Understanding the causation of single-vehicle crashes: a methodology for in-depth on-scene multidisciplinary case studies
Journal article, 2007

Knowledge of the interaction between and consequences of causation factors is essential when designing active safety measures. There is frequently a lack of adequate details in the area of causation, especially pertaining to Single-Vehicle Crashes (SVCs). This study describes the in-depth and on-scene investigations of 38 SVCs that took place in Gothenburg, Sweden. The causation factors involved were analysed using the Driving Reliability and Error Analysis Method (DREAM). The 38 SVCs were grouped into four scenarios. In the first scenario, vehicles drifted out of lane due to driver fatigue, sleepiness or distraction. In the second, an undetectable reduction in road friction caused experienced drivers to lose control in curves. Loss of control in curves was also a factor in scenario three, partly due to high speed. In this scenario, drivers overestimated their driving skills or had limited experience of the vehicle or the curve. In the final scenario, alarmed drivers lost control as a result of excessive steering-wheel manoeuvres. This study demonstrates a methodology that can be used to explain how a combination of factors may increase the risk of SVCs.

driver distraction

single-vehicle crashes


accident investigations

young drivers

driving reliability

loss of control.

driver fatigue



risk perception


error analysis


driver error



vehicle safety


safety margins

road friction


Jesper Sandin

Chalmers, Applied Mechanics, Vehicle Safety

Mikael Ljung Aust

Chalmers, Applied Mechanics, Vehicle Safety

International Journal of Vehicle Safety

1479-3105 (ISSN) 1479-3113 (eISSN)

Vol. 2 3 316-333

Subject Categories

Mechanical Engineering

Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)

Applied Psychology

More information