S.A. Whetsel Borzendowski, R.A. Tyrrell, A.A. Stafford Sewall, T.W. Britt, P.J. Rosopa
This study applied the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) to predict drivers’ high beam usage. Previous research has demonstrated that drivers typically underuse their high beam headlamps at night, thus unnecessarily limiting their ability to see hazards ahead. The present study used the TPB as a framework to better understand drivers’ high beam usage. High beam usage rates were measured from drivers as they drove their own vehicles on an open-road residential route at night. In addition, a questionnaire assessing TPB constructs was used to determine the extent to which each construct predicted drivers’ high beam usage. The TPB components accounted for 38% of the variance in rates of high beam use, with behavioral intentions and previous behavior patterns the best predictors. These results offer insight into factors that influence drivers’ typical high beam usage, and suggest that high beam usage is more habitual than it is an intentional decision. Future research should explore the application of this knowledge to educational interventions designed to establish and maintain more appropriate high beam usage habits. This will be particularly valuable for educating drivers about the benefits of developing technologies such as adaptive headlights.
Keywords: night driving; high beam headlamps; young drivers; open-road study; Theory of Planned Behavior