Gender effects in young road users on road safety attitudes, behaviors and risk perception

Pierluigi Cordellieri, Francesca Baralla, Fabio Ferlazzo, Roberto Sgalla, Laura Piccardi, Anna Maria Giannini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present study, we investigated gender-related effects on road safety attitudes in 2681 young drivers (1458 males, 54.4%; aged18-22) who filled out several scales assessing attitudes toward road safety issues, driving behavior in specific hypothetical situations, accident risk perception, and concerns about such a risk. We focused only on young drivers to better understand the role of gender in road safety attitudes in a period of life in which risky behaviors are wide spread for males and females. Indeed, there is still no agreement as to the nature of these gender differences. According to some authors, the effects of gender on being involved in a crash due to driving skills are either non-existent or largely explained by differences in alcohol consumption. In our study, we found gender differences in road safety attitudes (i.e., "negative attitude toward traffic rules and risky driving"; "negative attitude toward drugs and alcohol" and "tolerance toward speeding") and in driver behavior (i.e., "errors in inattentive driving" and "driving violations"). This result is consistent in all drivers coming from nine different European countries. Our analyses yielded an important finding concerning risk perception. The results indicate that the level of risk perception during driving is the same for males and females. However, these two groups differ in the level of concern about this risk, with males being less concerned about the risk of a road accident. This suggests that the main difference between these two groups is not strictly related to judgment of the perceived risk probability but rather to the level of concern experienced about the consequences of the risk. This difference between risk perception and worry could explain differences in the frequency of car accidents in the two groups. The present findings may provide new insights for the development of gender-based prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1412
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - Sep 27 2016


  • Driving behavior
  • Risk perception
  • Sex differences
  • Worry
  • Young drivers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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