Concept

Risk compensation

Summary
Risk compensation is a theory which suggests that people typically adjust their behavior in response to perceived levels of risk, becoming more careful where they sense greater risk and less careful if they feel more protected. Although usually small in comparison to the fundamental benefits of safety interventions, it may result in a lower net benefit than expected or even higher risks. By way of example, it has been observed that motorists drove closer to the vehicle in front when the vehicles were fitted with anti-lock brakes. There is also evidence that the risk compensation phenomenon could explain the failure of condom distribution programs to reverse HIV prevalence and that condoms may foster disinhibition, with people engaging in risky sex both with and without condoms. By contrast, shared space is an urban street design method which consciously aims to increase the level of perceived risk and uncertainty, thereby slowing traffic and reducing the number and seriousness of
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