Factors that Influence Drivers' Response Choice Decisions in Video Recorded Crashes 2005-01-0426
Video recordings of real life traffic crashes and near crashes were analysed for driver response choice. These responses were compared to problem solving theories.
In emergency situations drivers were likely to make relatively quick decisions. By allocating limited time to the decision, an algorithmic approach (that considers the probabilities of all options) is not possible in most cases. Instead a driver will decide upon a response using an intuitive (heuristic) approach. Intuitive decision-making is quicker and rule-of-thumb based but has predictable limitations.
Drivers exhibited functional fixedness in that they did not select a “lesser” collision and nearly 40% of horn use was for chastising other drivers rather than for avoidance. Drivers exhibited difference reduction in that they were more likely to steer away from hazards. Also, drivers exhibited operant conditioning in that as the complexity of the situation increased, the likelihood of braking as a response increased as well. Therefore, this research shows that drivers' decisions were governed by intuition and that drivers will not likely consider all possible alternatives in the short time available in an emergency situation.
The results of this research were compared to previous research. Applications in forensic settings, for driver education, and as a baseline when evaluating driver choice for Intelligent Transportation Systems purposes is addressed.