Reducing optimism bias in the driver’s seat: comparing two interventions

Clara Cutello, Clare Walsh, Yaniv Hanoch, Elizabeth Hellier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Optimism bias combined with sensation-seeking and risky driving have been proposed to be the main contributing factors to young drivers’ involvement in road traffic collisions. The present study aimed to evaluate how two brief interventions, one based on an unambiguous definition of “good” driving and the other on a hazard perception test, might reduce young drivers’ optimism bias. One hundred and twenty-eight university students were randomly allocated to one of three groups: standard definition, hazard perception or control. Measures evaluating optimism bias were completed before and after the intervention, and questions regarding their sensation-seeking and past risk-taking tendencies were asked at follow-up. Both brief interventions reduced optimism bias levels, but hazard perception had the strongest effect. The effectiveness of the two interventions also differed across individuals depending on their sensation-seeking and past risky driving tendencies. The results provide evidence for the effectiveness of brief interventions to reduce optimism bias.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-217
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Early online date8 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Hazard perception
  • Optimism bias
  • Risky-driving behaviours
  • Road safety
  • Young drivers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Applied Psychology
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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