While inexperience is considered the primary reason why young drivers are over-represented in road crashes, risk taking also plays a major role. Perception of risk differs widely, with some underestimating and others completely over-estimating their chances of being involved in crashes. Unfortunately, if young drivers believe that there is a relatively small chance of being involved in a life changing collision, they are more likely to break rules. These risky behaviours include:
- Excessive speed for the buzz it gives or simply driving too fast for the conditions
- Driving too close to the vehicle ahead
- Carrying passengers
- Drink driving
- Mobile phone use
Not all young drivers have high-risk tendencies though, and a highly pessimistic view that something negative is likely can lead to anxiety and affect driving in a completely different way!
Being more aware of the thought processes, emotions and reactions they make as drivers and reflecting on them, will enable them to correct errors, change behaviours and improve.
Developing individual strategies to improve the skills, knowledge and understanding of the factors that affect how they drive is a must, in order to reduce risky driving behaviours and crashes.