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Objective and perceived risk in overtaking: The impact of driving context

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journal contribution
posted on 05.07.2021, 09:31 authored by Anna-Maria Sourelli, Ruth WelshRuth Welsh, Pete Thomas
The assistance and autonomous performance of overtaking manoeuvres can offer significant safety benefits. The impact of driving context on perceived risk emphasises the benefits of using contextual information to adjust the manoeuvring behaviour. This paper follows a mixed approach, addressing two main objectives: identifying factor combinations related to overtaking crashes (objective risk) and exploring their relationship to perceived risk. Factor combinations were extracted from a multi-year dataset, acquired from the UK in-depth study RAIDS (Road Accident In-depth Studies). Selected factors were used to create motorway overtaking scenarios with different manoeuvring behaviour (pull-out distance, manoeuvre duration, speed) and driving context (day/night, overtaking car/truck), while 237 participants assessed their impact on perceived risk through an online survey. The findings highlight the strong impact of manoeuvre characteristics on perceived risk, mediated or intensified by the driving context. Long pull-out distance and short manoeuvre duration time were preferred; under night conditions, short pull-out distances were perceived as riskier compared to daytime, while the opposite effect appeared for high speed, which was considered safer. The results can inform future research on motorway overtaking safety perception and acceptability, as well as the design of systems that assist or autonomously perform overtaking. Specifically, they can be used as guidelines for incorporating context related information to adjust overtaking behaviour according to user preferences and create a positive passenger experience.


This research is part of an ongoing PhD project supported by Loughborough University.



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Published in

Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour




190 - 200


Elsevier BV


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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© Elsevier

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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour and the definitive published version is available at

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Anna-Maria Sourelli. Deposit date: 4 July 2021