Human factors in vehicle collisions include all causes that relate to drivers as well as other road users that could contribute to a crash. Examples include visual and auditory acuity, driver behavior, decision-making ability, as well as reaction speed.
A report in 1985 based on American and British crash statistics found intoxication, driver error, and other human causes contribute partly or wholly to about 93 percent of collisions.
An RAC assessment of British drivers revealed that most believed they were more superior than average motorists; a result was revealing overconfidence in their skills. The majority of drivers who’d been in a collision did not consider themselves to be guilty. One study of drivers showed that they found the key fundamentals of good driving were:
• controlling a vehicle as well as a real knowledge of its capabilities and size
• reading and acting in response to road signs and conditions, weather and environment
• alertness, anticipating and understanding other drivers’ behavior.
Although expertise in these abilities is taught and assessed as part of the exam, still, an excellent driver can be in danger of crashing since:
…being confident in increasingly challenging circumstances is experienced as the indication of driving skill, and that proven ability emphasizes the feeling of confidence, which feeds itself and can grow unchecked until something occurs – a motor vehicle accident or a near-miss.
An AXA study concluded that Irish drivers are extremely safety-conscious compared with other European motorists. On the other hand, this doesn’t translate to considerably lower collision rates in the said country.
Accompanying modifications to road projects have been full-scale adoptions of guidelines of the road along with law enforcement rules that included the setting of speed limits, drink-driving laws, as well as speed enforcement systems like speed cameras. Driving tests in some countries have been extended to assess the behavior of a new driver during emergencies, as well as their hazard awareness.
There are demographic variances in collision rates. For instance, although young individuals are likely to have excellent reaction times, strangely more young male drivers are drawn into car accident settlement. Researchers observe that many display attitudes and behaviors at risk, putting them in more dangerous positions than other users of the road.
This is revealed by actuaries who fix insurance rates for various age groups, partially based on their sex, age, and vehicle choice. Older drivers who have slower reactions are likely to be caught up in a bike accident. However, this hasn’t been the situation since they are liable to drive less and, apparently, more carefully. Attempts to execute traffic rules can be made difficult by driver behavior and local circumstances. In 1969, Leeming advised that there’s a sense of balance to be implemented when “improving” a road’s safety.
On the contrary, a location that doesn’t look dangerous could have a high collision frequency. In part, this is if drivers view a situation as dangerous, they pay more attention. Accidents could tend to occur when traffic conditions or hazardous road are not apparent at a single glance, or where the circumstances are too complicated for a human to observe and respond to the distance and time available. High frequency of collision is not the indication of the high injury hazard. Accidents are common in places of high vehicular congestion, but fatal accidents happen strangely on rural roads during nighttime when traffic is quite light.
This occurrence has been perceived in risk compensation study, where the anticipated decreases in accident rates haven’t occurred after technical or legislative changes. One research showed that the introduction of better-quality brakes caused more aggressive and rash driving, and another claimed that required seat belt laws haven’t been accompanied by an evidently attributed reduction in overall death rate. Most risk compensation claims offsetting the regulation vehicle effects and use of belt policies has been disproved by research utilizing more precise information.
In the 90s, studies of Hans Monderman concerning driver behavior brought him to the understanding that regulations and signs had a nasty effect on the ability of a driver to cooperate safely with other drivers or road users. Monderman developed the shared space standard, based on the woonerven principles of the 70s. He stated that the elimination of road clutter while letting drivers, as well as other road users, move around with equal precedence, could aid drivers to distinguish environmental clues. They depended exclusively on their cognitive skills, decreasing traffic speeds completely, and causing lower road casualties and congestion.
Some collisions are intended; for example, staged crashes involve no less than one party who expects to smash a vehicle so as to submit well-paid claims to a coverage company. During the 1990s, in the USA, criminals hired Latin settlers to crash cars purposely, frequently by driving in front of another car and hitting the brakes. It was a risky and illegal job, and these Latinos were usually paid $100 only. Jose Luis Lopez Perez passed away when he staged such maneuver, resulting in a systematic study that revealed the increasing incidence of this kind of collision.