ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Explicit and Implicit Processes in Behavioural Adaptation to Road Width

Charlton, Samuel, Lewis-Evans, Ben

Driver Psychology / Human Factors


The finding that drivers may react to safety interventions in a way that is contrary to what was intended is the phenomenon of behavioural adaptation. This phenomenon has been demonstrated across various safety interventions and has serious implications for road safety programs the world over. The present research used a driving simulator to assess behavioural adaptation in drivers? speed and lateral displacement in response to manipulations of road width. Of interest was whether behavioural adaptation would occur and whether we could determine whether it was the result of explicit, conscious decisions or implicit perceptual processes. The results supported an implicit, zero perceived risk model of behavioural adaptation with reduced speeds on a narrowed road accompanied by increased ratings of risk and a marked inability of the participants to identify that any change in road width had occurred.