The first aim of the present study was to identify key items which are rated differently by drivers from Finland, Sweden, Greece and Turkey. The second aim was to examine how these key items relate to drivers' self-reported accident involvement. Similar comparisons have previously been conducted in Europe but these have only included items classified as violations and errors, but not lapses. A sample of Finnish (N = 200), Swedish (N = 200), Greek (N = 200) and Turkish (N = 200) drivers completed the driver behaviour questionnaire (DBQ) and reported their accident involvement during the previous 3 years. The results showed that nine key items (which drivers from different countries rated differently) could be identified. These items included two aggressive violations, four ordinary violations, three lapses, but no errors. Out of these nine items, five items (Become angered by a certain type of driver and indicate your hostility by whatever means you can, Disregard the speed limit on a motorway, Overtake a slow driver on the inside, Pull out of a junction solar that the driver with right of way has to stop and let you out and Get into the wrong lane approaching a roundabout or a junction) could explain differences in drivers' self-reported yearly accident involvement when all four countries were taken together. At the same time, none of the items could explain differences in self-reported yearly accident involvement in Finland and Sweden while one of the items (Overtake a slow driver on the inside) could explain differences in self-reported yearly accident involvement in Greece and two of the items (Become angered by a certain type of driver and indicate your hostility by whatever means you can and Disregard the speed limit on a residential road) could explain differences in self-reported yearly accident involvement in Turkey. This shows that different countries have different problems with regard to aberrant driving behaviours which need to be taken into account when promoting traffic safety interventions and the driver behaviour questionnaire (DBQ) can be used to diagnose risk areas and to better inform road safety practitioners within and between countries. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.