Objective: Research has shown that perceived risk is a vital variable in the understanding of road traffic safety. Having experience in a particular traffic environment can be expected to affect perceived risk. More specifically, drivers may readily recognize traffic hazards when driving in their own world region, resulting in high perceived risk (the expertise hypothesis). Oppositely, drivers may be desensitized to traffic hazards that are common in their own world region, resulting in low perceived risk (the desensitization hypothesis). This study investigated whether participants experienced higher or lower perceived risk for traffic situations from their region compared to traffic situations from other regions. Methods: In a crowdsourcing experiment, participants viewed dashcam videos from four regions: India, Venezuela, United States, and Western Europe. Participants had to press a key when they felt the situation was risky. Results: Data were obtained from 800 participants, with 52 participants from India, 75 from Venezuela, 79 from the United States, 32 from Western Europe, and 562 from other countries. The results provide support for the desensitization hypothesis. For example, participants from India perceived low risk for hazards (e.g., a stationary car on the highway) that were perceived as risky by participants from other regions. At the same time, support for the expertise hypothesis was obtained, as participants in some cases detected hazards that were specific to their own region (e.g., participants from Venezuela detected inconspicuous roadworks in a Venezuelan city better than did participants from other regions). Conclusion: We found support for the desensitization hypothesis and the expertise hypothesis. These findings have implications for cross-cultural hazard perception research.
- hazard perception
- perceived risk
- risk desensitization
- road safety
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Supplementary data for the paper: Risk perception - A study using dashcam videos and participants from different world regions.