Investigating driver willingness to drive through flooded waterways

Accid Anal Prev. 2014 Nov:72:382-90. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2014.07.018. Epub 2014 Aug 14.


Approximately 40% of all drowning deaths involve a motor vehicle. Regardless of its significance as a cause of flood-related mortality, there is continued prevalence of driving through flooded waterways in Australia and worldwide. We aimed to understand the motivational determinates of driving through flooded waterways in low and high-risk scenarios by utilizing an augmented theory of planned behaviour (TPB) with behavioural willingness as the outcome variable as well as the influence of additional predictors; namely perceived risk and past behaviour. Participants (n=174; Mage=27.43, SD=10.76) answered standard TPB-based questions in regards to attitudes, subjective norm, and perceived behavioural control (PBC), as well as additional variables of perceived risk (i.e., perceived susceptibility and perceived severity) and past behaviour. Support was found for the augmented TPB as attitude, subjective norm, and PBC predicted behavioural willingness. Support was also found for perceived severity in the high-risk but not the low-risk scenario. No support was found for perceived susceptibility. Past behaviour emerged as a significant predictor of willingness in the low and high-risk scenario. The findings provide support for an augmented TPB in understanding individuals' willingness to drive through flooded waterways, suggesting that a multi-strategy approach may be critical in attempts to reduce the incidence of such risky driving behaviour.

Keywords: Driving; Flooded waterways; Risk perceptions; Theory of planned behaviour; Willingness.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude*
  • Australia
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Drowning*
  • Female
  • Floods*
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception
  • Psychological Theory
  • Risk
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Young Adult