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Novice drivers and the driving course

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Geo-spatial type
Network corridors
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues,
Transport sectors
Passenger transport


Background & Policy context

The over-representation in serious crashes of young, novice drivers indicates that novices have been insufficiently prepared for traffic participation. This is especially so for learning higher order skills, such as danger recognition. This mainly concerns the novice's capability of controlling these dangerous situations. Research has shown that novices are very optimistic about their skills of coping with them, and that they count on their vehicle skills making them able to avoid crashes. They underestimate the complexity of traffic situations. They are conspicuous in traffic, in the sense that they use small safety margins by: driving fast, keeping short headways, approaching quickly, etc. The combination of overestimating oneself and underestimating the complexity of the driving task (called miscalibration in this project) forms the basis of their behaviour choices. This results in a disproportionately high crash involvement. The goal of the project is to test methods that can influence this self-overestimation.


The study of the development of higher order skills and the determination of the influencing possibilities is a relatively new area. An important part is the development of valid and reliable instruments to measure the higher order skills of (novice) motorists.

The ultimate goal is to make recommendations for the driving course or any additional/other type of training or feedback to young motorists.


The project consists of three parts, which run partly parallel.


First, the possibilities of intervention to influence (mis)calibration are examined by means of an evaluation of a one-day course. This course is offered to c. 200 novice drivers (with a control group of c. 100) within the framework of the European NOV-VE study.


The second part investigates how the calibration develops during the learning process. To do this, a large number (c. 700) of novice drivers will be followed for about three years in their development as driver. During this period, they will be frequently asked about their experiences and the self-estimation of their competences as car driver.


The third part is aimed at a scientific founding of the calibration phenomenon and the possibilities of measuring this in a valid way. It consists of a controlled study of features of calibration, using a driving/research simulator. Parts of this project will form the basis of a PhD dissertation.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Research agency
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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