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Socio-Cultural Beliefs and Road Use in a Low Income Country: a Qualitative Investigation of Superstition-Related Road Use Behaviour in Pakistan

Kayani, A, King, M, Fleiter, J (Peer reviewed)


ARSC conference 2016

In developed countries much research has been conducted on human factors (including attitudes, beliefs and perceptions) contributing to road crashes. Less progress has been made in understanding and addressing human factors contributing to crashes in developing countries. In Pakistan, there are strong worldviews that foster diverse beliefs about crash causes and ways of avoiding them. Sociocultural beliefs (traditions, customs and religion) impede efforts by developing countries to cope with the pace of modernisation and rapid motorisation. Therefore, to address gaps in our current knowledge about these issues, the current study sought to investigate driver perceptions, attitudes and beliefs towards road crashes and explored how they are linked to road user behaviour. A qualitative study involving 30 in-depth interviews identified superstitious road use behaviours interconnected with religious and superstitious beliefs, and low public credibility of evidence-based explanations. Moving towards the uptake of evidence-based protective behaviours is therefore a challenging, though desirable, task.