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Does increased confidence among novice drivers imply a decrease in safety? The effects of skid training on slippery road accidents.

Katila A, et al. Accid Anal Prev. 2004.

Abstract

Finnish driver training was renewed in 1990 with the inclusion of a compulsory skid training course in the curriculum. The study evaluated the renewal's effect on accidents in slippery road conditions. A questionnaire was sent by mail to 41000 novice drivers who were randomly selected from the official register of driving licences. It included questions on driving exposure and the accidents the drivers had been involved in during 6-18 months following licensing. The rate of return was 74.7%. Half of the drivers had received their licence in 1989 and had, therefore, not received any skid training. The other half had received their licence in 1990 after the introduction of the skid training course. The results showed no effects of the renewal on slippery road accidents for either male or female drivers. Another questionnaire was sent to 1300 old and new curriculum drivers immediately after licensing and a second time 1/2-1 year later, both with questions about skills, worries and perceived risks regarding driving in slippery conditions. The new curriculum drivers showed higher confidence in their skills and they were less afraid to drive in slippery conditions than the old curriculum drivers. This increase in confidence as a result of skid training is discussed. It is argued that high confidence in one's personal skills does not necessarily imply negative safety. The crucial factor is how these skills are used, and for what purpose.

PMID

15094406 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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