Keywords: driver emotions, risk perception, vulnerability perception, safety distance, self-efficacy, tunnels, psychosocial factors, hostile environments, tunnel driving, driving risks, road infrastructure, human factors, tunnel accidents, risk behaviour, Spain
Psychosocial factors, perceived risk and driving in a hostile environment: driving through tunnels
A large part of the research on risk in driving has been related to the consumption of alcohol and other substances. However, few studies have analysed risk behaviour in relation to road infrastructure. It took the dramatic accident in the Mont Blanc tunnel to highlight the lack of knowledge about the human factor involved in tunnel accidents and about the factors affecting emergency situations in such settings. This study compares drivers' perceptions and emotions in relation to driving in tunnels with those provoked by driving on normal roads in the open-air. Furthermore, we explore the factors relevant to risk perception and risk behaviour in tunnels. A total of 458 drivers from Madrid (Spain) responded to a questionnaire on these aspects. The results indicate that tunnels provoke unpleasant feelings and greater perception of risk than roads open to the sky. In spite of these feelings and perceptions, participants drive riskily in tunnels. In this study, we analyse the factors related to perception of risk and driving in tunnels.