According to Jason Martens, Ph.D. in his article "The Social Psychology of Safe Diving", in Alert Diver magazine published by DAN, there are many reasons this can occur. Some of the ones listed are things like "diffusion of responsibility", which is when we see something wrong but say nothing because we assume it is someone else responsibility to do so. "Deindividualization" which is when a person feels like they are lost in the crowd and may act more impulsively. "Normative social influence" which leads people to do things they know they shouldn't to get along and be liked. And, "Informative social influence" which is when we do as others do because we think they know best. (Happens to novice divers quite often!)
So, how do we counter these influences? Well, Jason has a few suggestions:
- Take Control. Don't assume someone else will speak up if something is wrong. Review your training! If it looks or sounds like a problem, speak up! Someone else is probably thinking the same thing, but too shy to say so.
- Slow Down. We tend to act impulsively around other people, so slow down and think! A few seconds can save a life!
- Play Devils Advocate. To help avoid going along with the crowd, try to think of all the things that could go wrong. You never know when it may help you notice a potential problem.
- Rely On Your Training. Part of being safe, is recognizing unsafe diving. If you are unsure, ask! Ask a diver who seems to be demonstrating a commitment to safe diving by their words and actions. Or consult your manual!
- Be A Good Role Model. If you are a safe diver, then do not be afraid to go out of your way to make sure others recognize it. Help novices that seem to be struggling.
- Role Play. Practice what you would say if someone asks you to make an unsafe dive. It is easier to respond if you have already rehearsed the right thing to say!