Exploring the effects of driving experience on hazard awareness and risk perception via real-time hazard identification, hazard classification, and rating tasks. Academic Article uri icon


  • This study investigated the effects of driving experience on hazard awareness and risk perception skills. These topics have previously been investigated separately, yet a novel approach is suggested where hazard awareness and risk perception are examined concurrently. Young, newly qualified drivers, experienced drivers, and a group of commercial drivers, namely, taxi drivers performed three consecutive tasks: (1) observed 10 short movies of real-world driving situations and were asked to press a button each time they identified a hazardous situation; (2) observed one of three possible sub-sets of 8 movies (out of the 10 they have seen earlier) for the second time, and were asked to categorize them into an arbitrary number of clusters according to the similarity in their hazardous situation; and (3) observed the same sub-set for a third time and following each movie were asked to rate its level of hazardousness. The first task is considered a real-time identification task while the other two are performed using hindsight. During it participants’ eye movements were recorded. Results showed that taxi drivers were more sensitive to hidden hazards than the other driver groups and that young-novices were the least sensitive. Young-novice drivers also relied heavily on materialized hazards in their categorization structure. In addition, it emerged that risk perception was derived from two major components: the likelihood of a crash and the severity of its outcome. Yet, the outcome was rarely considered under time pressure (i.e., in real-time hazard identification tasks). Using hindsight, when drivers were provided with the opportunity to rate the movies’ hazardousness more freely (rating task) they considered both components. Otherwise, in the categorization task, they usually chose the severity of the crash outcome as their dominant criterion. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013