Comparative optimism and risky road traffic behaviors among high‐risk sports practitioners

  • Martha Cécile
  • Laurendeau Jason
  • Griffet Jean

  • High-risk sportsmen
  • Perceived comparative risks
  • Vulnerability
  • Quality of reflexes
  • Risky driving
  • Road accidents


This study examines the relationship between participation in risky sports, comparative optimism (CO), and risky road traffic behaviors among a sample of adult men. We surveyed high risk (n=313) and low risk (n=53) sports practitioners, and non-sportsmen (n=89), assessing their CO, as well as their self-reported risky behaviors and their accident experiences while driving a car. Results show that high risk sports practitioners expressed CO regarding the quality of their reflexes while driving and their vulnerability to traffic accidents. High risk sportsmen reported more risky behaviors while driving a car than the members of the other groups, and some of them, namely BASE-jumpers, have experienced more traffic accidents. High risk sportsmen's risky behaviors and accident experiences did not prevent them from expressing CO regarding their vulnerability to road accidents. Results are discussed, as well as putative psychological mechanisms underlying high risk sport practitioners' CO and risky behaviors while driving.