Report 2:

My Understanding of Driving Psychology

By Yu Takebayashi

Instructions for this report are at:

www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonpsy23/409a-g23-report2.htm

I am answering Questions 2,3,4,5, and 7.

 

 

My Report on the Previous Generation:

 

*      Malia Tarayao—g22

 

In Malia’s Report 2, she discusses the three behavioral domains and level of a driver.  The three behavioral domains are the affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor, and the levels are proficiency (1), safety (2), and responsibility (3).  She also plans out a driving personality makeover for herself in the same question.  She then compares two driving websites, and makes comparisons between them.  The next part of her paper is a summarization and discussion of 6 student reports from previous generations.  She replaces information in a table with her own experiences in the next question, and what she could do to improve her driving skills.  The last section of her paper was doing exercises from the book and reflecting on her results.

 

*      Jordyn Shark—g22

 

This person did pretty much the same questions as the previous person, but it seemed like the “my report on the previous generation” was less formal.  This made it more interesting to read in my opinion.  Like the first one, Jordyn’s tables were neat and organized, and it was nice how the students’ names were linked to their reports.It also made it more interesting to read because of the descriptive words Jordyn used when writing his opinions/statements.  Humor is also incorporated into the paper, which again makes the paper more amusing.  (i.e. “The explanations expressed in each report required patience, diplomacy, ample amounts of time and plenty of food and water. “)

 

*      Chris Nerona—g22

 

Chris’ paper was interesting to read from the start because if I remember correctly, he was in my elementary school class.  His paragraphs seemed longer than the first two I had read, and although it seems like he forgot a few links at the end, the paper overall was very informative.  One thing I really liked was how he used a two-toned table; it looked more professional and easier to read.Format wise, I liked how he used the underlines and bold to accentuate important concepts or words.  I also liked how he didn’t just write “Driving Personality Makeover:” but instead wrote “It’s time for a MAKEOVER, a driving makeover that is.”  Having little fun phrases like that makes it a whole lot more interesting for the reader.

 

The Question I am answering is Question 2:

(a) Give a brief review of our two textbooks: Road Rage and Aggressive Driving (James and Nahl), and Driving Lessons: Exploring Systems That Make Traffic Safer (Peter Rothe, Editor).  The reviews should be between 3 and 6 paragraphs for each text.  (b) Select one Chapter from each text and give a summary of it.  (c) Discuss in what way will these ideas contribute to solving society’s driving problems.  (d) Any other comments you wish to make.

 

A.

The two books we read this semester were Road Rage and Aggressive Driving (James and Nahl), and Driving Lessons: Exploring Systems That Make Traffic Safer (Peter Rothe, Editor).  These books were both about training ourselves to be better drivers, road rage, and things that could be done to deal with the aggression in us.  Both of these books seem to be generally similar in content, but I found them to be quite different after reading them. 

 

The first book, Road Rage and Aggressive Driving (RR), by Dr. James and Dr. Nahl, seemed a lot more easy to read and relatable.  RR’s main focus was on driving psychology and that our personalities as drivers affect the way we drive and act on the road.  There were some personal examples from Dr. James and Dr. Nahl, as well as many short examples to illustrate the concepts being talked about.  To me that was extremely helpful because instead of just stating an idea, it would state it, explain it, then apply it through an example. 

 

            Another thing I really liked about this book was the checklists and exercises at the end of some chapters.  I believe that activities like this that make you actually DO something, are really helpful to keep the reader’s attention.  You are reading a book full of information and it could be repetitive and boring…but wait!!  A checklist?  Hey this is something different, let’s check it out.  Having short things that let you take a break from scanning the lines with your tired eyes, yet still keeping the focus on the same subject is a VERY successful way to maintain the reader’s focus in my opinion.

 

            Lastly what I thought was really helpful in RR was that the sources used for each chapter was listed after it, instead of at the end of the book like most books.  This made me skim through the sources that were compiled for the chapter, and if I wanted more information I could go there.  Having a sources page in the back of the book would make it more organized, perhaps, but most of the time people stop reading the book once they finish the reading and do not go on to read the sources that were used.  An added bonus that I’d give the book is the creative way of displaying the chapter numbers…it totally fits into the subject matter and very creative!

 

            The second book, Driving Lessons: Exploring Systems That Make Traffic Safer (DL), edited by Peter Rothe, didn’t get me as interested as the RR book.  It seemed like more of a manual compared to RR, and it was really formal and not as fun.  There aren’t as many charts, tables, or lists as RR which makes it a little hard on the eyes because it’s mostly reading text (and even when there are charts, they are confusing to understand).  There are some diagrams of how an accident happened on the road, which look like something the police use when trying to map out a collision. 

 

            DL does a very good job at describing key points and concepts in a  very detailed manner.  For the most part they also have good examples illustrating the introduced concepts, and it helps the reader to relate to what is going on, like RR does.  DL also seems to be more technical with more examples that have to do with statistics and numbers, so unless you have taken a statistics course or are really mature in how you think, it could be a slightly challenging book to understand.  Some of the examples in this book are very specific real life examples in which you must understand every little detail, and unless you have a general understanding of driving psychology before reading this book, it could be a bit confusing.

 

            Unlike RR, DL has the sources in the back of the book in alphabetical order.  This could be good when you’re searching for a specific thing, but you wouldn’t know immediately which chapter the source was used in.  I personally prefer the way RR did it.  The way that DL is written (many different authors contributing for one book) could be good in a way that you get the views and knowledge of numerous authors, but it could also be bad that the ideas won’t be as consistent as in RR.

 

B.

Road Rage

            Chapter 6 of Road Rage is overall about the three-step driver self-improvement program.  As the beginning of the chapter states, “driving is not solely how someone operates a vehicle; it is also a mental state, a readiness to interpret the acts of others in a hostile way and a desire to respond in kind.”  Dr. James and Dr. Nahl developed a three-step program to help drivers work on their “emotional fitness” when on the road.

 

            The three steps are 1) acknowledge, 2) witness, and 3) modify.  Acknowledge means that you have to realize that yourself and other drivers on the road need “traffic emotions education.”  Witness is that you should be watching how you act, feel, and think when you are driving to find out what type or level of aggressive driving or road rage you have.  Modifying this is the last step, in which you modify these problems you found out while witnessing.  You can only move onto the next step after completing the current step to be successful in this program.

 

*      Acknowledge

This step is the hardest of the three steps because aggressive driving has seem to become the norm sometimes and also because we don’t want to admit to ourselves that what we are doing is wrong.  We feel insulted when someone is trying to help us out by telling us that maybe we should take a turn slower, or wave thank you after someone lets you into their lane.

 

*      Witness

There are different levels of how you can monitor yourself when on the road.  There are things that can be measured by instruments or other people, such as vehicle speed, blood alcohol level, and making threatening gestures.  There are also smaller things we do that can be measured with sensing equipment, such as how hard we grip the steering wheel, our heart rate, and the amount of pressure applied to the brake pedal.  You can also witness negative and positive events.  Negative events are ones like feeling insecurity behind the wheel, and stressing over police.  Positives events are being ready to return a favor or kindness, or feeling responsible for everyone’s safety for example.

 

*      Modify

This is the last part in which you try to modify the things you witnessed in the previous step.  This is the easiest if it is taken one part as a time instead of trying to change everything at once.  For example, if you feel stressed when driving to work and getting there on time, you could work on leaving just a little bit earlier.  You could also control your emotions when they get negative or hostile.

 

Driving Lessons

            Chapter 5 of DL is titled “Family and Friends:  How Intimate Social Life Contributes to Risky Driving”, and I already feel like I can relate to this chapter.  This chapter is about how our driving is affected in a bad way by our intimate social life.  Intimate social life “is the cradle of society”, and this comes out a lot when we are on the road.

 

            There are two types of social forms, formal and intimate.  Formal social forms as things such as paying attention to the road and environment, signaling when switching lanes, and generally making sure you obey the laws.  Intimate social forms are like when you talk and giggle with your friends, or go “cruising.”  These two social forms are supposed to (or at least recommended to) be separately occurring, yet in many cases they occur together.  This makes the situation really dangerous because laughing with your friends will definitely take some focus off of the formal social forms.  I’m sure most of the time people know that it’s risky to mix these two social forms, yet just give in because their status or having fun seems more important at the time. 

            There was also a survey conducted in this chapter with about 300 subjects who were randomly selected by telephone numbers in Springfield.  The study was to measure actions, knowledge and attitudes toward local traffic situations and driver behaviors.  The results showed that the very young drivers were more likely to get angry and frustrated, use obscene gestures, and use illegal cutoffs compared to older drivers.  This could be because how they drive and the attitude they have towards driving is related to their feeling of competence when they are with their friends.  If they drive slowly and at speed limit, their friend could call them a “grandma driver” and the driver, not wanting to made fun of, would speed up.

 

C.

            I think that both of the books had very good ideas for helping drivers work on their aggression on the road.  I definitely think the three-step program would work if we all learned how to correctly apply it to our daily lives, and if we truly acknowledged the fact that we need to work on our driving.  The checklists also help us to think back at times when we were driving and we did these things.  Since these are books on driving psychology, it doesn’t just tell you “don’t drink and drive because it’s bad!” or “don’t swear at other drivers”, it actually goes deeper and explains why we do these things and how we can work on them.  I think this is the most important thing because people will not just read this and say “oh okay I’ll change” unless they feel they have a good reason to.

 

            Another thing I think will really work is that there are so many examples in these books.  You hear about collisions or road rage on the news pretty often, but if you haven’t been involved in one, you think “well this is just for those aggressive people who can’t drive well.”  This is incorrect because all of us have been a part of aggressive driving, even if we were talking on the cell phone or having hostile thoughts about other drivers.  When you read all of the examples, you see that this is a problem that exists everywhere and it could be the really drastic kind in the news, or even the not so bad ones that still happen.  Reading so many examples of road rage and aggressive driving made me think of the things that I do when I drive; the things I thought were okay to do and weren’t aggressive.

 

D.

No additional comments.

 

The Question I am answering is Question 3:

(a) Discuss these two Web sites: drivers.com vs. drdriving.org by first describing their overall appearance and purpose.  (b) What are their main differences?  Be sure to consider at least these areas: (i) content of articles (ii) content and tone of newsletters, when present (iii) style of the site (iv) probable audience (v) public relations or policy, etc. (vi) advertising (if any) (vii) size (numbers of files or links) (viii) ranking (see Google or Alexa) (ix) other sites that link to each.  (c) Any other comments you wish to make.

 

A.

When I first went to drivers.com I thought it was a mistake.  It looked exactly like those “Reserve this domain name now!” type of sites and some of the material on there wasn’t even relevant to driving.  On the left side, it said “Computer Drivers”, and although they are drivers as well, it is definitely not what we are looking for.  Even the links for the actual automobile type driving were strange and didn’t seem very informative; some of them were about flashing LED lights for your dashboard and how to get a job as a truck driver.  drdriving.org seemed a lot more informative as soon as I saw that there was a table of contents type of thing and an introduction about how aggressive driving is a big problem that we just might be realizing.  It was also more credible because Dr. James had put his contact information for people who wanted to ask questions or get in touch with him, and also had links to his books and clips of his video.

 

B.

            The main differences that I found were that drivers.com was more of a collection of random articles and ads about drivers, and drdriving.org was an informative site about aggressive driving and road rage. 

 

(i)                 The articles in drivers.com were about “Organic LEDs light up dashboards” or “Truck Drivers Needed Now!”  It seemed hardly relevant to our course and they were more of an advertisement than an information site.  On the otherhand, drdriving.org has many links about different topics within driving psychology, and each link goes to a long article with diagrams and statistical data.

(ii)               I didn’t find a “newsletter” link on either website, but it was pretty evident that at drdriving.org, there was a lot of information to help the readers.  drivers.com said they have the “latest driving articles”, meaning it must switch often so you wouldn’t need a newsletter.

(iii)             The style of drivers.com seems to be just a collection of random links found on a search engine when you type “drivers”.  The style of drdriving.org is for people looking to become more knowledgeable in the domain of driving psychology and has a lot of information-filled articles.

(iv)              The audience for drdriving.org would be Dr. James’ students, parents, teachers, interviewers, and anyone who wants to find out more information about the problem of road rage and aggressive driving.  drivers.com seems like the audience would be people who accidentally went there thinking it was an informative site because of the URL name.

(v)                At drivers.com, they said “We specialize in driving, driver behavior, and traffic safety. Our web site at Drivers.com is an information resource for both traffic safety professionals and the general public, with a wealth of information on driver training, education, and licensing.”  At drdriving.org, I found “We have written books and articles on driving psychology and have posted them on this site for your interest. We also post survey results and collections of road rage news and legislation. It's all free for your personal use. For other uses, please email us for permission.”

(vi)              I found many links for truck driver jobs at drivers.com on the side, most likely from a search engine.  At drdriving.org, I only found advertisements for Dr. James and Dr. Nahl’s book and video, which I found to be a lot better than having random links.

(vii)            drdriving.org has A LOT of information and links in it, and each topic has so many pages of data.  The main page was pretty large itself, full of many links and topics, and even a short checklist.  drivers.com was a lot smaller in my opinion, with not as much (relevant) links.

(viii)          I seemed to get a lot more pages when I did a Google search on drdriving than when I did it on drivers.com. 

(ix)              Many sites linked to drdriving.org including other articles about road rage, publishers, and organizations.  I couldn’t find many sites linked to drivers.com, but it was hard to do a search due to the word “drivers” since it comes up not only as a site name but as a word in thousands of search results.

 

C.

drivers.com was also a little confusing to navigate because of how the page is laid out.  You click on the link and it takes you to this page with only a few links.  I learned that to get to the actual page, you have to click on the link that says “Auto Drivers” which may not be so obvious to everyone.

 

The Question I am answering is Question 4:

(a) Select three of the following student reports from Generation 15.  (b) Summarize each of the three reports.  Be sure you put a link to the report you are referring to.  (c) Add a General Conclusion Section in which you discuss your reactions to what they did—(i) their ideas, (ii) their method, (iii) their explanations.  (d) What did they gain from doing their reports?  (e) How did their ideas influence what you yourself think about these issues?  (e) Any other comments you wish to make.

 

A & B.

*      “Customizing My Emotional Spin Cycle:  Data Analysis”

http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409af2001/ahsing/report2.htm

Jennifer’s Report 2 was about the concept of the “emotional spin cycle”, which is a “system of twelve settings that determine our thoughts, feelings, and actions dependent upon our emotions and the circumstance or situations.”  Also discussed are other concepts such as the three-fold self and the Hierarchy of Motives.  She discusses the role of the emotional spin cycle in society, and what she expects to happen in the future.

 

Half of the paper is based on her data collection and analysis of her own feelings, thoughts, and actions for a period of 2 weeks.  The first week would be a baseline sample of general rage and aggressive feelings.  The second would be a modification/control sample of general analyzed feelings as observed from week one.  She briefly discusses the three-fold self (AWM) and what the design of the study would be.  She then explains the way she will be rating herself and collecting data for the two weeks.  She then analyzes the data and comes to a conclusion that there is indeed an emotional spin cycle and it is hard to change your behaviors.

 

*      “Customizing My Emotional Spin Cycle:  Data Analysis”

http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409bf2001/shellgirl/report2.htm

            Shell87’s Report 2 was about the same “emotional spin cycle”, and described the same things that Jennifer did (above).  She didn’t go on to explain these terms and concepts as far as Jennifer did, but the necessary things were.  She reported and analyzed her data and came to a conclusion for week one that she is usually in the positive zones for self and others in the morning hours.  As the day went on, it headed toward the negative zones and stayed there.  Also, she was more in the negative zones when she was tired, and also became more irritable and bored.

 

            She tried to monitor and bridge her three-fold-self in week two based on the first week’s data.  She felt she successfully did this, and she was more positive in the afternoon/night at work/school when she used to be a lot more negative.  Shell87 felt that although this was helpful, it was a bit hard and sometimes felt that she was only altering her three-fold-self for this project.

 

*      “Customizing My Emotional Spin Cycle:  Data Analysis”

http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409bf2001/reaves/report2.html

            So by now I have realized that every single Report 2 must be about the same topic.  Nicole’s report, like the previous two, described the basic concepts but she did so with image files of the charts.  She had examples of data that she took for week one, and unlike the first two students, hers was more detailed in a paragraph form.  She realized that she would constantly have a high negative level in the afternoons from Monday through Friday, and that it was associated with her son not doing homework.

 

            In week two, she used the red bridge to move her negative feelings/thoughts to the positive side.  She was quite surprised at the results, and her son actually did better and listened more when she asked him things calmly instead of yelling.  By changing her negative attitudes into positive ones, her overall stress level went down as well and she felt much better about herself.

 

C.  General Conclusion

Jennifer

(i)                 I agree with her ideas about the future concerning the emotional spin cycle; it does seem pretty grim.  I strongly agree that your attitudes and behaviors are hard to change, especially when you are in those moments when you are angry and not thinking too much about being “better”. 

(ii)               Her method of stopping and thinking about why she was feeling/acting in negative ways worked, but it was a conscious effort.  I doubt any of us, or a very few, can do this without making a conscious effort so I think it was still a good method.

(iii)             Jennifer says that by doing this paper she has “gained a greater awareness of how to handle and cope with different situations, people, and emotions.”  All of us have problems with coping with stressful or bothersome situations, so I feel that maybe we should all have to do this analysis and see what comes out of it.

 

Shell87

(i)                 I really liked the way she analyzed herself and found a pattern that she seems to be negative in the afternoon/night more.  I think a really important part of this analysis is to find a pattern and see what is causing it.

(ii)               Her method of changing her negative into positive was by using a bridge.  She acknowledged that usually she stays negative and runs with it, and that it was hard to switch over to the positive side.  I can understand why she felt that it was successful with a conscious effort, but it would be pretty hard to apply this to everyday life just because it requires so much effort.

(iii)             Like Jennifer, Shell87 learned something about herself through this paper.  As mentioned in the summary of her paper above, she felt that she was only changing her negatives into positives because of the paper and not necessarily because she thought it was better (for herself).  I think to be successful with this changing of your emotional spin cycle, you would need to genuinely want to change the negative way you are.

 

Nicole

(i)                 I liked the way she wrote a short paragraph on her three-fold-self in the observations.  It helped the reader, in my opinion, get a better understanding of what she was feeling/thinking/doing than just a simple word like “Frustrated.”  It helped that she put details about the things she said to her son; it let the readers know why she was experiencing these negative thoughts/feelings/actions.

(ii)               Her method of stopping when she was upset, and talking in a calm manner without showing anger (although she was pretty angry inside) was really effective in my opinion.  If you just yell at your child to do something, they will either get upset or just not want to do it anymore out of sheer rebelliousness.  By calmly asking him to “please do your work”, he probably felt that she wasn’t demanding him to do anything, and just asking nicely for his own good.

(iii)             I really like how she learned that by changing her negatives into positives, she could actually change the way her son acts and feels as well.  By doing this, she feels her relationship with her son has grown better, and she also doesn’t have to worry about her son growing up with an angry parent.  In Nicole’s report I really felt that she actually attempted the changes for her son and herself, instead of just for the paper.

 

D.

Jennifer

Jennifer “gained a greater awareness of how to handle and cope with different situations, people, and emotions.”  I also think she learned that if you put a little effort into something, you can change it for the better.

 

Shell87

Shell87 gained knowledge about herself and the patterns of when she gets upset.  I think knowing what kind of situations and times make you upset is a really valuable thing.  By knowing this, she can either avoid these situations or be more consciously aware during them to keep from acting out her negative feelings/thoughts/actions.

 

Nicole

Nicole, in my opinion, seemed to learn the most out of this report.  She learned what kinds of things make her upset, why they make her upset, and that things are better for her and her son if she makes an effort to change her attitude.  She probably also learned that this not only applies with her son, but also in other relationships as well; yelling and being demanding will not necessarily get the effect you want out of the other person.

 

E.

            Their ideas actually influenced me a lot because I often experience negativity in everyday life.  I happen to get stressed or bothered by something pretty easily, and most of the time I just let it stay because I just don’t know what to do with it.  When I’m in these negative moods, I am easily irritated and not willing to give as much compassion to others.  I learned that even if you are upset, if you learn to “bridge” the negative into positive, the outcome could be a lot better.

 

            For this to work, I think I would need to control my mouth and pride.  Most of the time when I am upset, if someone says something to me that I take as offensive, I will just snap back at them.  This, of course, only makes things worse which actually makes me even more upset in the end.  Another issue I have is with pride; if I feel that something someone said was degrading or saying I was wrong, I seem to get really upset.  I usually just let my anger get to me and let it out, but I guess I should try changing them into more positive attitudes and see if that would help.

 

F.

No additional comments.

 

The Question I am answering is Question 5:

(a)  Consider Table 5 in the Lecture Notes, in the Section on Driving Psychology Theory and Charts at www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy23/409-g23-lecture-notes.htm#Charts  (b) Consult the article from which the Table was taken.  (c) Copy and paste the table into your file. Now delete the examples in each cell and replace them with your own examples that you make up.  (d) Discuss why driving is such a big problem in all societies and why no effective solutions have yet been found for them.  (e) Discuss the solutions offered by Dr. Leon James (www.DrDriving.org). What likelihood is there that his approach will be adopted? Explain. (f) Any other comments you wish to make.

 

C.

Table 5
Emotionally Intelligent Driver Personality Skills
 

Driver Competence Skills

Aggressive
NEGATIVE DRIVING

Supportive
POSITIVE DRIVING

Not
Emotionally Intelligent
(REPTILIAN DRIVING)
 

Emotionally
Intelligent
(CORTICAL DRIVING)
 

1. Focusing on self vs. blaming others or the situation

"I’m going to be late for school because this idiot is driving so slowly.  He should go faster.”
 

"I’m grouchy because I’m tired.  Even the small things are irritating me.”

2. Understanding how feelings and thoughts act together

"I can’t believe this person almost hit me!  What are they thinking?!  Do they want me to die?”
 

"That was really scary, I could’ve died.”
 

3. Realizing that anger is something we choose vs. thinking it is provoked
 

"It pisses me off when people cut me off.”

"I make myself angry when people cut me off.  They could’ve just been trying to switch lanes.”

4. Being concerned about consequences vs. giving in to impulse

"I want to hit his car (lightly) so he knows that he’s going slow.  Then he’d know to speed up.”

 

"If I act out my anger, this could turn into something really bad.  I better keep it to myself.


 

5. Showing respect for others and their rights vs. thinking only of oneself

"What the hell is this person thinking cutting in front of me?  Are they trying to make me late for school?”

"It’s the traffic that is going to make me late for school.  These people aren’t making me late and it’s not in my control.”
 

6. Accepting traffic as collective team work vs. seeing it as individual competition

"I should be able to go faster than everyone else if I feel they are going too slow.  I need to be able to keep my own pace.”
 

"I try to drive around the same speed with the traffic around me.  By trying to forcefully go into other lanes, I could be making traffic even worse.”
 

7. Recognizing the diversity of drivers and their needs and styles vs. blaming them for what they choose to do
 

"Look at that girl putting make up on while driving!  She is making driving so dangerous for me.”
 

"I should be careful and move away from that girl.  It’s dangerous but not up to me to stop her.”
 

8. Practicing positive role models vs. negative

"This person just cut in front of me.  I’m going to switch lanes and cut this person off to let him know how I felt.”
 

"This person just came into my lane but maybe he really needed to get over.  We all do this sometime so I shouldn’t get mad about it and let him go on with his way.”
 

9.  Learning to inhibit the impulse to criticize by developing a sense of driving humor

"So many people on the road are so slow and horrible at driving.  They should just stay at home or take the bus."
 

"Go ahead, drive slow.  This way I can enjoy my music for a longer time.”
 

10. Taking driving seriously by becoming aware of one’s mistakes and correcting them

"I’ve only gotten into one accident and it wasn’t my fault.  No one complains so I must be a good driver.”

"I realize when I have negative thoughts, feelings, or actions.  I keep track of them and try to work on not letting them affect my driving.”

 

 

D.

            Driving is such a big problem in all societies because of many reasons.  Some of these reasons are things that are in the driver’s control and some that are not.  There are other external factors like movies and peer pressure that affect the way you drive.  No matter the reason, we as drivers should learn to control our behaviors to lessen this problem we have on the roads.

 

            Some factors that are in our control could be our time, mood, and pride.  Time is obviously important in our society, hence the phrase “time is money.”  This is not only in the USA; time is important and valuable everywhere you go.  With the limited time we have and so many things on our to-do list, it makes us really upset when we feel someone gets in our way or makes us late, because we would be wasting precious time.  However, we need to realize that perhaps we wouldn’t feel this way if we left just 15 or 30 minutes earlier.  This way, if something unexpected does happen, we won’t be too upset because we still have some extra time.

 

            Our mood is constantly affecting the way we drive and how we view other drivers or events on the road.  I know from personal experience that if I’m in a good mood, I am more likely to let other people in my lane or be patient with slow drivers.  If I am in a bad mood, I get easily irritated because I feel like other drivers are trying to make my bad day even worse.  You are the only person that can control or deal with your mood, so learning how to look at things from a more positive perspective could be helpful.

 

            The third factor that I mention is pride.  Our car is an extension of the self; we pay for it, take care of it, and it’s always with us.  When someone does something that invades our space or we feel is insulting, we get defensive.  In our society, our cars can represent who we are, what kind of job we have, or what our style is.  We need to realize that we drivers cannot control everything that happens, and just because something happens to you it doesn’t mean someone is trying to insult you personally.  It is good to have enough pride to not be pushed around by everyone in life, but it would help a lot of we didn’t take the things that happen on the road on a personal level.

 

            Some factors that we cannot control are traffic, other drivers, and unexpected events.  Although you can figure out a general pattern of when there is traffic and not, this isn’t a for sure thing everytime.  Sometimes there could be more traffic due to an accident, the weather, or just that there are more cars on the road.  We also cannot control what other drivers do, and we shouldn’t try to.  We sometimes wish we could control them, make them go faster or turn off their signal, but it’s not up to us and it never will be.  We just need to deal with the fact that there are things we can’t control and keep our cool about it.

 

            An important uncontrollable factor is the issue of unexpected events.  We as humans like to rely on a schedule or pattern for the most part.  Many of us do routine things everyday; wake up, brush our teeth, change our clothes, eat breakfast, drive to school, etc.  Usually we do these in the same order, as we like to have a pattern to keep track of our hectic lives.  When something unexpected that you can’t control happens, you feel like your pattern has been thrown off and get frustrated.  We often like to blame this on others because we feel like we need to blame it on something, or someone, as an explanation (to ourselves) why our schedule had to be altered.  This only happens when it is an unexpected event that we cannot control though.  For example, if we unexpectedly decided one day to go shopping for a new outfit, we wouldn’t feel frustrated because our pattern was thrown off—we’d most likely be in a better mood.

 

            No effective solutions have been found yet because a lot of it has to do with our psychological self; the way we feel and think, which leads to actions.  People can think of solutions like changing the speed limit or making a longer merge lane on the freeway but it’s really up to ourselves to make driving safer.  Many of us don’t realize that aggressive driving is a problem because we don’t quite know what it is.  We don’t know that insulting someone under our breath or following the car in front of us closely to induce them to drive faster are forms of aggressive driving.  I believe that some people just aren’t educated enough on this topic, and some just aren’t willing to change due to their selfish reasons.

 

E.

            Dr. Leon James offers a few solutions for us to better our everyday driving habits.  The most important one in my opinion is the three-step program.  The three-step program is where you 1) acknowledge, 2) witness, then 3) modify.  (The three-step program is described earlier in the report)  I think this method would work if everyone was aware of it.  We read this book because of class, but if I hadn’t taken this class I don’t think I would’ve ever read it.  The problem isn’t only that I wouldn’t have known about it, but even if I did I would probably think “road rage?  I don’t have that, and it’s not a big deal.”

 

            To adopt his methods, driver’s education classes would have to require it.  We would all need to learn this method so we can practice it in our everyday lives; like the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.”  Although we will never be perfect, I’m sure we’d all be much better drivers if we adopted some of Dr. James’ methods.  Actually we would not only be better drivers, but probably learn something valuable about our personalities as well.  The acknowledge, witness, modify method would also work in all other aspects of life when we feel angry or negative.

 

F.

No additional comments.

 

The Question I am answering is Question 7:

(a) Our textbook Road Rage and Aggressive Driving has checklist exercises in several chapters. Do the following four exercises: (i) Exercise on How Passenger-Friendly Are You on p.184-5  (ii) Exercise on Witnessing Your Aggressive Driving on p.140-3  (iii) Exercise on Your Road Rage Tendency on p.40-42  (iv) Exercise on Your Verbal Road Rage Tendency on p.91  (b)What were your reactions to each exercise?  (c) Discuss how these exercises help you to become more aware of yourself as a driver.  (d) Do some of the exercises with another driver you know.  How do they help you understand some principles of driving psychology mentioned in the book?  Discuss and illustrate.  (e) Any other comments you wish to make.

 

B.

(i)         I am pretty considerate of my passenger’s feelings but I think it also depends who it is.  If it is someone I know really well I would be more likely to shut down their comments.  If my grandpa were to tell me to slow down I would immediately listen, but if it was my brother I would tell him to shut up because he doesn’t know anything.  I also have a problem with my brother trying to listen to his music in my car; I feel I should be able to choose because I’m the one that’s driving and putting all the hard work into it.

(ii)               By doing this exercise I realized that I do some things that I don’t really think about when I’m doing them.  I don’t do too many dangerous things but I do notice myself feeling hostile or thinking bad thoughts about other drivers when I feel they put me in danger.

(iii)             My results (road rage score of 5) say that I have moderate road rage habits.  I probably agree with this result because I admit that I do get aggressive (at least in my head) but don’t do many things to confront the other driver.  One of the questions that I really agreed with is “When drivers do something really “stupid” that endangers me or my car, I get furious, even aggressive.”  I don’t get aggressive, but I get really mad when I feel they endangered my life because they wanted to force themselves into the lane or make a left turn faster than I could cross the intersection (and I have the right of way).

(iv)              I actually checked off about half of these road rage statements.  They are mostly things that I complain about other people doing, and not the ones where I am the one threatening someone.  (i.e. “I’m tailgating you now.”)  Recently I noticed that I have also started to discriminate against women because the majority of the time I’ve been endangered, it had been by a woman.  I know that just because I have had those experiences I shouldn’t be saying all women are bad, but it’s almost fun to say “oh my god look at that stupid driver, must be a woman” and be right.

 

C.

            These exercises help me to better as myself as a driver because most importantly, now I know that these “harmless” (in my mind) acts or thoughts are actually associated with road rage and aggressive driving.  I also realize that although it’s fun to dwell in your anger and think of all the rotten things that could happen to the other driver for “ruining your day” (which they really didn’t; it’s your own fault for taking it that way), it doesn’t get you anywhere and not healthy for you or anyone else on the road at all.

 

            I also realize that I need to be more considerate of other passengers’ feelings when I drive.  I realize that I, like many others, take it as an insult when people tell me something negative about my driving that I should change.  We need to know that they are only trying to help and also expressing that they are nervous/afraid and just want us to alter it; they are not trying to crush our egos or make us feel bad.  A lot of times I think “well if you have a problem with my driving, get your own ride” but we all know sometimes it can’t be helped.  As a driver, we should learn how to accommodate to our passengers’ needs and try to give them the most comfortable ride possible.  Just think of when you ride in a car… do you want the driver doing whatever the hell they want?  Or would you rather have a comfortable and enjoyable ride?  Every passenger deserves to be treated with respect.

 

D.

            I did some of these exercises with my brother and what I noticed is that he checked off more of the ones that had to do with status, pride, or territory.  He also has more thoughts of retaliating when he feels like he has been disrespected by another motorist.  I think this is because men seem to actually act out their aggressive behavior compared with women.  My brother is a pretty big guy, so if he were to get in a fight with an average size man it would be alright.  He could also most likely defend himself against a woman (unless she had a gun or some crazy weapon.)  It seems like the idea of racing someone after getting their engine revved at is a bigger possibility than with me.

 

            Perhaps this could be because men generally play more video games (racing, violence, etc.) and watch the more violent, action-packed movies.  I even experienced myself the “oh wow that is so cool, I wish I could put NOS in my car and speed up a broken bridge and land safely on the other side,” feeling once in awhile.  Movies and video games make it so effortless and safe (after all you only get a few dents on your car) that we sometimes forget that if it were to happen in real life, we could get badly injured and involve other people around us as well.

 

            I also learned in a social psychology class that men have evolved to be more protective of their property and territory.  I think this showed when my brother did the checklists because he would check things off like “nope I won’t let you sneak into my lane.”  The car is an extension of them, and the space on the road that they are currently driving on seems to be an extension of them as well.  When someone forces themselves into that spot in front of them, it’s like parking your car on their front yard (in their mind).  Maybe they think “nobody disrespects me by taking over my property,” and take action by driving aggressively or confronting them in an aggressive manner.

 

E.

No additional comments.

 

 

Links:

G23 Class Homepage: http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy23/classhome-g23.htm

My homepage: http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409af2005/takebayashi/home.htm