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Technical Paper

Factors that Influence Drivers' Response Choice Decisions in Video Recorded Crashes

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.