Individual and group differences in driving behaviour

  • Lisa Dorn

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Road traffic accident involvement rates show that younger males are over represented in accidents. A number of studies have shown individual differences in accident involvement. Questionnaire-based methods to investigate individual and group differences in driver stress and risk perceptions reported in chapter 2 and 3 revealed that neuroticism was associated with; heightened perception of personal risk, driver stress, and inefficient coping strategies. Younger drivers and female drivers reported higher levels of stress. Young male drivers assessed their personal risk and driving abilities less realistically than did other age and sex groups. Driving simulator-based methods reported in chapter 4 revealed that young drivers and male drivers; drive faster, overtake more often, and commit more `high risk' overtakes than do other age and sex groups. Middle-aged and elderly drivers were poorer at maintaining a fixed distance from a lead `vehicle'. Older drivers adopt a slower, more cautious driving style, but appear to be worse at controlling distance from a `lead' vehicle. Results are consistent with individual and group differences in accident involvement rates. Findings are discussed with reference to the implementation of driver education programs to reduce stress, the adoption of more realistic perceptions of risk among younger drivers, and the training of compensation strategies to counteract age-related changes in older drivers.
Date of Award1992
Original languageEnglish


  • Individual differences
  • group differences
  • driving behaviour

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