Risk protection is normally done to minimize the harm a particular activity can do to us. There are various things we do to reduce our risk, to make ourselves safer.
Behaviour scientists point out that taking measures to reduce the harm we can do to ourselves, can actually make us take more risks, with the added knowledge that there is a safety check in place. This is known as Risk Compensation.
Having a safety device in place, and armed with the knowledge that we can push the envelope a bit, the appetite for risk increases.
This means that enforcing measures that supposedly make people safer, will lead to changes in behaviour almost like a reflex action, compensating for the extra safety and to maintain the ‘desired’ level of risk, making it a zero-sum action.
If something has been made safer (like fitting sports bikes with disk brakes) then it does not mean the risk has been eliminated, as it may just put a different group of people (like pedestrians) in increased danger. This is known as Risk Transfer.
We can benefit from the observer effect by carving out our daily goals like going for a jog or to the gym to be observable by a friend, so that we know that if we skip a day, they will know about it.
This can provide us with a positive ‘peer pressure’ to get going.
When a certain disaster or calamity happens, we work towards ensuring that the same calamity can be dealt with in the better way, the next time it happens. The pain or loss that we suffer motivates us to do so.
We forget in our preparation and resource allocation to the ‘last’ disaster, that we have neglected many other things that are more likely to happen.