Conference Proceeding

Some Negative Effects of Warnings

  • S David Leonard (University of Georgia, Athens)


Warnings provide important information about hazards that may be encountered by individuals exposed to them. Some warnings may not be effective because they are not interpreted correctly, require people to perform unrealistic activities, are not recognized, or are ignored because they have lost their attentiongetting capabilities. A common occurrence in the USA, and perhaps other countries as well, is the use of signs to warn of work being performed on the roadway ahead. Often such signs are not removed after the work has been done. Consequently, drivers who have had the experience of seeing the signs with no workers may come to ignore them, and when there is a work crew on the road, some accidents may occur. In the context of modern learning theory, the extinction of cautionary behavior would be expected under such circumstances. The present study surveyed the behaviors of 224 respondents, many of whom indicated they tended to ignore such signs. The present study examined behavior reported to occur under various conditions and found evidence that the greater the frequency of unfulfilled expectations, the greater the reported likelihood of ignoring the warnings.

How to Cite:

Leonard, S., (2007) “Some Negative Effects of Warnings”, Driving Assessment Conference 4(2007), 119-125. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2007 the author(s)

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Published on
10 Jul 2007
Peer Reviewed