My Understanding of Driving Psychology
By Gina Kim
Instructions for this report are at:
G25 Lecture Notes on Driving Psychology are at:
Section A: Two Stages of a Driving Personality Makeover Plan
The purpose of this report is to show my own understanding of driving psychology and how I relate it to my own style of driving.† I will be going over what driving psychology is as well as what the three domains of driving behavior are, previous generational student reports, and my own driving makeover. Every topic will be split into separate sections.† This first section will be going over the driving personality makeover plan and its two stages.† A table summarizing the two stages can be found at http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy25/409a-g25-lecture-notes.htm as Table 3.
A taxonomy or classification of driving behavior can be used to help a driver further understand the level of their thoughts and actions when driving.† One can be placed into different levels of driving skills and errors according to the affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor domains.† A driving taxonomy can help a driver in making a driving personality makeover plan.† This method helps a driver plan his/her own makeover as well as examine the improvements that he/she is making with their makeover.† In the given chart, a driver divided his plan into two stages.
The first stage in his plan was to avoid being an aggressive driver.† This should be everyoneís first step.† He knew that the first step would not be to completely morph into a supportive driver but to first take steps to stop his current habits.† He split up this stage into the three domains of driving behavior.† In the affective level, he decided to change how he reacted to things by changing the fact that he was resistant to change.† He did this by trying to control his anger, making it okay for passengers to complain or comment, and being more charitable to other drivers.
In the cognitive level of stage one, he made a list of habits to change that didnít allow him to be objective towards other drivers and their actions while driving.† In the cognitive domain, he would make thinking errors when assessing a situation.† One thing he needed to avoid was constantly putting the blame on the other driver.† He would reason that the fault was on the other drivers.† This also led to the change in his self-serving bias.† Instead of trying to find excuses for himself, he would try to find more rational reasoning.
In the sensorimotor level of stage one, he had to act out his changed thoughts and assessments.† In this level, he knew he had to practice acting out behaviors that were more acceptable and civil.† This included being friendly by smiling and waving, not swearing, signaling, keeping a good distance between cars instead of tailing, and pretending to be in a good mood despite everything.† The actions in this domain come from the fact that the driver is able to change habits in the other two domains.† Without being able to think and react differently, the driver certainly cannot behave differently.
The second stage is now the important step of actually changing and morphing into a supportive driver.† A driver is still stuck in the first stage when those bad habits are still there and one has to force him/herself to follow the behaviors listed in stage one.† When a driver reaches a point where these behaviors actually become the norm and are enjoyable, they have matured and can move onto stage two of the makeover plan.† This stage cannot be reached without overcoming stage one.
In the affective level of the second stage, the driver feels that he needs to have and keep a positive attitude when it comes to other drivers.† This can be seen when he not only listens to but appreciates a passengerís comments and suggestions.† Instead of getting angry at a situation, he gives others the benefit of the doubt and forgives mistakes.† Instead of getting angry, he feels glad when he is nice to other drivers and feels regret when he is not so nice and understanding.† His attitude changed from being negative to positive and in stage two, he is striving to maintain that attitude.
In the cognitive level of the second stage, the driver behaves in ways that show that he is able to analyze and view situations objectively.† He is able to see his own driving errors and takes responsibility for them instead of blaming others.† By acknowledging his own errors, he can practice ways to change and correct those errors.† Also in this level, he should be able to step outside of himself and view the situation as well as other driversí behaviors objectively.† Instead of viewing the situation from a subjective, angry viewpoint, he can see it from an outsiderís viewpoint.
In the final sensorimotor level of the second stage, the driver can not only act like a civilized driver, he is and behaves like a civilized, cooperative, and happy driver.† This can be seen when a driver doesnít only look out for his own needs but tries to be aware of other driversí needs.† For example, by utilizing your other domains, a driver in this level will see that another driver needs to get into his lane and will happily slow down to let him in.† At this stage and level, a driver can be content and is able to enjoy the car ride and give positive comments throughout the drive.
Following this type of plan will lead to a maximizing of safety and a minimizing of stress in the driver.† Driving has turned into a stressful chore and following this plan can help change it back into an enjoyable time.† In order to use this plan though, one must use a strategy that is called the ďThreestep ProgramĒ.† The first step is to acknowledge the problem or habit. The next step is to see or witness your self doing this habit. The final step is to change or modify the habit.† Each habit in the plan must go through this threestep program one at a time.† The program must be repeated over and over again.
I chose to teach this two-stage process to my boyfriend.† I chose him because he is one of the most aggressive drivers I know.† Normally, he is a very calm, positive, and friendly person, but when he drives, he turns into a negative automotive vigilante.† He cannot stand it when people tail him and yet he will tail others who are driving too slowly.† He will insult other drivers that arenít driving according to his standards and sometimes will even get angry at drivers that arenít even affecting him personally. †I thought he was an ideal candidate to teach this process to since he also agrees that he is aggressive.
I first started out by telling him about aggressive and supportive driving.† He knew that he was an aggressive driver but he didnít understand why we called the opposite supportive drivers.† He felt that it should be called non-aggressive drivers and from that I could see that he put the focus on being aggressive.† I would think that the main focus should be being supportive and non-supportive.† It was interesting to see how strong the cultural influence was on peopleís thinking.
Right after explaining the process to him, his first thought was that it was not practical enough.† He felt that the process of changing how you think when driving was too hard and that changing how you think would initially be lying to yourself.† He felt that if you give people the benefit of the doubt, you need to trick yourself into thinking that the person had good reason and that would be lying.† I explained to him that getting angry and believing that the person didnít have good reason for what he did is also lying to yourself because you have no way of knowing the other driverís real intentions.
After giving him a better explanation of everything, he slowly started to change his mind and realize that the program sounded better than he initially thought.† He agreed that thinking positively would be the most important change in his driving and that just thinking positively alone would make driving a lot less stressful.† He wants to try the program but says it might take a while because he is naturally a very stubborn person.† Still, he agrees and knows that once he masters the program, he will be a much safer and calmer driver.
One point that he brought up had to do with the three domains of driving behavior.† I explained the three domains in order to explain the three different levels of each section.† He thought that the actions and habits he needed to change in the sensorimotor level would come naturally just by changing his habits in the affective and cognitive levels.† If you change how you feel about and view a situation, you will react and behave differently.† Therefore, he came to the conclusion that if he were to use the program, he would focus mainly on the affective and cognitive domains.
In the end, he agreed that if everyone used this program, there would definitely be a lot more supportive drivers because he feels that this program would work.† Still. he thought that although drivers and roads would be safer, driving wouldnít necessarily be better because for many people, the focus is time. If everyone is a supportive driver, he feels that everyone will be slower drivers and there would be more traffic.† In turn, that would make it hard for some people to change and some people might actually go back to their old habits because eventually, everything will be slow again.
This program sounds like it would be a very beneficial program for me to follow.† I know that I have a lot of habits that result in aggressive driving and I know that it has a lot to do with how I think and how I view situations.† I agree with my boyfriend that it would be hard initially to get started with the program.† Habits are not easy to change but when you do, it is for the better and will make things a lot less stressful.† My boyfriend should definitely try this program.† We get into many arguments because of his driving habits and it not only hurts him, it hurts our relationship.
I think that this program would be good for every driver to do.† A lot of times, people wonít learn to change their behaviors by someone telling them to do things.† Many people have to do it themselves and see for themselves that they need to change.† Once they can see their habits, they can use this program to change and monitor their changes.† Driving shouldnít be stressful.† It should not be a way for people to get angry and get into fights.† Driving is just to get yourself from point a to point b and thatís all it should be.† When it gets to be more than that and starts hurting people, itís not right.† It needs to stop.
I agree that many people are aggressive drivers because of the time issue.† People in this society are constantly rushed and feel that they need to be ahead of others.† Still, if they go through with this program, I feel that their thinking will change.† I donít agree with my boyfriend that time will be an issue and I donít agree that traffic would be worse.† I donít think people will drive any slower than they are just because you are being more considerate and letting people into your lane.† Even if it were to create more traffic, itís still more important that the roads are safer.
Section B: Driving Psychology
Driving psychology is a new field in psychology that is still currently being created and is a field that studies driving behavior.† This field is growing and changing and is a response to a society that is growing more and more dependent on technology like driving.† Driving brings about many social, physical, and mental problems for the driver as well as society as a whole.† When put this way, you can see a clear need for a field that is devoted to studying the psychology of drivers today.† Much of the information that will be given can also be found at http://www.drdriving.org/articles/driving_psy.htm.
Driving psychology, just like any other science, has its own underlying basic principles.† One of them is that ďdriving is a complex of behaviors acting together as cultural normsĒ.† This means that driving encompasses many different behaviors and they tend to be put together and accepted in society as norms.† Driving is just pressing the accelerator or brake and steering the wheel to get you from point A to point B.† When you drive, however, you do many different things other than the act of driving itself.† People tend to forget this.
For example, when driving, you need to interact with passengers, pedestrians, as well as other drivers.† You are in a situation where you need to be aware of your surroundings.† This itself brings forth a multitude of behaviors like waving, signaling and talking.† These are basic behaviors that can later turn into positive behaviors or negative behaviors.† These are also behaviors that people do on a normal basis and so they donít think about them.† It is culturally accepted to do these things while driving.
Driving also makes you react in ways that cause you to exhibit certain behaviors whether it is positive or negative.† No one can say that they drive and feel no emotion at all.† At least some of the time, you will experience anger, frustration, or impatience when driving.† When this happens, you not only drive, but also exhibit behaviors like speeding, tailing, swearing, and making obscene gestures at other drivers.† These may not be behaviors that you would normally exhibit when you are not driving.† However, because these behaviors are so socially accepted as driving norms, people forget about them.
You can see why this is such an important principle in driving psychology. We need to study these behaviors and see why they are so culturally accepted.† Making these behaviors cultural norms tells people that itís okay to swear or drive aggressively when it is clearly not okay.† We live in a society that is very independent and competitive.† This may be why some of these driving behaviors came about but they definitely need to be changed.
However, there are positive driving behaviors that are also cultural norms.† When driving, you can also be considerate and polite.† When you are aware of your surroundings and have a positive frame of mind, you can exhibit behaviors like waving, smiling, letting someone into your lane, stopping for pedestrians, and so forth.† These are behaviors that are also accepted as cultural norms and they should be the norms that are taught to drivers.
Another important principle in driving psychology is that driving behaviors can be divided into three different domains. All driving norms can be found in either the affective, cognitive, or sensorimotor domains.† This principle will be further explained in section C of this paper.† Also, you read about the different domains as the separate levels in each stage of the driving personality makeover plan in Section A.† For now, current driving psychology explains the three domains in terms of what the norms are for our generation.
The affective driving norms for our generation tend to be negative and our behaviors can be seen as antisocial.† We live in a society that teaches us to be competitive, territorial, and dominant.† Most of us want to be the best and strive to be in the lead.† This sort of attitude transfers over to our driving habits.† Our affective norms accept aggressiveness, intolerance for other drivers, risk-taking, and disrespect.† It makes it okay for us as drivers to feel this way and put ourselves and others in danger. This type of norm is attractive to us and steps must be taken to be it less attractive.
The cognitive domain controls how we view or think of driving situations.† In this generation, the norm seems to be to make the wrong or inaccurate assessment.† When assessing the situation or trying to see the risk involved in any given situation, our conclusions tend to be wrong.† There are a lot of reasons for this.
A big reason may be that we lack emotional intelligence.† Your level of emotional intelligence determines how aware you are of what your emotions are and why you have them.† If we lack this intelligence, we fail to see how we are feeling and therefore fail to control them accurately.† Another reason is that when we are in a car, we tend to dissociate ourselves from the rest of society.† We have a feeling of isolation and we then have a distorted view of reality. As drivers, we need to learn how to properly assess risk and manage our emotions.
The sensorimotor domain focuses on our specific actions and behaviors on the road.† Our norms are immature and can be a danger on the road.† A main norm that is a problem is that a lot of our driving behaviors are habits that we are unaware of.† This is dangerous because a lot of those habits are unsafe and risky.† We pick up these habits from the beginning because they are cultural norms and we donít stop to think about why we are doing them.† We also tend to make errors in our perceptions of speed and distance.† We speed and tail others because of our need to be in the lead.
The third principle is that these behaviors and norms are taught and passed on to children and following generations by parents, teachers, mentors, and the media. Parents, caregivers, and other adults are usually the first ones to introduce children to driving habits.† Children learn what is accepted as a driver by watching the adults around them. If that adult is a positive and supportive driver, the child will learn to drive in that manner whereas if the adult is negative, swearing, speeding, and taking risks, the child will learn that it is okay to be that way and will grow up to drive that same way.
The media is another big influence in a childís driver education.† The media includes television, movies, magazines, and books.† Children are surrounded by it and it influences children everyday from what they eat to how they feel about themselves.† Many movies and television shows have scenes that involve driving.† Many times, the driving behaviors are negative like speeding, aggressiveness, risk-taking, and swearing.† These behaviors seem cool and attractive to young children and will later grow up to want to be that way.† The media could use its power to teach positive habits as well.
There are still many other principles of driving psychology.† One is the belief that driving norms and beliefs can be changed.† Without this belief, the study of driver psychology would be pointless.† You would study it without ever being able to alter it.† Negative driving habits need to be diminished and eventually eliminated from the cultural norm.† In place of those, positive habits need to be enforced and accepted as the attractive cultural norm.
One other principle that is held is that finally getting a driversí license should not mean the end of the need for driver education.† Drivers can continue to learn and improve their skills throughout their life as a driver.† Cars, roads, and laws are always changing and so a driver needs to be aware and alert to keep up with the changes.† When you learn a new skill, it takes time to incorporate them into your already existing driving skills.† A driver is always learning.† The idea that you are done learning when you get your license is wrong.
Driving psychology is very much like a lot of different fields in psychology in that you study an individualís thought processes and growth.† In driving psychology, you are not only studying driving as an act, but you are studying an individual in terms of social skills, learning skills, personality, culture, and overall behaviors.† When you study other types of psychology, you are focusing on just one aspect of an individual.† In driving psychology, you take all of those aspects and put them together to study how they affect a personís driving behavior.
Letís take social psychology, for example.† Social psychology studies how an individual thinks about, relates to, and behaves with other individuals.† It tries to understand why we do things and why we think certain things based on our interactions with others.† Driving psychology is similar because driving is filled with social interactions.† As drivers, we need to relate to other drivers and interact with them.† The basic principles of psychology have to do with how we interact socially. We study how we relate to other drivers and how to change our negative interactions.
Within social psychology, you could also compare driving psychology to community psychology.† Community psychology strives to better understand people not just at the individual level but at the community level.† It studies issues in the community and how it affects the people in that society.† In the same way, driving psychology not only studies an individual driver, but also puts drivers together into one society and tries to study how they affect one another.† We study issues in the driving community such as aggressiveness, violence, and intolerance that affect the drivers.
Another field of psychology that is related to driver psychology is cognitive psychology.† A big part of what is studied in driver psychology is our cognitive domain.† We study our thought processes while driving.† Cognitive psychology is the main study of mental processes. The purpose is to understand why we think the way we do.† As drivers, we use a lot of mental processes to assess our driving situations and driving psychology studies those mental processes to figure out better ways to assess and control our thoughts and behaviors.
One other field that is related to driver psychology is the general field of applied psychology.† This field aims to apply the results that are found in the researches to the particular problem.† This field is important because instead of just observing and finding problems, they strive to fix the problem.† This relates to driver psychology because driver psychology also strives to change the problems associated with driving.
After relating driver psychology to these different studies, you can see that driver psychology is a good mix of all of them.† Driver psychology wouldnít be complete without social, cognitive, or applied psychology.† It would be a good topic to discuss in any one of these subjects, but it is not.† Driver psychology is usually left out of other psychology subjects.† For most students, this class is the first time they associated driving with psychology.
Most people do not think of driving as a psychological phenomenon.† We see it just as an everyday routine.† Most people donít even stop to think about the fact that they are driving.† We tend to overlook the potential psychological dangers that driving can put on individuals as well as society as a whole.† Many people feel that driving is so natural to them that they donít stop to think about how it is affecting them.† If people were to realize how much is actually involved in driving, more researchers would focus on driving psychology aspects.
Section C: Three Domains of Driving Behavior
The three domains of driving behavior, or the driverís threefold self, are further explained in the lecture notes.† The lecture notes can be found at www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy25/409a-g25-lecture-notes.htm.† This section will help break down what the lecture notes say about the three domains of driving behavior.† Each occurrence of the term ďthree domainsĒ will be examined and summarized.
††††††††††† The first occurrence of the phrase can be found in the very first sentence. It serves to introduce the concept and explain how it relates to driving psychology and behavior.† Driving behavior cannot be studied unless you know and realize the three domains of behavior.† The three domains that work together to create your behaviors are affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor.† The affective self is our feelings, the cognitive self is our thoughts and reasonings, and the sensorimotor self is our actual physical feelings and acts while driving.
††††††††††† The second occurrence begins by saying that the threefold self is created by who we are raised by and the experiences we have.† We learn our driving styles by watcing others like parents and media and usually, especially in our generation, we grow up learning aggressive driving behaviors. Our affective domain learns to have angry or hostile feelings.† Our cognitive domain tends to have negative or biased thoughts and reasoning. Finally, our sensorimotor domain reacts by exhibiting aggressive and risky driving behaviors.††
††††††††††† The third occurrence can be found as part of the title of Table 1. This table divides a driverís behaviors into skills and errors for each of the three domains.† It helps to clarify the difference between each domain as well as supportive and aggressive driving.† Affective skills show cautiousness and caring for other drivers.† Instead of showing or feeling anger when someone cuts you off, you have more feelings of being cautious and helpful.† Errors in the affective self shows selfishness.† You feel angry and react to other drivers in a negative way.
††††††††††† The table goes on to explain the other two domains. Skills in the cognitive domain include positive reasoning skills. You give drivers the benefit of the doubt and your reasoning puts other drivers in a more positive light. Errors would include negative reasoning skills. Negative reasoning and logic usually puts other drivers in a negative light. Blame is put on the other driverís skills. Skills in the sensorimotor domain include friendly gestures like smiling and waving. It includes leaving enough space between cars. Errors exhibit dangerous and risky driving like tailing, speeding, and swearing.
††††††††††† The fourth occurrence is in Table 4 of the lecture notes.† This part of table 4 goes over the basic principles of driving psychology. This is also covered previously in section B of this report. One basic principle of driving psychology is that driving norms or behaviors are found in each of the three domains.† The table goes on to explain that driving norms of this generation that are found in each domain are negative and aggressive.
††††††††††† The final occurrence of the term is also found in Table 4 as a basic principle.† This principle states that driving norms and behaviors can be changed. This can be done by making a driver want or feel the need to change.† Driving is a habit that is exhibited in all three domains and so with proper skills, oneís driving habits can be changed.† Specific habits and behaviors can be found in each of the three domains and every one can be singled out and changed. Having them in separate domains makes it easier to find and work on the habits.
††††††††††† The three domains not only apply to driving behavior but behavior in general. Our feelings, thoughts, and actions all work together to create our personalities. Psychology is all about trying to figure out why people react and behave in certain ways.† A course on personality and emotion tries to focus on the driving forces of feelings. Social psychology focuses on peopleís interactions.† If the three domain concept was incorporated into these fields, people would have a better understanding of how each domain works together to create our behaviors.
††††††††††† Before taking this course, I never really stopped to think about the fact that my thoughts and actions were all interconnected. I guess I always knew this, but like most people, I didnít stop to actually realize it and utilize this knowledge. When my eyes were opened up to this concept, it made me realize that I didnít have to react in certain ways.† I could control how I felt about a situation, how I reasoned and thought about that situation, and how I reacted and behaved.† I felt that even though I was angry, I could control what I did, but thatís not true. I know now that I need to control all three domains.
Section D: Student Generational Reports on Driving Psychology
††††††††††† In this section, I will be reviewing five student generational reports from previous generations.† One report was chosen from each of the five generations from G20 to G24.† Focus will be put on what each report was trying to present and I will close by giving a general conclusion on this type of learning style.
††††††††††† In G20, a student by the name of Sarah E. Phillips wrote a report entitled ďDriving Psychology: Theory and ApplicationĒ.† This report can be found at http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409as2004/phillips/report1.htm.
††††††††††† This student began by giving a preface as well as in introduction.† In the preface, she went over how previous generations also wrote reports about driving psychology and how it related to them.† She felt proud that she would also be contributing to spreading the word about driving psychology and driving behavior.† She chose three previous generational reports and wrote a sentence or two about what each report was about and the style the student used to present.
††††††††††† In the introduction, Sarah begins by giving an explanation of what driving psychology and this course is about. She goes on to say that the purpose of this course is to help people understand and change their wrong driving behaviors.† Different things that students and drivers need to understand are the thought processes and reasons behind the way we react in certain driving situations. By taking this course, she believes that it will help people be more aware of aggressive driving and that it will help her personally to become a safer and more aware driver.
††††††††††† Her third section was entitled ďDefinitionsĒ and she went on to define ten important terms in driving psychology.† She defined the driverís three-fold self, self-witnessing methodology, road rage, aggressive driving legislation, emotional intelligence, emotional spin cycle, newsgroups for drivers, lifelong driver education, passive-aggressive road rage, and the left-lane bandit. This section seemed very well organized and was easy to read and understand the definitions. I will give a brief explanation of each term.
††††††††††† The first two definitions kind of go hand in hand.† The driverís three-fold self includes the affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor domains. These three domains work together and are the reasons behind the way we react and behave. They form our driving personalities.† Self-witnessing methodology is a three-step program to help drivers improve their driving habits. It involves acknowledging their problem, witnessing the problem, and modifying the behavioral problem.† It relates to the three-fold self because each domain has problems that need to go through this program.
††††††††††† She defines road rage as a ďlearned habitĒ of exhibiting negative behaviors while driving. Negative behaviors include things such as swearing, retaliating against other drivers and making obscene gestures. It is a learned habit because we pick up driving habits when we are young and we learn to drive the way adults around us drive.† Each state defines what aggressive driving is and how to deal with it. This is the aggressive driving legislation. Aggressive driving needs to be curbed and dealt with.
Sarah also gave a link for more information on aggressive driving legislations. http://www.aggressive.drivers.com/papers/james-nahl/james-nahl-paper.html .
††††††††††† A driverís emotional intelligence level determines how much he/she is able to control their emotions while driving. Having emotional intelligence is important because it allows a driver to be supportive and avoid risky driving situations. Drivers can control their anger and frustration by stopping to think about the reasons behind their emotions. A driverís emotional spin cycle is the cycle that people go through emotionally on a daily basis. We choose to be positive or negative to ourselves or about the world.† When we choose to be negative, we are using emotionally impaired thinking.
††††††††††† Newsgroups are like forums on a web where people can go to talk to others about specific topics.† Drivers can use these newsgroups to talk to and stay connected with other drivers. Itís a good way for people to get advice and gain other perspectives in driving situations. This is a good way to practice lifelong driver education. This is the idea that people should learn to drive properly and positively from an early age and on to later stages in life. Driving education doesnít stop when you get a license, but should continue for the rest of a driverís life.
††††††††††† Passive-aggressive road rage is a type of road rage where a driver is on the defense rather than being aggressive. This person feels like they are being pushed around by other drivers and starts putting up a fight. They will refuse to speed up or listen to other driversí requests. The left-lane bandits are passive-aggressive drivers that like to maintain control over their space. These are the ones that drive in the fast lane and refuse to go faster than they want. These drivers can be an obstruction and are dangerous because they can cause other drivers to exhibit road rage.
††††††††††† Sarah then went on to explain her experience with driving. She believes that her driving behaviors are a reflection of her true personality.† Since she is a calm person, she is considerate of other drivers but because she does not like stress, she doesnít like to be pushed over her limit. Her parentsí driving styles affected her but she feels that media and peers werenít big factors in molding her driving persona. Her main rule when driving is to treat others the way she wants to be treated.
††††††††††† Her conclusion was good because it really showed that she grasped the concepts that she was presenting and she realized many things about her own driving skills. Her advice to other generations was to keep up with the material being taught in class. A good thing to practice is talking to other classmates.† It helps clarify not only the content being taught to us but to also clarify the assignments that we need to get done.
††††††††††† In G21, I chose to review Davis
Hanaiís report 2 entitled ďMy Understanding of Driving PsychologyĒ.† For this report,
††††††††††† The first question asked him look
over and read tables 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the lecture notes found at www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy21/409a-g21-lecture-notes.htm#Charts
††††††††††† The second question required
††††††††††† Drdriving.org had about 31 articles
and was mainly about road rage topics. Driving.org would seem to be a better
website to visit if you are looking for something that will cover a lot of
different aspects of driving like job listings or information on new automotive
technology. Drivers.com also has a quarterly newsletter with free e-mail
newsletters every month. Drdriving.org has a link to Driver Alert, which is an
online magazine about driving and driving safety. Overall however,
††††††††††† Question three asked
††††††††††† Question four requires you to do
four of the exercises found in the book ďRoad Rage and Aggressive DrivingĒ by Dr. Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl
and give reactions to them. The first exercise was a scenario analysis of two
guys driving tandem and upsetting another driver who in turn flashes a gun at
them. Davis and his girlfriend both found different things wrong with the
scenario but were similar.
††††††††††† The second exercise was about
ďacting as ifĒ.† This means to say or do
something that is the opposite of how you are really feeling when you are
††††††††††† The third exercise was to compare his assessment of his own driving compared to his friendís assessment of his driving. He saw that in both negative and positive driving skills, his girlfriend had listed more about him than he had. He felt that a lot of the habits that she saw were not listed by him because they were habits that he was not aware of. Also from this exercise, he saw how people really do have a self-serving bias. We make excuses for ourselves because we do not want to admit our faults. Seeing how others view your driving helps you be more objective.
††††††††††† The final exercise of question four required him to answer twenty yes or no questions. The more yes answer you have, the more road rage you exhibit while driving. He felt that this exercise was a good measure of where you are with your driving skills. It helps you see where you are and what you need to work on.
††††††††††† Finally, question five gave a link
to student reports on newsgroups.
††††††††††† In G22, Robert Lee wrote a report entitled ďMy Understanding of Driving PsychologyĒ. It can be found at http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409as2005/lee/409a-g22-report2.htm .† He answered questions 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7.
††††††††††† This report was very similar the report done by Davis Hanai in G21. The first question asked him to also review tables 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the lecture notes. He starts by explaining the three-fold self and the three domains. He feels that he has many problems with his domains that cause him to drive recklessly and dangerously. He realizes that he needs to change and that he needs to accept other peopleís flaws as well as accept and own up to his faults.
††††††††††† The second question asks him to review the two websites, drivers.com and drdriving.org.† He felt that drivers.com was more for commercial use and included pop-ups for ads selling computer drivers. This wasnít a website just about driving whereas drdriving.org was strictly about driving. He felt that drdriving.org was more personal but drivers.com was more organized and professional. He goes on to give a list of differences between articles, newsletters, style, probably audience, policy, advertising, and size.
†††††††††† The third question answered asked Robert to review six student reports from G20 and give reactions to them.†† Robert started by summarizing the main points in each studentís report. He then gave a brief reaction. For the most part, he picked and enjoyed papers that were creative in style and had good tables for references. He felt that G20 reports were very well done and the experiments were well planned out. The students of G20 left him with the impression that they had all learned from the experience of writing their papers.
††††††††††† The fourth question asked Robert to look at Table 5 in the lecture notes and replace the examples given with his own examples. His table is a good way of seeing his driving behavioral skills and errors. Robert believes that driving is a problem in society because there are just too many drivers on the road. Most of these drivers donít believe we have a problem and so that is why most solutions havenít been effective. Robert also went over a few examples of solutions given by Dr. Leon James. They include self-witnessing, having a driving personality makeover, reading his book, and using self-modification techniques.
††††††††††† Finally, question give asked Robert to do the four exercises found in the book ďRoad Rage and Aggressive DrivingĒ by Dr. Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl. The first exercise was a scenario analysis and what Robert did was take a problem of negative or oppositional behavior and give examples of and reasons for changing it into a positive and emotionally intelligent behavior.† Doing this helps you be more positive and takes a lot of stress off of you as a driver.
††††††††††† The second exercise was a self-assessment. He had to personally assess his driving skills and then ask his passengers to assess his driving. Doing this helped him see that his driving behavior was more negative than he thought. He always thought that he was a pretty good driver but now he is being told that he is very aggressive and impatient when driving.† Robert did not really go into detail about whether or not he agreed with his passengers and whether he would change or not.
††††††††††† The third exercise was on identifying wrong assumptions in a given situation. Robert went through each situation and listed what he thought were to be wrong assumptions and what the book gave as wrong assumptions. He did a good job of identifying the assumptions and tells a story of how his cousin was in a similar situation and still feels that he shouldnít have gotten into trouble. Itís pretty clear that Robert now knows that those behaviors are wrong.
††††††††††† Finally, exercise four asked Robert to look at a table in the book and explain each item. Then he had to give an example of words he would use when in that frame of mind. I think he skipped over explaining each item. However, he did give examples of things he would say in negative driving behaviors and positive ones.† When in a negative frame of mind, he would say angry and hurtful things. In a positive frame of mind, he would be more able to control his thoughts and emotions and stay away from risky driving.†
††††††††††† Another part of Robert Leeís paper was to analyze or report on presentations given in his current generation.† He chose three studentsí oral presentations and gave a brief summary of each. After his, he goes on to give advice to future generations. His advice is to be disciplined and not procrastinate.† He explains that by taking this course, he not only learned new skills for driving, his oral and writing skills improved and he learned a lot about posting on the web.
††††††††††† For G23, I chose to review Jessica Trujilloís report entitled ďMy Understanding of Driving Psychology. It can be found at http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409af2005/trujillo/trujillo-409a-g23-report2.htm . This report followed the same format as the previous two reports I reviewed but Jessica chose to answer questions 2, 4, 5, 7, and 10.
††††††††††† For question two, Jessica reviewed the two books that were used for this class. She then had to choose a chapter from each book and summarize it.† The two books were ďRoad Rage and Aggressive DrivingĒ (James and Nahl), and ďDriving Lessons: Exploring Systems That Make Traffic SaferĒ (Peter Rothe, Editor).†
††††††††††† Jessica first reviewed ďRoad Rage and Aggressive DrivingĒ by giving examples of the topics that are covered in the book. Topics included road rage, health, children, gender, and media but the book revolved around the concept of aggressive driving and how it affected or was incorporated in each topic. She felt that the book did a good job of presenting aggressive driving and how to change it. The second book is a compilation of articles written by various authors and edited by Peter Rothe. It goes into detail about the three subsystems that deal with and affect driving. Jessica didnít really go into her feelings about the book.
††††††††††† She chose to summarize chapter one in the ďRoad Rage and Aggressive DrivingĒ book. This chapter explains that we live in a society that is highly influenced by the media. We also live in a culture of disrespect and that attitude transfers into our driving habits. The chapter gives a list of solutions and tips on how to change that attitude.
††††††††††† In ďDriving Lessons: Exploring Systems That Make Traffic SaferĒ, Jessica chose to review chapter 19, which is called ďIs Using a Cell Phone Like Drunk Driving?Ē†† It revolves around the stereotype that using your cell phone while driving is very bad. They did case studies and found that most people involved in accidents had in fact used their cell phone within ten minutes prior to the accident. They also found that the longer a person owned a cell phone, the lesser the risk factor.
††††††††††† Question four asks Jessica to choose three student reports from G15 and summarize them. After summarizing a report, she wrote conclusions about them. In general, I think that summarizing and reviewing these reports helped her to be more aware of her own driving skills. One report in particular made her feel more negative about her driving habits. The person who wrote that report had only three negative thoughts in a week and that was eye-opening for her to see that itís possible to change your thoughts.
††††††††††† Question five asks her to review table 5 in the lecture notes and replace the given examples with her own examples. The table lists driver competence skills and then gives examples of negative and positive driving for each skill. Then Jessica goes over why our society has such a big driving problem. One reason is that there is not enough driver education. Also, drivers fail to see that they are not the only drivers on the road. Another factor is that drivers donít see the reality of the dangers of driving. We focus on and get upset about soldiers dying in a war but we donít see millions of people dying or getting hurt on the road due to our driving.
††††††††††† She says that Dr. Leon James has many solutions and tips for dealing with negative and aggressive driving on the road.† She hopes that his solutions will be more and more accepted in society and that more people will give them a try.
††††††††††† Question seven asks her to do four of the exercises that are given in our textbook. After doing each exercise, she wrote her reaction. In the first exercise, she filled out a checklist on how passenger-friendly she was. She felt that this was really bad because she realized just how passenger-unfriendly she was and she said that it was because she was very stubborn and proud. She realizes that she needs to listen to her passengers more often.
††††††††††† The second exercise was to witness her aggressive driving. She does not do a lot of the aggressive actions but knows that she does speed, honk and ignore her passengersí comfort. She acknowledges it and admits that she needs to work on modifying them. The third exercise was a checklist on her road rage tendencies. She found herself to be very aggressive. She wants to try a driving log and feels that it would help her change her negative habits. The fourth exercise was a checklist on verbal road rage. She never thought of verbal road rage as road rage but now knows that she needs to control them.
††††††††††† After doing all of these exercises, she realized a lot. She knew she was negative but she didnít know she was exhibiting aggressive driving to that extent.† She also did the exercises with her fiancť and her fiancť was shocked to find how aggressive he was. Jessica feels that is the problem with drivers today. We underestimate the negativity and risk of how we drive. We tend to view othersí driving as aggressive but not our own.
††††††††††† In question ten, Jessica goes over how positive supportive driving relates to the driverís threefold self.† She gives examples of how each domain can be positive.† She believes that driving is a moral issue because when you have passengers in a car or if there are other cars or pedestrians on the street, you are responsible for their well-being as well as your own. However, she is resistant to the idea of mandatory QDC classes because she feels that it is not realistic.
††††††††††† In the end, Jessica gave similar advice to future generations that previous students gave. She also says that students should not procrastinate in this class. She also tells us to speak up in class and voice our opinions. This is good because it keeps you participating and can bring up issues that may not have been brought up before.
††††††††††† I chose Tiffany Bumanglangís first report entitled ďMy Understanding of Driving PsychologyĒ.† It can be found at http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409as2006/bumanglag/bumanglag-409a-g24-report1.htm . Her reportís format seemed very similar to our report.
††††††††††† The first section went over the theory of driving psychology and the charts that go along with it. Table 1 that is found in the lecture notes goes over what driver psychology is and explains the skills and errors found in the three domains of driver behavior. Table 2 shows the 18 different zones of driver behavior. Each domain is divided into three levels and in each level, there are two zones for skill and error. Tiffany goes on to explain each table. These tables can be found at www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy24/409a-g24-lecture-notes.htm#Charts .
††††††††††† Table 3 goes over the driver personality makeover plan. It includes two stages where the first stage is to avoid being an aggressive driver and the second stage is to become a supportive driver. In order to do this, one must follow the three-step driver self-improvement program. Table 4 now covers the three-step plan which is also called the AWM approach.† The steps are to acknowledge the issue, witness the problem behavior, and then modify the behavior.
††††††††††† The next section goes over the basic principles of driving psychology. Tiffany goes over four different principles. The first principle is that there are three levels of emotional intelligence that drivers are in. We must strive to be at level 3 of emotional intelligence.† The second principle is the driverís three-fold self.† It is that when a driver follows the AWM approach, they can modify the way they are in their three domains of behavior.
††††††††††† The third principle is that driving behavior, whether positive or negative, is transferred to children through the adults that raise them and drive them. Children will learn by observing how their parents or other adults drive. They will mimic the negative behaviors when they drive. The fourth principle is that the opposite of aggressive driving is supportive driving. Supportive driving is the style of driving that we must all learn.
††††††††††† The next section discusses the three domains of driving behavior. The three domains are affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor.† The affective domain deals with the driverís feelings. These can be negative like anger. The cognitive domain deals with the driverís thoughts and reasoning.† Finally, the sensorimotor domain deals with the actual behaviors and actions the driver exhibits. Examples are given for each domain to better explain the concept.
††††††††††† Next, Tiffany chose two student reports from previous generations. One report talked about a driving situation that could have been dealt with negatively.† However, the student saw that she could not control other drivers and instead of getting upset, she backed off. This helped avoid a risky situation. Another student reported that more emphasis should be on a driverís mood. Tiffany disagreed with this saying that this student is blaming her mood instead of her thoughts and choices.
††††††††††† Next, she made a driving personality makeover for herself. She admits to being an aggressive driver because she tends to speed a lot. She knew that she did this because she left her house late and felt rushed to get to where she was going. For her plan, she decided to change her schedule, stick to the speed limit, and only follow the flow of traffic. From doing this, she found that she was a lot calmer and not stressed out on the days that she left earlier. She did not feel rushed and therefore did not feel the need to speed and get frustrated with other drivers.
††††††††††† Finally, like all the other students, she gave her advice to future generations.† Her advice is to take what we learned from this class and spread the word to others like family and friends. She also gave great advice on doing our reports. Instead of focusing on not procrastinating, she told us to check out other previous reports and use them as sort of guidelines. She says we need to fully grasp the concept of driving psychology and spread the word to the world that driving psychology is here and that it is necessary.
††††††††††† At first, I didnít know what purpose this type of learning behavior served.† I felt like reading five reports that were almost exactly alike would be pointless and repetitive.† However, after reading all five, I found that each of them brought up new points that I had not read about or thought of before.† Each paper that I read helped to clarify a concept that I had not fully grasped. In that sense, reading previous reports done by other students is a great way to learn. You not only get ideas on how to write your own paper, but you gain insight into how other people view driving psychology and its principles.
††††††††††† When I started this section, I had wanted to write basic summaries about what each report was about. However, especially with the first two reports I reviewed, I felt that there was so much information that I wanted to cover that was not covered in the rest of my report. I felt that I needed to go over the concepts and examples that they gave in order to better explain what this class is all about. Reading the reports was not enough. Actually having to break down the report and review it really helped to embed the concepts into my mind.
††††††††††† There are two different types of learning involved with this method. One is what I went over about reading other studentsí reports. The other is actually writing a report such as this. The point of this is not to just write and fill up pages but to see and help you clarify your thoughts about driving psychology. Doing this report, I found that each section taught me more about what we were actually learning. It forced us to view the concepts and relate it to ourselves. I think that is one of the best ways to learn. When you relate it to yourself and make examples, you understand more clearly and you implement the theories into your life.
Section E: My Driving Personality Makeover Field Experiment
††††††††††† †A driving personality makeover plan has two stages, as is explained in section A. The first stage is to avoid being an aggressive driver and the second stage is to become a supportive driver. In order to get through both stages, we need to make use of the three-step driver self-improvement program. This program asks the driver to acknowledge, witness, and modify their negative behaviors. When this program is used repeatedly for each habit, a driver can get from stage one to stage two of their makeover.† All habits need to be changed at the affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor domains. I will focus on the affective domain for my makeover.
††††††††††† According to the three-step program, I first started out by acknowledging and witnessing my behavior. I know that I am an aggressive driver. Actually, Iím a very defensive driver. About two years ago, I was involved in a major accident where I was the driver. I was driving on a main road and did not see the traffic light. It happened to be red and I rammed my car into a big Dodge truck and a minivan. It was completely my fault and I thought that I would be traumatized by it and wouldnít be able to drive. It turns out that I had no problems driving again right away but the difference was that I was a lot more cautious.
††††††††††† I donít mean cautious as in driving slowly or overly defensive. I would drive my normal speed and such but the smallest events would cause me to scream or get very scared. My pulse starts racing and I tense up. Itís the worst when Iím crossing an intersection or when itís actually someone else driving. I guess itís because I know that I have no control over the other driver or other cars in the intersection. This has caused me to be a very irritating passenger as well as a very defensive driver. I wonít tolerate other drivers driving recklessly.† If I feel that another driver is putting me in danger, I get very upset.
††††††††††† The main feeling or behavior that I wanted to change had to do with my affective and cognitive domains. I get easily irritated and angry with other drivers. I find myself saying mean things when someone cuts me off or when drivers seem like they are trying to swerve into my lane. I feel defensive because I donít want to get into another accident. I normally donít swear or put people down but when I drive, I found that I swear a lot and I am constantly saying degrading things about the other drivers.† I acknowledged that I do these things and I knew I needed to change.
††††††††††† The next step for me was to witness these behaviors while I was driving. I found that majority of the time, I am very considerate. I try to be aware of other drivers and let them into my lane if they need to get in. However, once something happens to anger me, everything seems to start irritating me. The main thing that gets me upset is when another aggressive driver drives recklessly. I feel that they put other cars in danger and I guess I turn into an automotive vigilante. I feel the need to chase them down and teach them a lesson. In my affective domain, I feel anger and worry for my safety.
††††††††††† My cognitive domain contributes to how I feel and it can be seen by how I evaluate situations. A lot of the time, I will be biased and not see that I did something wrong. It is hard for me to be objective and not have a self-serving bias. I assume and reason that the other driver is purposely driving recklessly and I reason with myself that the other driver must be a rude and inconsiderate person. This makes me feel like I have the right to swear at the person and put him/her down. If they are putting other people in danger, they deserve to be punished, right? I witnessed that sort of thinking when I was driving. I also witnessed it when I was a passenger.
††††††††††† After acknowledging and witnessing these behaviors and feelings, the next step was to modify them. One thing that helped me get started in modifying my behaviors was re-evaluating my logic. I was getting upset because of how other drivers were behaving on the road. I still feel that drivers should be more considerate, but I realized that I can only change myself. I can only control my thoughts, feelings, and actions.† By getting angry, I knew that I was only stressing myself out and I was turning into a negative person that I didnít want to be.† When the thoughts in my cognitive domain changed, it was easier to change the other domains.
††††††††††† Now that I knew I could only control myself, I told myself that I should first change how I think about other drivers. While driving, there are always going to be people that try to cut you off or speed or tail you. Instead of getting upset, I tried to put them in a positive light. For example, a driver was obviously tailing me on the freeway one night. At first, I didnít realize that I was getting upset about it, but then I tried to think that maybe the person was in a rush to get somewhere. Instead of feeling anger, I felt sympathy for the person that might have been trying to rush home to a sick child. When I thought that way, I felt no anger or stress.
††††††††††† As a result, it was a lot easier for me to change my behaviors. Instead of being passive-aggressive and not switching lanes or speeding up, I decided that the right thing to do was to speed up to a point where the car could get around me. Had I been able to switch lanes to let him get past me, I would have done so. This was the first situation that I was in after starting my plan. It was the first step towards changing myself into a supportive driver.
††††††††††† My field experiment really showed me that I am in control of my emotions. Before, I would blame my anger and behavior on being traumatized by my accident. Now, although I still get scared when others are driving, I can control how I react. I no longer scream or get jumpy. I guess it was all something that I already knew. I just couldnít put my knowledge into practice. Driving for me is a lot calmer now and less stressful. While doing this experiment, especially after feeling calmer, I knew I had to teach it to my boyfriend.
††††††††††† My boyfriend is a very aggressive
driver. He does not like driving because he says that it is very stressful for
him. Supposedly, drivers in
††††††††††† He really wanted to change how he viewed other drivers and he wanted to change his impatience while driving. While carrying out his makeover, he noticed that he will automatically assumes that the other driver will do something negative or bad before they even do it. I asked him why he thought that and he says that heís just so used to people driving poorly that I expects it.† His first change was to modify that sort of thinking. It took a really long time but eventually, he started to get not necessarily more positive but a lot less negative. I guess it will take time but Iím glad to see that there are good changes occurring to both of us.
††††††††††† We both tried changing only one bad habit or behavior and we know that there are so many more behaviors that need to be changed. It will take a really long time and the only way that we can do this is to never forget to self-witness.† Once you stop self-witnessing, you will stop being aware of what you are doing or thinking. I think that is the most important aspect of this program. You need to always be aware of yourself. Supportive driving isnít only about being aware of other drivers; it is also about being aware of what you are doing and how you are driving. We wonít ever change if we stop doing that.
Section F: Advice to Future Generations
††††††††††† Before taking this course, I had no idea what to expect. I had a completely different idea of what driving psychology was because I had never before heard of the term. From the first meeting, however, I knew that this was a course that I had always needed.† Just from being in this class, I learned to realize and accept that I have very negative and aggressive driving habits. I had always thought of road rage as being extreme and that although I speed and get angry, I never exhibited road rage. I found that was not necessarily true. I do exhibit forms of aggressive driving.
††††††††††† After realizing that so many of us actually practice the habit of aggressive driving, it was good to learn that there were things that we could do to break the bad habits. I found the three-step driver self-improvement program to be very helpful. At first, the concept seemed very obvious and general, but it is something that helps me a lot when I try to break down my negative habits and change them.
††††††††††† When registering for this course, I couldnít really understand why this kind of class was being offered as an upper-level psychology course. I felt like it was a very interesting and necessary course but I couldnít see why it was so important and related to psychology. †After doing this report, however, especially section B, I learned that driving is such an important part of peopleís lives that itís not possible to keep the topic out of psychology. The concepts learned in this class all stem from concepts learned and studied in other fields like social, cultural, and emotional/personality psychology.
††††††††††† All of these things that I learned throughout this semester helped me be more aware of my driving habits.† It has helped me to be more aware of my feelings and to stop my anger and frustrations from controlling my behaviors. It was also good because I could take this knowledge and teach it to my friends and parents.† My boyfriend in particular learned a lot from this material and we are now able to communicate better in the car. As a passenger, I feel that he tries to listen to me more and he takes measures to stay away from risky driving situations.
††††††††††† A concept that was difficult to grasp but was clarified for me in the end was the concept of the three domains or the driverís three-fold self. It was difficult to make examples for affective domain. This idea that the affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor domains form our behaviors and personas taught me that I can have better control over my reactions and how I behave on the road as not only a driver but a passenger as well. This also leads into emotional intelligence. After hearing this term, I know that I need to strive towards reaching the third level of emotional intelligence.
††††††††††† I have many ways of applying this material into my life. I am already trying to incorporate the material that I learned into my own driving skills. I plan on continuing to follow through with my makeover plan and hopefully my boyfriend will soon try his own plan as well. I feel that the information learned in this class isnít just for us. Itís not material that we learn to help us in our careers. It is information that we need to go out and teach to the public.
††††††††††† Another important fact that I came away with was how driving affected children. Children will imitate what they see. Itís no different when you are in the car. So many drivers are aggressive and exhibit negative behaviors. When children see this, they will grow up to drive that way as well because that is what they will think is the norm. Itís no wonder our society and generationís norms are so negative. Itís all a learned habit. I know that I want things to be different when I am older. In order to do that, I know that I need to be more positive when driving and be more aware of how I drive especially in front of my future children.
††††††††††† First of all, my advice to future generations is to really keep up with the material that is taught. Keep up with the outlines and donít put them off until the very end. Also, start your paper early on. This isnít so that you can get the best grade possible. It is so that you give yourself enough time to fully comprehend the concepts.† The more you think about them and talk to other people about them, the more clear they will be and you will be able to write a better report.
††††††††††† Also, donít take this course and then forget about the concepts a month after the semester is over. Just like Dr. James says, driving education should continue throughout our entire lives as drivers. We should keep up with technology and shouldnít forget to practice self-witnessing. I urge future students to incorporate this material into their daily lives and educate their family and friends about driving psychology.
Section G: Links
My Home Page: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409af2006/kim/kim-home.htm
G25 Class Home Page: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy25/classhome-g25.htm† †