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Are novice drivers overconfident?: A comparison of self-assessed and examiner-assessed driver competences in a Finnish and a Swedish sample.
Finnish Vehicle Administration, PL 120, 00101 Helsinki, Finland.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Educational Measurement.
Finnish Vehicle Administration, PL 120, 00101 Helsinki, Finland.
Finnish Vehicle Administration, PL 120, 00101 Helsinki, Finland.
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2009 (English)In: Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, ISSN 1369-8478, Vol. 12, no 1, 120-130 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Studies of subjective driving skill have usually assessed perceived driving skill in relation to the skills of the average driver. In order to examine whether novice drivers are overconfident with respect to their actual skills, a different method was used in the present study, where specific aspects of perceived driver competence were compared with assessments made by a driver examiner. A Finnish (n = 2847) and a Swedish (n = 805) sample of driving test candidates completed self-assessments and took a practical driving test; the instruments differed between the countries. The results indicated that about 50 percent of the Finnish and between 25 and 35 percent of the Swedish candidates made realistic assessments of their competence in the areas Vehicle manoeuvring, Economical driving and Traffic safety. The proportion of those who overestimated their competence was greater among the Swedish candidates than the Finnish candidates. This might be explained by greater possibilities of practicing self-assessment in the Finnish driver education. Furthermore, the results indicate that males are not overconfident to a greater extent than females. In conclusion, when perceived competence is related to actual competence instead of the skills of the average driver, the majority of drivers are no longer found to overestimate their skills.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier B.V. , 2009. Vol. 12, no 1, 120-130 p.
Keyword [en]
Self-assessment, driver competence, driving test, overconfidence, GDE-model
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-23144DOI: 10.1016/j.trf.2008.09.002OAI: diva2:220515
Available from: 2009-06-01 Created: 2009-06-01 Last updated: 2009-10-30
In thesis
1. Developing and validating self-report instruments: assessing perceived driver competence
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Developing and validating self-report instruments: assessing perceived driver competence
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis was to develop and validate a self-report instrument for perceived driver competence. The thesis includes six papers and a summary. All papers focus on perceived driver competence from a measurement perspective; that is, how to develop an instrument for perceived driver competence and how to use and interpret the scores from the instrument in a reliable and valid manner.

Study I reviews how perceived driver competence has been measured in other studies and discusses these methods from a measurement perspective. Most studies have examined perceived driver competence by asking drivers to compare their own skill to that of the average driver. That method is problematic, since it is not possible to determine if drivers are overconfident or not, when empirical information of their own skills is missing. In order to examine if drivers overestimate their skills or not, perceived driver competence should be compared with actual driving performance.

Study II reports on the development and psychometric evaluation of a self-report instrument for perceived driver competence - the Self-Efficacy Scale for Driver Competence (SSDC). The findings provides support for construct validity, as the SSDC demonstrated sound psychometric properties and as the internal structure of the SSDC corresponded to the theoretical model used as a basis for instrument development.

In study III, the psychometric properties of the SSDC were further examined using an item response theory (IRT) model. The findings confirmed the results indicated by the classical analyses in Study II. Additional information was provided by the IRT analyses, as it was indicated that the scale would benefit from fewer scale points or by putting labels on each scale point.

In study IV, Swedish and Finnish candidates’ self-assessment accuracy was examined by comparing candidates’ scores on the SSDC and a similar instrument for self-assessment of driving skill used in Finland, with driving test performance. Unlike previous studies, in which drivers compared their perceived skills to that of the average driver, a relatively large proportion made a realistic assessment of their own skills. In addition, in contrast to previous studies, no gender differences were found. These results were also confirmed in study V, where the results from the Finnish instrument for self-assessment of driving skill were compared with the results from a similar instrument used in the Netherlands.

Study VI further examined the construct validity of a revised version of the SSDC, combining qualitative and quantitative sources of evidence. There was a strong relationship between the SSDC and an instrument for self-assessment of driving skills, providing support for convergent validity. No relationship was found between the SSDC and driving test performance. Explanations of the lack of relationship were provided from semi-structured interviews, as they indicated that confidence in performing different tasks in the test are different from being confident of passing the test, and that the candidates are familiar neither with assessing their own skills nor with the requirements for passing the test.

In conclusion, the results from this thesis indicated that the choice of methods for assessing perceived driver competence as well as the quality of these methods affect the validity. The results provided support for different aspects of construct validity of the SSDC. Moreover, the findings illustrated the benefits of combining different methods in test validation, as each method contributed information about the validity of the SSDC. The studies in this thesis mainly examined internal and external aspects of construct validity. Future studies should examine procedural validity of the SSDC.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Department of Educational Measurement, Umeå university, 2009. 62 p.
Academic dissertations at the department of Educational Measurement, ISSN 1652-9650 ; 5
Test construction, test validity, measurement, drivers, self-confidence
National Category
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-26764 (URN)978-91-7264-858-6 (ISBN)
Beteendevetenskapliga mätningar, 90187, Umeå
Public defence
2009-11-20, Hörsal 1031 Norra beteendevetarhuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2009-10-30 Created: 2009-10-26 Last updated: 2014-03-10Bibliographically approved

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