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Identifying hazard mitigation behaviors that lead to differences in the crash risk between experienced and novice drivers

Jeffrey W Muttart, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The three most common crash types for drivers under age 18 are run-off-the-road crashes, left turn at intersection crashes, and rear end crashes. Previous literature points to novice drivers being less likely to anticipate hazards or maintain attention to the forward roadway and as a result failing to mitigate hazards by slowing adequately. In two experiments using a fixed-based high fidelity driving simulator, two groups of drivers were evaluated in potential hazard scenarios. Anticipatory glances, slowing behaviors, and lane position of experienced drivers with exemplary records and newly licensed 16 – 18 year old drivers were compared at the two curves, two intersections, and two straight segments that were most heterogeneous relative to tasks and risk of all those negotiated. In Experiment 1, experienced drivers were significantly more likely to make anticipatory (glance), and mitigation (slowing and lane keeping) responses when approaching locations of greatest risk. Experienced drivers crashed nine times and novice drivers crashed 23 times. Overall, experienced drivers began to slow approximately eight seconds before the incidents, slowed to target speed when within three seconds of the incident and selected safer lane positions than did novice drivers. In Experiment 2, the ACT (Anticipate, Control, and Terminate) computer program was developed and utilized to train one group of novice drivers. The other group received placebo training. The ACT Program was designed to teach novice drivers to slow for HRECCS (pronounced wrecks). HRECCS is an acronym that explains the reasons a driver should slow (hidden obstacles, roadside hazards, no escape route, closing with no option to pass, curves, and traffic signals). Each participant completed a pre-test, training, saw the responses made by the experienced drivers, was offered mediated training (shown their mistakes and correct responses), and finally, completed a posttest. Placebo trained drivers had the same routine but rather than rules training and mediation, they received training related to street signs. ACT trained drivers made many more anticipatory glances, slowed to target speed more often and selected safer lane positions than did the placebo trained drivers. ACT trained drivers crashed eight times compared to 22 for the placebo trained drivers.

Subject Area

Industrial engineering|Public health

Recommended Citation

Muttart, Jeffrey W, "Identifying hazard mitigation behaviors that lead to differences in the crash risk between experienced and novice drivers" (2013). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3589108.