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TitleRoad courtesy and road safety
AuthorsHutchinson TP
AbstractThe main sections of this report deal with (a) speed, anger and aggression, and young drivers, (b) aspects of courtesy relevant to driving, and (c) campaigns. Courtesy refers both to behaviours (the presence of some and the absence of others) and to the attitudes and habits of mind that accompany behaviours. As behaviour, courtesy is mostly safe but sometimes not (when it is in conflict with the conventions of driving). As an attitude --- thinking about possible actions of other road users and adjusting one’s own behaviour, and avoiding any aggressiveness in one’s driving --- courtesy certainly should be encouraged. This is quite a complex and conditional message. Complex messages are unlikely to have much effect. Thus the present report does not recommend putting road courtesy at the centre of a road safety campaign. It might, however, be an appropriate component of a broader campaign: if some behaviour were being promoted on grounds of safety, courtesy or consideration for others could be given as a reason (that might carry weight with some audiences). Substantial advances have been made in the study of topics within social psychology that are relevant to driving: personality, attitudes, social norms, behaviours, aggression, habit formation and maintenance, and so on. There may soon be successful applications in applied fields such as driver safety. However, there is already evidence that some attitudes and behaviours of young drivers --- anger, aggression, desire to speed (that is, the opposite of courtesy) --- are treatable by psychotherapy.
Report NumberCASR044
PublisherCentre for Automotive Safety Research
Publisher CityAdelaide
SponsorMotor Accident Commission
Page Count21

Hutchinson TP (2008). Road courtesy and road safety (CASR044). Adelaide: Centre for Automotive Safety Research.

Files Available for Download
CASR044.pdfReport in PDF format as published