Report #1

My Understanding of Driving Psychology

By: Kasey Vanderhoof

 

Instructions are found at:

www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy25/409a-g25-report1.htm

G25 Lecture Notes on Driving Psychology are found at:

www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy25/409a-g25-lecture-notes.htm

 

Two Stages of a Driving Personality Make Over Plan

 

Aloha, my name is Kasey Vanderhoof and I am a student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I am currently taking a psychology course entitled Driving Psychology.As I understand it, Driving Psychology tries to teach people how to become emotionally intelligent drivers by teaching them about aggressive behaviors and road rage which leads too many car crashes around the world.The following pages will expand on my knowledge and understanding of Driving Psychology.The table I will be discussing under this subtitle comes from www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy25/409a-g25-lecture-notes.htm#charts.After clicking on this link please scroll down to table three.

 

The first thing you need to do to change your driving style is to avoid being an aggressive driver and this happens in stage one.To do this you must become aware of your threefold self, which includes the effective self (which is the feelings that you have), the cognitive self (which includes your thoughts), and the sensorimotor self (which is the actions that you partake in).To become a completely competent and emotionally intelligent driver you must force yourself to discontinue use of your old habits and train yourself to become a completely different person on the road.You must become a reformed driver.In the following paragraphs I will explain the threefold self in more detail as it pertains to becoming a non-aggressive driver.

 

The first thing you must do is to change yourself at the affective level and in order to do this you must overcome the resistance you have to change.After you have made up your mind to change you must constantly remind yourself to not become angry or upset and you must not allow yourself to retaliate against a driver who has upset you, this is if you even allowed them to do so.

 

You must also start to willingly allow your passengers to critique your driving style without letting yourself get angry or annoyed and if you listen closely you might just realize that they probably have some good advise on how you could improve your driving, especially considering that a passenger is a person on the outside, so to say, looking in on your driving habits.Listening to what your passengers have to say not only classifies you as a less aggressive driver but may also help you to become a less aggressive driver when it comes to other aspects of your driving behavior.

 

Next, you must train yourself to not belittle other drivers even when they do stupid things.You need to realize that the other driver is a person just like you are and has feelings just like you do.How would you feel if someone said the things to you that you are feeling towards that other driver?You must remember that like yourself, the driver is just human and all humans make mistakes.You must learn not to ridicule and to not become angry with the other drivers humanly mistake and errors.When you do have those feelings you must learn to overcome them and eventually you must learn to not have those feelings anymore.

 

The last thing you must change at the affective level is to replace negative feelings with positive ones.By doing so you will not only feel less negatively towards others but the positive feelings that you possess will also make your inner self, your mind and body, feel better.When you become angry with another driver you become more stressed out and frustrated, your blood pressure rises and you become more acceptable to having a heart attack.Granted this may not happen when youíre 20 but if you are an aggressive driver at 20, more than likely you will be an aggressive driver at 60.On the other hand, if you change your anger into more positive feelings like compassion or love you may become more relaxed and may even be able to drive better.Contrary to popular belief, these feelings of aggression can be changed with time and patience.

 

The second thing you must do is to change yourself at the cognitive level.The first thing to do is to have reasonable thoughts when it comes to traffic events and incidents.You must learn to become a rational driver and realize that not every incident is the other personís fault.You must realize that it might be your fault as well for you are not always the innocent bystander.When you are able to change your attribution errors, such as it is never my fault, and are able to take responsibility for the mistakes that you make, the road may become less of a hostile environment.This is because you will not always be blaming others for the mishaps that occur on the road.

 

Next you must change your self-serving biased thoughts, especially in how you view incidents.People tend to think of themselves as the innocent person when it comes to driving incidents and accidents, especially those people who are aggressive drivers.Aggressive drivers tend to see themselves as the perfect driver and they believe that they do not need to change or improve their driving habits and behaviors Ė these thoughts are what are considered self serving biased thoughts.In order to become a non-aggressive driver you need to change these thoughts, which will then allow you to change your behaviors.You must come to realize that a traffic incident may be your fault just as easily as it may have been someone elseís fault.

 

The last thing that you must do at the cognitive level is to change the types of things that you say to yourself.The self-regulating sentences that you say to yourself must become more socially acceptable.Your thoughts must be ones that can control your feelings and actions in the most appropriate ways.You must learn to sooth yourself by saying things such as, ďhe didnít mean to cut me off so there is no reason for me to become angry and to chase him down.ĒBy saying these types of things to yourself, you are trying to control your irrational thoughts, which in turn will probably help you control your actions.This will help you to become a less aggressive driver.

 

Now, there is one last thing you need to change to avoid being an aggressive driver and this happens at the sensorimotor stage, which means that you now need to start acting in a less aggressive way.The first thing you can do is to start making pleasant gestures.For example, in Hawaii if someone allows us to go in-front of them because we need to switch lanes, we often respond with a wave or a smile to say thank you or if we accidentally cut someone off we wave to indicate that we are sorry (a wave might be a not so smart idea because they might think you are trying to be a wise guy).So remember, some kind of signaling to say thank you or to indicate that you are sorry is a good idea and may alleviate some stress in other drivers as will as yourself.

 

The next thing you need to do at this level is to act in less hostile ways concerning your driving behaviors.To do this you must make a conscious effort to not tailgate other drivers and when being tailgated donít slam on your breaks or donít slow down to an extremely low speed limit.Also, you donít want to cut people off (i.e. switching lanes right in-front of someone so that person has to slow down to allow for a comfortable amount of room between you and themselves).Donít speed up so that can get ahead of the crowd or ahead of a specific person.When you are coming onto the free way, remember that there are other people already driving on it and take that into consideration.The road doesnít belong to you, it doesnít belong to any specific person, and instead it is something that we all share.

 

Next, you need to take into considerations your passengers thoughts and feelings and learn to not disregard them.Often, aggressive drivers think that their passengers concerns are silly and actually react in hostile and unfriendly ways forgetting that their passengers are people who have feelings just as they do.Most drivers disregard their passengers concerns because they become defensive and attempt to defend their driving style not realizing that their actions and reactions probably hurt their passengers worse than their passengers concerns hurt you.In my eyes a passenger is a person who is looking at the situation (your driving habits) as an outsider and could actually give you some awesome advice as to how to improve your driving behaviors if you just open you ears and your mind, shut your mouth, and just listen.

 

The last thing that you need to do at the sensorimotor level and for stage one is to always seem like you are in a good mood even when you are not, especially while driving.If you drive while you are angry, your anger is likely to be seen through your driving behaviors.You are also more likely to be easily agitated by other driverís minor mistakes, which will then lead to a possible road rage episode.If you are able to act like you are in a good mood, you might actually be able to convince yourself that you are in a good mood, and then you might even realize that you are in a good mood.Being in a good mood while you are driving is a positive thing because it makes you less irritable and less likely to act in aggressive and hostile ways.

 

Now that you know hot to not be an aggressive driver and are actively avoiding being one, you must become a supportive driver; this is stage two of the two stages of a driving personality make over plan.During this stage you must still keep in mind the threefold self: yourself at the affective level, at the cognitive level, and at the sensorimotor level, you must now change your feelings, thoughts, and actions in such a way as to become a supportive driver.A supportive driver can empathize with other drivers and with the situation at hand.For instance, if you got into an accident, say someone rear-ended you, you would not immediately get mad and ask them what is wrong you with.Instead, you would make sure that they are okay and try to solve the problem in the most civil way.

 

Once again we will start at the affective level and will see what kinds of things we can do to become a supportive driver.This means that you must maintain a supportive attitude towards other drivers.The first thing you must do is to start feeling responsible for the mistakes and errors you make.Then you must find things that you can do to make your mistakes better.Letís remember a previous example.Say you are in Hawaii and you accidentally cut someone off (this is your mistake), you can fix your mistake (or make your mistake better) by politely waving to say youíre sorry.

 

Since in this stage you are just working on your feelings in different situations, you may not actually partake in this example mentioned above, not yet at least, but you may want to start feeling regret when you make a mistake while driving.If the person you cut off honked at you, you may also want to try to understand why they honked at you Ė you made a mistake, not to mention that a honk might mean that this person is an aggressive driver.

 

Once you are able to take responsibility for the way you feel while driving and start changing these feelings (you can tell that you are at this step when you began to regret feeling the way you do) you may not start to feel good about the way you are now behaving and more generally about yourself.You will feel better because you are treating others better, you are being more polite and kind, and are acting in a more civil manner.This is something that you should feel great about.You are becoming a better person on the road which will probably make you a better driver and a better person overall.

 

If you remember is stage one at the sensorimotor level, I said that you need to learn to not act aggressively toward passengers when they confront you with their concerns about your driving.Well, now you need to feel appreciation towards your passengers when they voice their concerns.If you are able to understand where your passenger is coming from and appreciate the advice they are offering you then you are on you way to becoming a better driver.You must remember that when a person is riding in a car that youíre operating, their lives are in your hands and if you are an aggressive driver you are more likely to injure them as well as yourself.Their advice is not given to try to criticize, it is offered because they are worried about their welfare as well as yours.So remember to appreciate what they have to say.

 

The last thing that you must begin to feel at the affective level is forgiveness.You must understand that other drivers are people just as you are and they make mistakes just like you do.When you are able to accomplish this, you are then ready to forgive other drivers as well as others in your life for their mistakes and weaknesses.Not all people are good at everything you are good at and if they were then everyone would be good at everything.This is because everyone would have the same strengths as the person sitting next to him or her, so to say.Since everyone cannot be good at everything we must appreciate people for their strength and forgive them for their weaknesses.

 

Now we are at the second part of stage two Ė the cognitive level.At the cognitive level you must begin to analyze driving situations in a more objective manner and to do this you must look at any situation as if you were not apart of it).You can start doing this by acknowledging and knowing the driving errors and mistakes that you make.By being able to recognize these mistakes that you are making, you will be able to fix them, just as with anything else.Once you are able to recognize your bad habits you can start planning on how to improve those habits and shortly after that you can begin practicing the modifications that you have made to your bad habits.By rehearsing these modifications, they will start to occur naturally without you having to practice them and youíll be on your way to success.

 

Not only do you need to analyze and change your driving habits in an objective manner but you also need to analyze other driverís behaviors objectively.While doing so you must also remain unbiased in your thoughts.When you are able to objectively do this in an unbiased manner you may come to realize that not all drivers intentionally do dangerous acts (most people donít want to hurt themselves).Sometimes these acts are merely mistakes.When another driver does something that angers you, remember that we live in a culturally diverse world and not all people are raised with the same types of values (and morals) that you might have been taught.So, when someone acts in a way that you disapprove of, donít be in such a hurry to judge or criticize them, instead think of reasons as to why they may have acted in that particular way.

 

Finally, the last thing that you need to do in stage two has to do with the sensorimotor level.In the other two levels you have began to feel and think in a more supportive and cooperative way.Now it is time to start behaving in a more supportive and cooperative manner.The first thing that you can do to become a driver with this type of attitude, a supportive and cooperative attitude, is to start anticipating the needs of others.You also want to become a helpful driver.For example, you may see another driver looking over their shoulder and from this action you may anticipate their need to switch lanes and you can help them by allowing them to move over in front of you.This is the first step that you can take in order to become a supportive and cooperative driver.

 

Next you must start saying nice things; you must start to verbalize nice sentiments towards yourself and others, including your passengers.For instance, say a passenger gives you some advice or voices their concerns.Instead of getting angry at them or trying to defend yourself and your driving behaviors, you might say something like, ďThank you for your advice and when I get into that situation again I will remember what you said,Ē or ďYour concerns about my driving habits are very important to me and I will keep them in mind.ĒBefore you were just trying to feel appreciation towards others and now you are acting in an appreciative way by expressing yourself in a nice manner.When you are able to stay calm and think and act in nice ways, people will not only like you more but more than likely you will also feel better about yourself.

 

Finally, you must start to relax and begin to enjoy the ride.Now that you are able to control your aggressive impulses and can act in a supportive manner, you can truly begin to enjoy driving.Assuming that you have continuously practiced the steps mentioned above (in this paper), your new and improved driving style should now happen naturally Ė you no longer have to practice what you have been learning.Since your driving behaviors have changed, you no longer get angry at other drivers mistakes or have aggressive impulses.Now you can truly relax while driving because you are no longer stressed out by it.Now that stress while driving and due to driving in not an issue, you can truly enjoy the drive and if you are a passenger, you can enjoy the ride.

 

I know many of you are probably thinking about whether or not all of this is actually possible.At first I didnít think it was but as I wrote this first section of my paper, I noticed myself becoming more and more aware of my driving behaviors, not to mention, I also paid more attention to my surroundings.I know that it does not seem like it is completely possible to not act is what we call an aggressive manner, i.e. cutting people off, but lets say that you do cut someone off, just make sure that you do not do so intentionally and start to become more aware of your surroundings and you may even want to attempt to apologize for your mistakes by waving or some other kind of polite gesture.

 

After writing this I taught it to a couple of my friends and now I would like to explain to you their reactions.Their reactions were all the same.They said, ďI donít need to change, I drive just fine.ĒThey thought that the ideas explained were kind of ridiculous although they did see the logic in my explanation but they didnít see the reality in it.They didnít think that this driving style could be achieved until I explained to them that the world will not change tomorrow but that these things need to start happening today while we drive in the car with our children because our children remember the attitudes we display and more than likely will display them themselves when they begin to drive.My friends understood this and said, ďWell, maybe within the next few generations these new types of driving behaviors will be possible.Ē

 

I believe that this new driving style is possible and can be achieved with a little bit of determination.If we make a conscious effort to behave more appropriately while driving, especially when there are children in the car, future generations are likely to drive in a more behaved and civil manner. I hope all of you reading this take it seriously, maybe even teach it to a fellow friend or family member in hopes to make a change for the better of human kind.I also hope we give changing our ways some serious thought and make an effort to do so, if not for you then for others and for the generations to come.

 

 

Driving Psychology

 

In this section I will explain the main principles of driving psychology, or at least what I believe the main principles to be.This principles include the obtainment of emotional intelligence, the three step driver self improvement plan, the effects road rage has on children, supportive driving, and lifelong driver education, which I got from the book entitled Road Rage and Aggressive Driving, Steering Clear of Highway Warfare written by Dr. Leon James and Diane Nahl.In the following paragraphs I will expand on these topics individually but first I would like to give you a definition of driving psychology.Driving psychology refers to the knowledge one acquires about how to use behavioral principles to modify one's behavior in traffic situations including driving as well as other forms of transportation such as riding a bicycle. A common goal in driving psychology is to modify one's old driving habits.

 

The first principle I will talk about is the obtainment of emotional intelligence for drivers.Being emotionally intelligent means understanding the different emotions that you have and why you have them.It means being able to tolerate frustration or provocation without becoming hostile or aggressive and being able to use positive and cooperative thinking to counteract negative and combative thinking.Emotional intelligence includes the ability to look at a situation in a calm manner and to consider alternative explanations as to why something happened, the ability to control your negative moods and attitudes towards others and the situation at hand, the ability to empathize with other drivers, the ability to stick with your plan (for example getting from point A to point B safely) despite the distracting frustrations that you may encounter, the ability to control and neutralize your aggressive impulses, and the ability to think positively.

 

There are three levels of emotional intelligence.In level one you are an oppositional driver, meaning you have negative feelings about almost every situation you encounter.You have an irrational sequence of thoughts and hostile actions that are selfish, reckless, and impulsive.You constantly express some sort of criticism towards other drivers and often feel insulted by other drivers and are insecure because of this.At this level of emotional intelligence you are more than likely going to partake in road rage because every little thing that someone else does is taken personally and you are out to get revenge.

 

The second level of emotional intelligence has to do with defensive driving.At this level your thoughts are more logical but still dangerous as your actions show.You now become suspicious, wary, and competitive but are more capable of restraining yourself.When you become a defensive driver you become more aware of your surroundings and are almost capable of avoiding any dangerous incident that may occur, say an accident.Although being an aggressive driver seems to be a good thing, it has its drawbacks.Being an aggressive drivers means that you are more aware of your surroundings which also means you are more likely to notice the little mistakes that other drivers makes.Noticing these mistakes is likely to upset you because you are constantly seeing these mistakes and do not know how to properly control the urges you may have to retaliate due to a lack of emotional intelligence.

 

Finally, people who have obtained emotional intelligence at the third level, which is the highest level, are now considered supportive drivers. If you are able to maintain a high level of emotional intelligence while driving, you are more likely to act in a prosocial way, meaning you will be more helpful and friendly to others.Also, you will more than likely give another person the benefit of the doubt (meaning you will not automatically blame them for some mistake that they made), and you will be more optimistic about other drivers and the situation at hand.At this level you the least likely to engage in aggressive driving and it is extremely unlikely you will have a road rage episode.This is the level of emotional intelligence that we should all strive for.

 

The next principle of driving psychology I will be discussing is the three-step driver self-improvement plan.As the title of this principle suggests there are three things you must work on to become an emotionally intelligent driver.These three things are acknowledge, witness, and modify.First you must acknowledge that you need to obtain a better understanding of what road rage is.Then you must become a witness to your own and to others habits that could be changed.Finally, you must modify your bad habits.Now I will break each of these categories down and explain to you one by one.

 

Being able to acknowledge your bad habits is the most difficult step that you must accomplish in this three-step process but it is also the most vital.If you are unable to acknowledge these habits then you will not be able to change them because as with anything else the first step you need to take in order to change is to acknowledge that you have a problem, such as aggressive driving or road rage.There are thousands of things that you can change in order to become a better driver but the simplest thing to do is to take the things that you want to change and do so one by one.These things could include habits of feeling a certain way when something happens, habits of thinking a certain way about a certain event or person, and habits of operating your vehicle.

 

Next, you must become your own witness to the things you need to improve on.This means that you must make your own self-observations and you must begin to monitor yourself.Something can be observed by people other then yourself and these things include your driving speed, your following distance, whether or not you have been drinking, running red lights, crossing a double line, failure to yield, making insulting or threatening gestures, yelling, and more.Things that only ourselves can witness includes things such as the amount of pressure we apply to the break, how hard we grip the steering wheel, our physical state of being (whether we are sick or not), and more.

 

A person who is beginning to self-witness will often describe a particular driving event in such a way as to gain self-knowledge.This will help you determine what upsets you and will allow you to eventually find methods to help you modify these habits.When being your own witness you might want to try to decipher what your mood or emotional state is, what aspects of the environment or situations you tend to focus on, how you react to specific situations, what kinds of things you fantasize about, what kinds of things your think or say to yourself, and what you actually intend on doing in specific situations.There are many negative and positive events that you could witness but what events occur all depends on the individual.

 

Finally, the last thing that you must do to complete the three-step driver self improvement program is to modify your old habits and you can only do this after you have acknowledged these habits and have witnessed yourself doing these things.These step can be quite overwhelming because there might be so many things to change so what you have to do is break the process down into small parts and work on one target behavior at a time.In order to be successful in changing these habits, which you have been actively participating in your whole life, you must systematically map your emotions, thoughts, and deeds behind the wheel, which if you remember sounds a lot like mapping out your three fold self.

 

During the modifying stage there are three different aspects of yourself that you can modify, which include your emotions, thoughts, and actions as mentioned above.The emotional aspects of your driving habits that you can change include not letting yourself enjoy thoughts of revenge and torture and avoiding retaliation when another driver insults you.The thoughts that you can change are reinforcing the idea that your passengers have their rights and to stop thinking that some drivers are idiots and whatever other names you use.Some actions you could change are leaving the house earlier so that you donít have to rush, increasing the following distance that you allow, and signally sooner before changing lanes.These are just a few examples of the three categories.I could keep going on but then you would have pages consisting of lists so I will let you build off of my small list.

 

The next principle of driving psychology that I will be discussing is the effects that road rage has on children and how these children are likely to grow up being aggressive drivers.When people are driving they do not try to hide their aggressiveness because they are often proud of it and because of this it is quite common for children to hear adults, including their parents, yell, swear, and belittle other drivers.Children often learn their habits by modeling those that they look up to, which means they will often do and say what their parents, other adults, and older children do and say.Also, when a driver, who has children in the car, becomes hostile, the children might get caught up in the hostility that the driver is participating in and may begin to enjoy this hostility, which appears to be like a game to the children.

 

In order to keep children from becoming aggressive drivers we must begin with controlling our own thoughts and actions, especially when there are children in the car and then when children behave in appropriate ways while in the car we must remember to give them verbal rewards.These rewards include telling them that they are being very good passengers and even thanking them for it.Being a good passenger includes them keeping their seatbelts on, not jumping around and yelling in the car, reminding others to wear their seatbelts or to sit quietly, etc. and you should remember to also verbally reward them for these things as well. Children often behave in the same ways in the future when they are rewarded.This is why rewarding a child is a good idea; it reinforces their good behaviors.

 

The next principle of driving psychology that I will talk about is supportive driving, which you probably remember hearing about in the two stages of a driving personality make over plan discussed above.Supportive driving is a style of driving that allows you to accept all other drivers and the cultural diversity on the road.People driving on the roads come from a wide arrange of places which means that their driving styles may differ from your driving styles.Being a supportive driver means understanding and adjusting to this great diversity of highway users and steering clear from thoughts about this diverse group of people that may lead to road rage.††

 

Supportive driving involves a positive and supportive attitude towards other drivers, understanding that others need to drive just as much as you do, understanding that others have just as much right to be on the road as you do, not taking things so personally, and practicing lifelong driver self-improvement (which may be easier to do if you join a Quality Driving Circle or QDC).When in a QDC you will be taking the same exact steps mention above in the three step driver self improvement plan but instead of doing it alone you will have others there that can help you improve and that you can help improve.QDCís are a group of being who are supporting you and helping you to achieve your goals as a driver.Being able to be a supportive person in this group could really help you become a supportive person out of the group.

 

Finally, the last principle of driving psychology is life long driverís education.Life long driverís education is a program that starts at early childhood, possibly even preschool.You are probably wondering what you could teach to preschoolers that would make them less aggressive drivers when they become of legal age.Well, the first thing to do would be to have adults act in a more appropriate manner when there are children in the car because their behaviors do rub off on children.Then you could make a game out of being a polite driver.For a few hours every week you could have children drive in those toy cars that they have nowadays along a fake road that is made on the playground.While driving these preschoolers would have to practice all the good aspects of driving, which they will be rewarded for.When they behave badly they are punished.

 

Right now all we have is driverís education for teenagers, which is a good thing.The only thing wrong with driversí education today is that it promotes the driving behaviors that everyone possesses by not teaching people emotional intelligence.If we add an emotional intelligence part to driverís education, along with the practice children will get in preschool, we might find out that non-aggressive driving behaviors are actually possible.All driversí education teaches teenagers today is the basic knowledge needed to pass the written test and the road test.Driversí education needs to go beyond this and begin to teach all aspects of driving.

 

Finally, as an adult that has gone through all of this training you must keep on the right track by practicing all of the things taught to you until it becomes a natural part of your life.Now you see why I say that aggressive driving and road rage will not end tomorrow but that it needs to start to be prevented today.To become a non-aggressive driver we must start at a very young age and this means teaching our children through modeling and school activities that the right way to drive is non-aggressively.

 

I believe that driving psychology relates to two different types of psychology including social psychology and experimental psychology with the main reason being that in most psychology classes you tend to learn a lot about yourself which I am also having the pleasure of doing in my driving psychology class.I believe that driving psychology relates a lot with social psychology because driving psychology really is a social thing, contrary to popular belief.For example, in social psychology you learn how we become social beings and in driving psychology you learn how you need to be a social being in order to be a supportive driver.I feel that experimental psychology relates to driving psychology because in order to become a supportive driver you kind of need to do an experiment on yourself and you learn the procedures of carrying out an experiment in experimental psychology, hence the name.

 

I believe that driving behaviors are not mentioned in any other psychology courses because driving is not really thought of as a psychological thing to many people.I did not even think of driving in this way until I took this driving psychology course.I feel that driving is something that is taken for granted and because, as driving psychology books state, driving is such a natural thing it does not seem like it would really be something to discuss.You do not realize what a big part of your life driving is until you actually sit down and think about it and I believe this to be the reason why driving behaviors are not mentioned in other psychology courses.

 

Three Domains of Driving Behavior

 

In this section I am going to find the five occurrences of the phrase ďthree domainsĒ from the website www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy25/409a-g25-lecture-notes.htm. After finding each separate occurrence I will summarize what is being said about the three domains in that instance.Then I will explain how the three domains relate to other aspects of psychology.I will also explain how the three domains help me to understand my own behavior in everyday life.

 

The first occurrence of the phrase ďthree domainsĒ appears in the first paragraph of this article (the lecture notes).It is explaining what the three domains of behavior are.These three domains include the affective self, the cognitive self, and the sensorimotor self, as mentioned above in more detail.It also explains that the three domains is what defines someoneísí driving behavior and that the objective of a driving psychology course (this one in particular) is to become aware of the three domains and to eventually become capable of modifying these domains.

 

The second occurrence of the phrase ďthree domainsĒ appears at the end of the fourth paragraph.In this instance it is saying how children acquire the driving styles of adults, including their parents, and characters in the media.These media influences include cartoons, movies, television, magazines, commercials, and I believe the news, which has its positive and negative effects on children.It talks about how children have been exposed to years of aggressive driving behaviors by the time they are old enough to drive.It is said that they are exposed to these aggressive driving behaviors in all three domains.They are exposed to hostile feelings (the driverís affective self), biased thoughts (the driverís cognitive self), and aggressive actions (the driverís sensorimotor self).

 

The third occurrence of the phrase ďthree domainsĒ appears in the heading for table one.Here it is stating that there are both skills and errors that may occur within the three domains.The skills are the positive things that you can do within your threefold self (also known as the three domains) and the errors are the mistakes that anyone is capable of making within the three domains.It gives examples of both skills and errors that may occur in each of the three domains.

 

The fourth occurrence of the phrase ďthree domainsĒ appears under the heading of the Basic Principles of Driving Psychology.The three domains are apart of the basic principles of driving psychology.It also explains that driving norms appear in all three domains.

 

The fifth and last occurrence of the phrase ďthree domainsĒ appears in the seventh principle of driving psychology.It states that driving is a habit that occurs in the three domains, meaning that each of the three domains has habits of their own, whether they are good or bad habits depend on you.Also, since driving is a habit in three domains of behavior it is possible to modify your habits through self-monitoring.It also says that specific habits in each domain must be addressed in order to improve your driving behaviors.

 

I believe that these three domains relate to other aspects of psychology because thoughts and feeling precede all actions that anyone partakes in.When learning about different aspects of psychology, such as social psychology, personality psychology, human sexuality, as well as others, you learn about different things people do and often are taught how to understand these actions through learning the different thought processes that people have.You are often taught that people think certain ways due to the way they feel, such as depressed or happy, and that they often act in such ways to express their feelings (e.g. they may mope around if they are depressed or act in an energetic manner if they are happy).††††††

 

Learning about the three domains has really helped me to better understand my own behaviors in everyday life.Now, I am aware that my actions are a product of my feelings and thoughts and if I am able to control my feelings and thoughts then eventually I might be able to control the way I act.I now understand that my behaviors are actually in my control (I knew this to some degree before but now I know that all of my behaviors can be controlled if I set my mind to it).I now understand that the bad habits that I exhibit while driving may be changed if I make the decision to change my feeling and my thought patterns and if you want me to be honest, I have actually noticed a change for the better in my driving behaviors and habits since taking this driving psychology class.

 

Student Generational Reports on Driving Psychology

 

For this section I will be choosing five reports from five past generations, one report from each generation.For reviews two through four, the students needed to answer specific questions proposed by Professor Dr. Leon James.Although I will briefly explain each question, please visit the students report by clicking on their link in order to view the questions in their entirety and in order to view their detailed reports for these reviews are just summaries.One by one I will summarize what the reports represent and I will do so in this order:

1.      www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409as2004/arakaki/report1.htm , By Jenny Arakaki

2.      www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409as2005/lee/409a-g22-report2.htm , By Robert Lee

3.      www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409af2004/higa/409a-g21-report2.htm , By Jennifer Higa

4.      www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409as2006/stevens/stevens-409a-g24-report2.htm, By Derrick Stevens

5.      www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409af2005/trujillo/trujillo-409a-g23-report2.htm , By Jessica Trujillo

 

The first review I will do is on a report done by Jenny Arakaki from generation 20 and can be found at www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409as2004/arakaki/report1.htm.In her paper this person has a section entitle preface, an introduction section, a section that defines terms you find in driving psychology, an autobiography section, a conclusion, and a place where she gives advice to future generations.Now I will give you a brief summary of what Jenny Arakaki had to say and if you would like to read her article in full, then please click on the link given above.

 

In the preface section she describes what driving psychology is as well as the fact that we live in a place where everyone is always rushing and that we should all take the time to relax and enjoy the ride.She also explains the concept of the accordion effect, which I found to be quite interesting so I would like to explain it here.The accordion effect is when one driver steps on their breaks causing others to do the same and this causes the gaps between cars to become smaller but when traffic begins to move the gaps begin to increase because of the delay in each car to start moving.

 

In the introduction section she just explains what she understands driving psychology to be and how she believes she will benefit from this class.In the definition section she explains quite a few definitions that are apart of driving psychology.She explains the three-fold self, the self-witnessing methodology, road rage, the aggressive driving legislation, the driverís emotional intelligence, the driverís emotional spin cycle, newsgroups for drivers, lifelong driverís education, scofflaw, and what a left lane bandit is.In the autobiography section she explains some of her bad driving habits, how the media plays a role in the lives of young drivers, she explains where she believes to have picked up these driving behaviors, and finally claims how ironic it is that her driving behaviors are so different from that of her parents.

 

Finally, in the conclusion she describes how the class has made her aware of her driving habits and how she is trying to change these habits.There is one more section in her paper but I kind of explained it in the beginning but I shall say it one more time.She has a section entitled future generations where she tells people that we must improve our driving styles and in order to do this we must learn from our mistakes and try to change them.

 

The second review I will do is a report done by Robert Lee from generation 22 and can be found at www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409as2005/lee/409a-g22-report2.htm.This personís paper is broken into sections according to questions that Dr. Leon James wanted his class to answer.This person is answering questions 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7.I will explain what these questions are in a minute.Each question also has multiple parts to it.

 

For the first question, Robert Lee talked about a table that can be found in his report.He describes what the three-fold self is and what they mean to him and he sees these things as what motivates us as we are driving.He then gives an example of the three domains and how it pertains to a certain type of individual such as a highly competitive person.Next he makes a driving personality makeover plan for himself based on the three-fold self.He talks about how he often feels frustrated and angry while driving and that he tends to drive fast and recklessly.Finally, he tries to figure out how he can improve his driving and he realizes he can through accepting others flaws and apologizing for his own.He also made the realizations that his attitude on the road really does ďstinkĒ.

 

For question three, he had to discuss two websites, which you can also look at through viewing his report.For the first two parts of the question he had to describe how the websites were different according to their appearance.He explained the drdriving homepage as homely and the drivers.com homepage as more professional looking.After talking about appearances, he lists some of the main differences between the two pages, such as the articles included, the newsletters, the style of the page, who the audience is likely to be for each website, he talks about the public relations or the policy, the advertising, the size of the website, and the ranking of each website.Also, he talks about what kind of websites each of the websites he talked about are linked to.

 

For question four, he had to do something like I am doing here but he had to choose six reports on driving psychology from generation 20.He then summarized each persons report, made his own conclusions about them and his reactions to their ideas, their methods, and their explanations, he explained what these people gained from doing their reports, and then added his own comments.He explained why he chose the reports he did and then goes on to explain each one individually.Each report he chose to do was different in some way.The first two were about defining things in driving psychology, the next two were about self-experiments, and the last two were about driver lifelong education.

 

For question five, he had to explain another chart that can be found by looking through Robert Leeís report.First, he puts chart into his report and replaces the already give examples with his own pertaining to the positive skills in the affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor self, and then gives his own examples pertaining to the errors people make concerning their affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor self as well.Next, he discusses why driving is such a big problem which he believes is due to the enormous amount of people driving and explains that there isnít a good solution to this problem because not many people see the problem.Finally, he explains the solutions that Dr. Leon James gives for the problem at hand and he mainly discusses the self-modification techniques.

 

For question seven, Robert Lee had to complete many of the exercise that Dr. Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl gives in his book entitled Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare.After completing the exercises, which you can view by looking at his report, he tells us about his reactions to doing the exercises, how they have helped him, and how the exercises helped him to better understand the concepts of driving psychology after doing the exercises with a friend.He found the exercises to be education and fun and they helped to be more aware of himself as a driver.When he did these exercises with someone else, it taught him to be more patient with others.He states that we have to learn to help others during stressful situations.

 

Next, Robert Lee does part of his report on the current generation or on people from his class.He does reports on three peoples oral presentations, which were done in class.The first one he discusses is on being a supportive driver.The second one he discusses is about changing the behaviors of drivers.The third presentation he discusses is about recognizing, observing, and recording road rage and aggressive driver and it is kind of similar to the concepts of acknowledge, witness, and modify three-step program that I have discussed above.After discussing the presentations that he chose to write about, he expressed whether or not he agreed with their ideas.Robert Lee states that he did agree with all of the ideas and he also explains why.

 

Finally, Robert Lee gives his own personal advice to future generations.He explains what you need to do in order to succeed in this class.He lets you know what to expect to learn and that you will probably learn a lot more than you initially expect to.His biggest piece of advice is to NOT procrastinate.

 

The third review I will do is a report done by Jennifer Higa from generation 21 and can be found at www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409af2004/higa/409a-g21-report2.htm.This personís paper is broken into sections according to questions that Dr. Leon James wanted his class to answer and is very similar to the review I just did on the report above.This person is also answering questions 1, 3, 5, 7, and 8, which I will also explain as I go through my review.In this report, each question also has multiple parts to it.

 

For question one, Jennifer Higa discusses the three behavioral domains, including the affective, cognitive, and senorimotor self.After explaining each of the domains, she explains the behavioral zones of driving.Then she gives an example of these things from her own driving behaviors.She claims that her driving style includes both positive and negative aspects of all the domains and then gives some personal examples to illustrate this point.Next, she makes her own driving personality makeover plan that includes two stages, the first being to avoid being an aggressive driver and the second stage is to become a supportive driver.To become a non-aggressive driver, Higa states that she needs to stop thinking that she is a perfect driver and that she has noticed herself becoming more of a supportive driver since she has taken this class.

 

For question three, Higa discusses two websites, which you can read more about by going to her report by clicking on the link that I have provided for you above.In her discussion she includes the main differences between the two websites, such as the differences in articles, newsletters, letters, style, probable audience, public relations or policy, advertising, the size of the website, and the ranking of each website.Higa states that these two websites are actually more similar to one another than they are different and goes on to explain these similarities.She says that the biggest difference between the two websites is the size of the main page although she says that each site is equal in information and content but drdriving is better in its overall message.

 

For question five, Higa discusses a chart entitled Emotionally Intelligent Driver Personality Skills.First, Higa copies the chart, deletes the examples that are already given, and then replaces them with examples that she makes up.These examples explain driver competence skills, aggressive (negative) driving, and supportive (positive) driving.She believes that driving is such a big problem because most people donít realize how dangerous and powerful a car can be and she thinks that there hasnít been an effective solution to aggressive driving and road rage because not to many people think itís an actual problem.She feels that although some people might adopt the techniques suggested to prevent road rage, many will not.

 

For question seven, Higa does some of the exercises that are presented throughout the Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare book.After completing these exercises she gives her reactions to them which were quite positive.She says that these exercises helped her to realize what kind of driver she really was.She then did the exercises with a friend and explained how this helped her to better understand the principles of driving psychology.She states that by doing these exercises she learned that driving psychology is all about realizing you have a problem and doing something about it to turn yourself into a supportive driver

 

.For question eight, Higa searched the internet and the University of Hawaii Electronic Library to find out what is known about risk and driving.She found that many journals have to do with drinking and driving and that this is a big concern of most drivers.The article that she chose, talked about the normal risks concerning drunk driving.She also found that the more safety features a car has, the more likely a driver is to drive recklessly.Higa goes on to discuss some of the influences certain things that we come in to contact with in everyday life can influence people and their driving.She also discusses some of the risk factors of being a young driver.

 

Finally, Higa gives some advice to future generations.She believes that the key to succeeding in this course would be to keep an open mind at all times.She also says that everyone must admit and accept the fact that we all have problems when it comes to driving.She also states, along with most other students, that you should not procrastinate.

 

The fourth review I will do is a report done by Derrick Stevens from generation 24 and can be found at www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409as2006/stevens/stevens-409a-g24-report2.htm.This personís paper is broken into sections according to questions that Dr. Leon James wanted his class to answer.This person is also answering questions 1, 3, 5, 4, and 2.I will explain these questions are I write my review.These explains might not be too explicit since this is just a summary of his report so if you want a detailed description of what he did, please go to his report by clicking on the link given above.

 

For question one, Derrick Stevens gave a brief review of the two text books that are used in the Driving Psychology course.The first book is entitled Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare written by Dr. Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl.According to Stevens this book gives you a unique perspective on the psychological aspects of driving.He states that the book is divided into three sections, each one having there own subtitle.The first section explains how drivers are emotionally driven and how these emotions can lead to negative thoughts and feelings.The second section of the book talks about emotional intelligence and how we can avoid aggressive driving, according to Stevens.The third section describes programs that have been proposed in order to reduce the rate of accidents that occur today.

 

The second book is entitled Driving Lessons: Exploring Systems That Make Traffic Safer and is edited by J. Peter Rothe.According to Stevens this book is about finding new solutions to the problem of aggressive driving and road rage, which is leading cause of many deaths on the road.We must find new solutions because the ones we are using now are not working.This book deals with the maintenance of the individual driver, the institutional sub-systems, and the technical sub-systems or the technological advancements that are being used to decrease traffic incidents and accidents.

 

Derrick Stevens also summarized chapter 8 on Supportive Driving in the Road Rage book and chapter 14 on Driving Skill written by Lawrence Lonero in the Driving Lessons book as a part of question one.He explains what supportive driving means to the authors and also gives us some examples that the authors use to explain ways to be a supportive driver, such as how you should treat drivers differently depending on their circumstances, such as the visitor driver versus the local driver situation.He then goes on to explain what driving skills are and the three contextualized areas of skill, according to how the author explains them. He then explains, in his own words, how these ideas can help solve the problems that society has concerning driving.

 

Finally, for question one, he explains how he believes that driving is a moral issue but that most people donít believe this and donít see anything wrong with their driving.He postulated the idea of launching a mass media campaign to make the public aware that this is a moral issue.He also states that the Quality Driving Circles (QDCís) is one program that he really likes and he states that it is one of his favorites.He then goes on to explain what a QDC is.Next, he taught the some of his family member about driving personality makeover and got their reactions.According to Stevens, his family was very open to the idea of this type of makeover and that he was pleasantly surprised by their reactions.

 

For question three, Stevens had to do something similar to what I am doing here and had to summarize three studentsí reports from the newsgroups, which you can find by looking at his report.Stevens explained what the students did.He also explains what the newsgroups cover and tells us why most people join these newsgroups.He then discussí his reactions to their ideas, methods, and explanations, and discussí what the students gained from doing these reports.He states that newsgroups are very similar to the online world that most people are familiar with.Finally, he searches for some driving newsgroups on his own and states that what he found was informative and interesting to him.He says that the best part about his is that you can make your own forums where people can respond with their personal opinions.

 

For question five, Stevens does some of the exercises that are found in the book Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare written by Dr. Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl.To find out the specifics of the exercises that he did please visit his report by clicking on the link that is provided for you above.After doing the exercise alone, he then does them with a friend and expresses how his friend has helped him to better understand the principles of driving psychology.By doing this he was able to witness first hand the cognitive and affective responses of his younger brother and it gave him a look into a young drivers mind.

 

For question four, Stevens writes about a table entitled Emotionally Intelligent Driver Personality Skills, which can be found by looking at his report.For this section he copied the chart into his report and described what he thought the table represented.He also gives his own version of the table where he replaces what is originally placed in the table with his own scenarios.

 

For question two, Stevens compares three different websites, two with were provide for him and one which he had to find himself.He explains the main differences between the three websites, including the differences in their style and content and the amount of advertisement offered for each website.He also gives the statistics and ratings for the three websites, which show us which website is most popular.

 

Next, he summarizes four previous reports, two which come from generation 22 and two that come from generation 23.Each report is the second report that the students did for the semester.He describes each report one by one, although I thought it could have been more complete and for this reason I donít much to say about this part of his report.

 

Finally, Stevens gives some advice to future generations.His biggest piece of advice, which is also given by many other people, is to not procrastinate.He also says that it is a good idea to apply this class to your life because it makes the class more exciting and relevant.He thinks that time management is very important in this class.

 

The fifth review I will do is a report done by Jessica Trujillo from generation 23 and can be found at www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409af2005/trujillo/trujillo-409a-g23-report2.htm. This personís paper is broken into sections according to questions that Dr. Leon James wanted his class to answer.This person is answering questions 2, 4, 5, 7, and 10. ††I will briefly explain these questions as I go through my review but like I said before, if you are interested in knowing exactly what this person did please look at their report by clicking on the link given above.

 

For question two, Jessica Trujillo gave a brief review of the two books used in class.The first book she discussed is entitled Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare written by Dr. Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl.According to Trujillo, this book is about aggressive driving and how it can affect health.It also discusses the various types of road rage and offers many checklists that you can use to determine what kind of driver you are.This book discusses supportive driving and what the steps and benefits are of becoming a supportive driver.

 

The second book is entitled Driving Lessons: Exploring Systems That Make Traffic Safer edited by Peter Rothe.According to Trujillo it discusses the three subsystems of driving.These subsystems are personal, institutional, and technical subsystems.She then goes into detail describing each of the subsystems as she understands them.

 

Next, she chose a chapter from each text and gave a brief summary about it.Trujillo chose to discuss chapter one in the Road Rage book which is entitled Driving in the Age of Rage and chapter nineteen in the Driving Lessons book which is entitled Is Using a Cell Phone like Driving Drunk? The chapter from the Road Rage book discusses whether or not road rage is real or if it is just media hype, according to Trujillo.Chapter nineteen from the Driving Lessons book is written by Donald A. Redelmeier and Robert J. Tibshirani and discusses a case study that was done to answer the question concerning cell phones.To find out the results please visit Trujilloís report by clinking on the link given above.

 

For question four, Trujillo chose three student reports from generation 15 and then summarized them.She also included a general conclusion section where she discussed her reactions to their ideas, their method, and their explanations.She discussed what they gained from doing their reports as well as how their ideas influenced her thoughts on the issues presented.The first report discussed the emotional spin cycle and how this student monitored her emotional cycle three times a day.The second report discussed things similar to the first report but also added in details about the American Society and how driving psychology has helped her and could help others.The third report discussed things similar to the first two reports but added in some information about her son and how his school is going to teach him emotional intelligence.

 

For question five, Trujillo discusses a table about driver competence skills and replaces the give examples with her own examples in order to explain what a aggressive (negative) driver, who is not emotionally intelligent, would do compared to a supportive (positive) driver who is emotionally intelligent.She believes that there are many reasons why driving is a big problem, such as the lack of good drivers education, the fact that people donít want to admit they are not the only drivers on the road, and that people donít take driving psychology seriously.Finally, she discusses some of Professor Dr. Leon James solutions to unsafe and aggressive driving.

 

For question seven, Trujillo takes some of the exercises that are offered throughout the Road Rage book and then discusses her reactions to these exercises and how they have helped her to become more aware of herself as a driver.Finally she does these exercises with a friend and discusses how this has helped her understand the principles of driving psychology.Trujillo found that the checklist showed her that she has a lot of control issues concerning her passengers and she thinks that the checklist helped her to realize that she needs to take into consideration her passengers concerns.The checklists helped her better understand that it is hard to notice your own faults but when you do these exercises with someone else and notice they are an aggressive driver then it is easier for you to accept the fact that you are one as well.

 

For question ten, Trujillo had to explain the supportive driving orientation relating it to the driverís threefold self.She gives some examples to help explain this orientation and how it pertains to the threefold self and discusses some of the benefits that some along with being a supportive driver, the biggest benefit being that it helps contain road rage.Trujillo goes on to say that she doesnít have much resistance to this orientation because she believes that driving is a moral issue.She discusses explaining the principles of driving psychology to her fiancť who is actually really interested in the subject matter and wants to change his driving style.

 

Next, Trujillo does part of her report of three reports from previous generations.Trujilloís information on this part is real limited making it difficult for me to say much.Basically, all she does her if give a three to five sentence summary stating only what they did but not including any amount of detail that would make a reader want to look at these students reports.

 

Finally, Trujillo gives some advice to future generations.Once again this section does not offer much information let alone much advice.All she really has to say is to start early on all the work that this course requires and that you should participate in class lectures.Once again, like other students, she says that you should not procrastinate.

 

Now I will make my own conclusion on the usefulness of this type of learning.I found this type of learning to be an alright style.I do believe that there are better ways to learn this material than this way although by doing it this way, the material gets implanted into your mind because you read the same thing over and over again.I do admit that I did learn a lot through this style of learning but it was quite repetitive and boring the further along you got.

 

You may be wondering why I wrote a semi-descriptive summary of the five reports that I chose to review.Well, to stop your wondering, I did it this way because, first of all, it helped me to remember the material better, and secondly, I thought that by giving some details it might make people reading my paper interested in reading these other papers.I then hoped that this might help encourage people to learn about driving psychology, which in turn will make more people become supportive drivers.I hope I have accomplished my goal and have made you more curious about driving psychology.

 

My Driving Personality Makeover Field Experiment

 

For my driving personality make over plan I decided to use the three-step driver self-improvement plan to improve the negative feelings that I possess towards other road users.This three-step process includes acknowledging my negative feelings, witnessing when they occur, and then modifying or changing the negative feelings that I have towards other drivers.Keep in mind that this is just a small experiment that I did on myself.I kept it small because of the small amount of time I had to do this experiment.In order to become a reformed driver you may need years of practice and unfortunately I did not have years to conduct this experiment but I do plan on continuing it after I finish this class because I believe it will make me happier as I have already noticed through changing just a few feelings.

 

After deciding what kind of plan to use I then took about three days to acknowledge and witness by feelings (I did the first two steps together because it was a little bit easier for me to do it this way Ė when I acknowledge that I was feeling negatively I decided to ask myself why I was feeling this way, what had the other driver done to ďmeĒ).At this point, I mentally noted what I felt and why and later wrote it down on a piece of paper.Since it is difficult to remember a lot of things I decided to concentrate on acknowledging and witnessing two feelings a day.

 

After a couple of days I had a decent size list of feelings to modify and since it takes a lot of work to modify these feelings, and by a lot of work I mean a lot of time because you constantly need to remind yourself not to do what you are used to doing, I decided to work on two feelings a week, which took two weeks to do since I had a list of six feelings that I wanted to modify.Although it was a lot of work, I really enjoyed doing it and I recommend doing an experiment on yourself and I will explain why in a little while.

 

I thought that the experiment went really well and I was able to change most of the feelings that I set out to change, the others I am still battling.I learned a lot about myself and that by changing the way I feel towards other drivers into a more positive way, I actually feel better about myself.I learned that if you can see the positive side of any situation you become happier in general.I guess this is because you are not always so mad at every little thing that happens that, in turn, you can actually enjoy the ride.I was really shocked at the feelings I had towards other drivers because I am usually a really nice person, or so I like to believe, but when I got on the road I noticed that quite a few things made me frustrated.

 

I began to feel frustrated when I was nice and let someone change lanes in front of me and they didnít even acknowledge that I made space for them.I became real frustrated when someone would tailgate me.I felt frustrated when someone cut me off, either because they didnít see me or because they needed to get into a lane and didnít care what they did to obtain what they needed, especially when they didnít bother to use a turn signal.I would become angry if someone flipped me off because I did something that they did not approve of, whether it was going to slow, making one of many possible mistakes that a person can make while driving, etc.These are just a few examples of things that I worked on so that you can get an idea of what I did.

 

After acknowledging and witnessing these behaviors, it was time to modify them and once again I will explain what I did using the examples I mentioned above.For the most part, I could modify all these feelings by reminding myself of just a couple of things.First, I would tell myself, ďWhy should I let someone elseís behavior decide how I am going to allow myself to feel?ĒYou must always remember that others donít make you feel a certain way but that you allow yourself to feel that way.Then I would remind myself that I want to enjoy my ride, it is something that I have to do everyday and I would rather enjoy doing it than being pissed off all the time and in order to do that I need to be courteous to other drivers and feel positively towards them no matter what happens.

 

By constantly reminding myself of the two things above I was able to accomplish my goal.I was able to change the few feelings that I set out to change and I felt good about it.I plan on continuing this experiment because I believe that it will make me a better person and I actually enjoyed doing it.I think by continuing this experiment, although I wouldnít call it an experiment anymore, I think that I can make myself be a better person on and off the road.In order to make this possible, I will need to continue acknowledging, witnessing, and modifying my feelings as well as my thoughts and actions, but what I have noticed is that through changing your feelings you kind of tend to change your thoughts and feelings as well, or at least that is what happened with me.

 

Hopefully, you now understand why I said that I would recommend doing this experiment, but if not I will explain again just because I really hope you do it.First off, I learned so much about myself.I learned how good it feels to just relax while driving.Why do you want to be all stressed out and irritated while doing something that you have to do practically everyday of your life?Also, you will find that you have not had a chance realize how beautiful the scenery is around you, at least it is in Hawaii, because you have been concentrating so hard on what other drivers are doing ďwrongĒ that you never took the time to notice anything else.These are just a few wonderful things that go along with changing how you feel while driving; I will leave the rest for you to find out.

 

Advice to Future Generations

 

So far, I have learned or shall I say come to realize and notice many things about myself by studying driving psychology and I believe that to be the best part about taking this course.Before this class I never realized how I was driving or what kind of attitude that I had while driving.I used to think of myself as a really good driver, to be quite honest, until I took this class and then I realized that I had a lot of room for improvement. I realized that I was an aggressive driver and that I sometimes even participated in a road rage episode, although when I say this I donít mean a deadly type of road rage but a minor one, the kind where you try to retaliate against others (although this could be dangerous and is still considered road rage).

 

In the beginning of the course I didnít believe that changing my attitude would be a good thing because of all the dumb things other drivers did, but I soon came to realize that I thought this way because I was an aggressive driver.After completing my mini-experiment I realized how much of a joy driving can be.I realized that it does not really matter what other drivers are doing and that if they want to drive aggressively thatís up to them but I donít need to let it affect me.I learned that I am responsible for my own behaviors and that other drivers donít make me think, feel, and act in certain ways but that I allow myself to think, feel, and act in certain ways and that I am completely capable of changing these things, which actually makes me feel better when the day is over.

 

As far as things directly pertaining to driving psychology, I learned many things as well.I have learned that people drive in this aggressive manner because we are brought up to do so and that our culture condones aggressive driving.I have learned that by being aggressive and venting your anger, which leads to stress, you are actually compromising your mental and physical health because stress reduces cardiovascular and immune system functioning.I have learned about the many things that cause highway hostility, such as congestion and unpredictability on the road.I have also learned about the different types of road rage, such as passive-aggressiveness (i.e. left-lane bandits), verbal road rage, including but not limited to swearing, epic road rage (fantasizing comic book roles and extreme punitive measures against others), and automotive vigilante (also known as the bully of the road who uses their vehicle as a weapon).

 

I have also learned about the things that we can do overcome road rage.First, we must build our emotional intelligence, meaning we mustnít let our emotions get the best of us.I have learned about the three-step driver self-improvement plan, which I used in my mini-experiment, that teaches you an easy and convenient way to overcome your own aggressive driving style, at least it was easy and convenient for me.I have learned that we must begin with teaching our children to be good passengers, through modeling and rewards for good behaviors, so that they learn what adults value and will then grow up to be non-aggressive drivers.I have learned that supportive driving is the optimal type of driving that all should strive to achieve, which means that you make driving pleasant for all participants.

 

Finally, I have learned that the only way we can accomplish all of these things is through lifelong driver education.This does not mean that you will have to go to driving classes throughout your entire career as a driver, but instead means that we much teach and remind ourselves, as adults today, that every time we drive we must be pleasant to others and not allow ourselves to act aggressively.This also means that we must start teaching people at an early age, as young as infancy, how to be a non-aggressive driver and that they must practice this driving style throughout their entire careers as drivers.We can teach infants to be non-aggressive by modeling non-aggressive attitudes and behaviors as adults who drive with children in the car.This is what is meant by lifelong driver education. †††††††††

 

The idea that has been most difficult for me to accept that was presented in this course is the idea that you are not suppose to get angry at another driver and that if you do get angry it is not the other drivers fault but instead it is your fault for allowing yourself to get upset.For a while, I didnít understand how other drivers were not responsible for making you mad, especially when they do something inconsiderate.If you think about it, if one of your friends acted in an inconsiderate way towards you or vise-versa, then you guys would more than likely get upset with one another and eventually talk about it.Well, I thought of driving exchanges in the same way until my professor, Dr. Leon James explained it to me after this incident occurred, which I talked about in my driving psychology class.

 

Let me give you an example of something that happened to me just recently (10/2006).I was driving down the freeway in the fast lane during rush hour traffic and this car was driving behind me.I guess the lane to the right was moving faster so the car switched lanes and shortly after realized that his new lane was slowing down so he moved back over but this time in front of me.There was barely enough room for him to do so but he did and then traffic came to a halt causing him to slam on his breaks and me to do the same and I almost rear ended him.This really upset me because if I had rear ended him then the accident would have been considered my fault and I didnít think that that would be very fair.

 

Well, fortunately for me I didnít rear end him but the fact that his inconsiderateness put my life in danger and would have made the accident my fault, I became upset.My professor explained to me that becoming upset is a natural reaction especially when your life is put in danger, but that being upset does not solve anything.Also, if you get upset this is because you are allowing yourself to do so.Other people donít make you get upset, they may do things that could possibly upset you but whether you actually become upset is your decision in the end.He told me that you must also keep in mind that if you allow yourself to get angry you are more likely to retaliate or want revenge and then that can become dangerous.

 

I would apply the ideas presented in this course in many ways.The first thing I would do is I would become a reformed driver and would apply the ideas in exactly the way they are meant to be applied.I would also apply these ideas to other aspects of my life as well and I believe by using the three-step self-improvement program you could change yourself in many ways, including how you treat other people, such as your friends and family.In order to do these things, you may need to modify ideas of driving psychology to fit your own personal needs, kind of like how I modified the three-step self-improvement program by changing it into two-steps in order for it to accommodate me.By modifying the self-improvement program, it made it easier for me to change the few selected behaviors that I chose to change.

 

Now I would like to give the future generations of driving psychology some advice on how to do a good report, like the one I am doing here.My biggest piece of advice that I can offer is to start EARLY and make a plan.For instance, I started this paper about four or five weeks ago so all I had to do was write a couple of pages every few days whereas if you start it the week before itís due you will be writing practically 20 pages at one sitting.My plan was to write at least five pages a week but I often wrote at least six, this way if something came up and I couldnít write for a few days I wouldnít fall behind according to my plan.

 

Next, I would say to take it one step at a time and by this I mean donít look at the paper in it entirety, instead take it one section at a time.Before I actually started my paper, I honestly really didnít want to write it.All I could think about was, ďhow am I going to write a 20 page, single spaced paper?ĒAfter having worried about it for long enough, I decided to take it one section at a time and that made such a difference for me.I no longer worried and stressed over it so much, especially since I started it early, and I came to realize that it wasnít actually going to be that hard to write and in the end I actually enjoyed doing this paper, I felt a sense of accomplishment.

 

Now, I would like to tell you about the benefits you will receive by doing all of the work this class requires.The biggest benefit I received was learning a lot about myself:I learned about my driving style, why I drive like that, and how I can change it.You also get a better understanding of the actions of other drivers.No longer will you wonder why certain drivers drive they way they do.For instance, I know almost all of you have probably wondered this about another driver, ďare they driving like this just to make me upset,Ē and what you will learn is the answer is no and that most people donít do the things they do intentionally.Lastly, you will gain a real good insight as to what aggressive driving and road rage really is.Who knows maybe you are at riskÖmost of us usually are.

 

 

Links

 

My Home Page: http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409af2006/vanderhoof/vanderhoof-home.htm

Class Home Page: http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy25/classhome-g25.htm