing and skilled performance. Very few investigators have studied the driver in a social context, even though much behavior on the road involves interactions with other people. In this study interviews were conducted with a random sample of 202 road users. Using both quantitative and qualitative techniques, to determine reactions to a number of common driving situations (e.g. near collisions). Behavior of other drivers was seen as a major cause of potential danger in traffic, and psychological reactions while driving appeared to be markedly affected by the behavior of other road users. Drivers continually imputed motives, opinions, and values to other drivers on the basis of visible characteristics not directly related to driving skill; furthermore, many of the traits identified as characterizing dangerous driving referred to qualities of an interpersonal nature, including age, sex and apppearance. These results suggest that driving performance is not based solely on the practical, physical attributes of the driving situation, but also involves a social psychological process in which reactions stem from motives and attitudes that are inferred to exist in other drivers. This has both theoretical and practical consequences, and it is probable that driver education and remedial treatment programs for defective drivers could benefit from the insights of social psychological theory as an aid to understanding the process. /Author/SRIS/

Media Info

  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: n.p.
  • Serial:
    • Volume: 2

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00190146
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Safety Council Safety Research Info Serv
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 26 1979 12:00AM