ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Driver-Vehicle Interactions in 4WDs: A Theoretical Review

King, Mark J., Smyth, T. (Peer reviewed)

Driver Psychology / Human Factors


With the escalating number of four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles present on Australian roads, it is becoming increasingly important to understand the factors contributing to 4WD crashes. While 4WDs and other cars often differ in their performance characteristics, it is also possible that there are differences in driver-vehicle interactions which go beyond performance characteristics and relate more to social and personal perceptions. This paper reviews the theoretical approaches and concepts that may be used to understand the relationship between drivers and vehicles. It is noted that in recent sociological and psychological literature the conceptualization of driving has varied across multiple theoretical approaches. Driving has been constructed as a set of social practices, embodied dispositions, cybernetic associations and physical affordances, while other approaches have viewed the vehicle as a territory (Costall, 1995; Dant, 2004; Fraine, 2003; Sheller, 2004). This review will discuss how these constructs may be applied to 4WD driver behaviour. Further, it will provide suggestions for methodology for future studies that aim to enhance knowledge of 4WD driver behaviour and the factors which contribute to 4WD crashes.