Here is an article from our blog that I wrote in March 2013 –

Will you feel less safe in an 800 cc hatchback or a 2400 cc SUV?  My take would be the hatchback.  Will the person driving the hatchback be more cautious while driving than the driver of SUV? The answer is the driver of the hatchback. Obviously, it varies from person to person, but the risk taking tendency of a person increases while driving a SUV in comparison to that of the hatchback.

In accordance with John Adams’ theory on risk management, every individual has a specific level of risk taking capability up to which they are comfortable. If their sense of safety is increased, say by an ABS or a fancy safety feature, the risk taking capability of that individual will also increase. The safer we feel, the more risky our behavior tends to be.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean that we should not buy the SUV if we can and want to. But what I am trying to say is: safer cars does not imply safer roads. The legislation needs to change and the traffic safety engineering needs to be redesigned to accommodate these vagaries of human behavior, especially in countries like India.

The same phenomenon is applicable to other facets of life, for example: Guns!

This also applies easily to cyber security. Having an anti-virus software allows us to take the risk of inserting any pen drive in our computer. The responsibility of the safety of our computer is delegated to the antivirus. Similarly it is delegated to the bank when we do online banking, the credit card company when we use it and the retailer when we use the card there.

All these institutions and their promotion of the state of the art security products and services might be having a counter productive effect on the users. We might want to limit this feeling of safety else we will behave in a more risky manner.

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