Age and skill differences in classifying hazardous traffic scenes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Background: Poor hazard perception (HP) abilities correlate with young-inexperienced drivers' over-representation in traffic crashes. HP ability can be examined by the degree of perceived hazard associated with a situation (i.e., how drivers rate{minus 45 degree rule}classify hazardousness). However, this form of evaluation was neglected in favor of measurement of perception-reaction time to perceived hazards. We argue that classification should be re-considered. Method: In two similar studies, drivers with different driving experience completed two consecutive tasks: (1) observation of traffic-scene movies while pressing a response button each time they detected a hazard; and (2) observation of the same movies again and classifying them according to similarities in their hazardous situations. Hypothesis: Young-inexperienced drivers classify the scenes according to similarity in actual hazards whereas more experienced drivers consider potentially hazardous situations in their classification criteria. Results: In both studies young-inexperienced drivers tended to classify the movies according to similarity in their actual hazards whereas experienced drivers relied more on traffic-environment characteristics in their classification. Conclusions: With experience, drivers perceive more potential hazards and relate to traffic-environment characteristics. Implications: HP training programs should emphasize the tight link between traffic environment and specific hazards by including these factors when constructing the hazard perception movies database.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-287
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • Driving experience
  • Driving skill
  • Hazard perception
  • Traffic-environment characteristics
  • Young-inexperienced drivers


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