To decrease the negative consequences of a road crash, even a small reduction in driving speeds can make a significant difference. We examined the possible application of the left-digit effect as a nudge to reduce road speed. In the marketing field, this effect is based on reporting price tags that are characterized by a low leftmost number and a high rightmost number (e.g., a price tag of €14.99 rather than €15.00). We applied the same strategy to improve road safety. Participants were college students (43.75% female, mean age = 24.06 years in Study 1; 50% female, mean age = 23.53 years in Study 2) who were asked to drive in a simulator on a route that had both usual unmodified road signs (e.g., 50 km/h) and the same road signs increased or decreased by one unit (e.g., 49, 51 km/h). We compared the average median speeds in road segments with unmodified road signs with those in road segments with the corresponding modified signs. The average median speeds in the presence of a sign modified by the reduction of 1 km/h were significantly lower compared with the median average speeds recorded with unmodified signs. We showed that the application of psychological insights can reduce driving speeds and therefore increase road safety.

How to nudge drivers to reduce speed: The case of the left-digit effect

Rubaltelli E.
;
Orsini F.;Mulatti C.;Rossi R.;Lotto L.
2021

Abstract

To decrease the negative consequences of a road crash, even a small reduction in driving speeds can make a significant difference. We examined the possible application of the left-digit effect as a nudge to reduce road speed. In the marketing field, this effect is based on reporting price tags that are characterized by a low leftmost number and a high rightmost number (e.g., a price tag of €14.99 rather than €15.00). We applied the same strategy to improve road safety. Participants were college students (43.75% female, mean age = 24.06 years in Study 1; 50% female, mean age = 23.53 years in Study 2) who were asked to drive in a simulator on a route that had both usual unmodified road signs (e.g., 50 km/h) and the same road signs increased or decreased by one unit (e.g., 49, 51 km/h). We compared the average median speeds in road segments with unmodified road signs with those in road segments with the corresponding modified signs. The average median speeds in the presence of a sign modified by the reduction of 1 km/h were significantly lower compared with the median average speeds recorded with unmodified signs. We showed that the application of psychological insights can reduce driving speeds and therefore increase road safety.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3386843
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