Conscientious, Responsible People May Be More Prone to Distracted Driving


Upset driver After Traffic Accident

Everyone has that friend who’s out to take over the world. They’re driven, extroverted, and open to new experiences. And while you might deem this pal your “responsible” friend, new research suggests that extroverted drivers are more likely to be a higher risk on the road.

According to Teen Vogue, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Translational Research for Injury Prevention (TRIP) Laboratory found that people with specific personality traits are more likely to be distracted drivers.

“Others in the field have hypothesized that personality traits may have some impact on distracted driving practices; but no one had taken the next step, which was to test that theory,” Despina Stavrinos, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology in UAB’s College of Arts and Sciences, said in a statement. “Before going into the study, common sense and other related research told us that there would likely be some kind of link between the traits and behaviors — we just didn’t know exactly how one would dictate the other.”

Despina and her team went on to use the Costa’s Big Five questionnaire to determine the personality types of the study participants. The questionnaire looks at where a person falls on a personality spectrum when it comes to five specific traits: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

The researchers ultimately chose 120 participants from age groups that are most at risk for distracted driving: teens between the ages of 16 and 19 and adults ages 65 to 85. It is also worth noting that the Millennial generation will also account for 75% of all vehicles purchased by 2025.

Then, the 120 participants completed a questionnaire that examined the frequency of distracted driving behaviors as well as the frequency of these behaviors within a two-week period.

Ultimately, the researchers found that extroverts were more likely to commit distracted driving, but they also found that conscientious individuals were too more likely to engage in risky behaviors. Conscientious individuals are also known to be organized, dependable, and sometimes even obsessive, the study found.

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