Report 2:

 

My Understanding of Driving Psychology

 

By: Ryde Azama

 

Instructions For This Report Are At:

www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy21/409a-g21-report2.htm

 

 

 

Question 3: 

Discuss these two Web sites: drivers.com vs. drdriving.org.  What are their main differences? Be sure to consider at least these areas: articles, newsletters, letters, style, probable audience, public relations or policy, advertising, size, ranking.

           

                We live in technological age where the media is king.  We cannot get up in the morning with out getting bombarded with advertisements for new products or services.  The Internet is just the latest example of this media explosion.  The Internet might be the most powerful form of media to date.  In this day and age everyone has a computer and everyone has access to the Internet.  On the World Wide Web there are no censors, no huge monopoly’s, you don’t have to be rich or powerful to let your voice be heard.  Anyone one can say anything on the Internet.  So, what better way to get your message across?

 

                The websites I looked at was drivers.com and dr.driving.org. The way I evaluated these website was in terms of three general areas.  These areas were content, general purpose, and ranking.  In the content section I will be discussing the websites articles, newsletters, and letters.  In the general-purpose section I will be discussing the style, probable audience, public relations or policy, advertising, and the size of the websites.  Finally in the ranking section I will give my overall view on the website.  

 

The first website I looked at was drivers.com.  This website is full of information on driving.  Right from the main page there are links to updated articles pertaining to driving.  Articles such as “Ditch that lease” and “Staying in control”.  These are just the most recent articles.  The main content is found on the right had side of the main page where you can click on sub-topics about driving.  The sub-topics range from licensing to older drivers.  Just click on the sub-topic and it will direct you to main menu of the sub-topic.  Then the website goes even further and breaks down that sub-topic into different aspects of the sub-topic.  For example the previously mentioned sub-topic of older drivers, just click on that sub-topic and it brings to its main menu where you can choose, from the different aspects of that sub-topic.  These aspects include driving ability, regulations, mobility, special training, organizations, and support.  Clicking on any one of these links takes to articles and website about the topic.  It is all very informative information.  But, what I like the most about this site is that fact that it has a direct link to amazon.com where one could buy books about driving.  So, it not only gives you Internet articles but links books as well.

 

                The general purpose of this web site is mainstream.  Right from the start, it has advertisements from different companies.  Companies who figure that it would be a wise investment to advertise on the website because it gets so many “hits” that millions of people will see the ad.  Also, on the website it contains sections on how to get into the trucking business.  There are job applications of how to become a professional truck driver.  This website is design specifically for the general public.  People, who are not really interested in driving psychology, but have a quick question about it.  This website is design for people to get interested in the topic and then quickly getting them to purchase some product. 

 

                My overall view of this website is very good.  It has a large database of information about driving.  However, the only problem I have with this website is that one cannot tell if it is really a reliable information.  The article written in the website are written by just ordinary people, as for as I can see.  The website does not provide information about the background of these individuals.  It is obliviously in the business of making money.  They have links to companies, which are hiring or selling a service.  These companies have paid the websites owners a great deal of money for there advertisements.  However, if you are just an ordinary person looking for information on driving skills and helpful tips, this website is for you. 

 

                      The next website I evaluated was drdriving.org.  The content in this website is excellent.  It does not have the same range of topics as drivers.com but this website, I think goes more in depth into each subject.  It not only talks about each subject but also provide statistical resources to back it each statement.  For example when the subject of gender comes up, the article provides a nice statistical analysis of the independent variable.  See (http://www.drdriving.org/articles/taxonomy.htm).  Also, it is a reliable resource due to the fact that it is done for pure knowledge.  Funded by a university the sites proffers conducted their research unbiased.  This is mainly because a major corporation did not fund the study.  Often times this happens the study is usually in the interest of the corporation.

 

                The general purpose of this website is the distribution of knowledge.  The main audience for this website are college level students.  This would be a good site to use in a research paper because of the level of detail in the research.  Also, it gives names to certain aspects of road rage.  For example “loss of objectivity - driving incidents are not neutral:  there is always someone who is considered to be at fault.  There is a natural tendency to want to attribute fault to others rather than to self.  This self-serving bias even influences the memory of what happened, slanting the guilt away from self and laying it on others.  Drivers lose objectivity and right judgment when a dispute comes up.  Subjectivity increases stress by strengthening the feeling that one has been wronged.”  This site has no advertisements, which means that the site was fully funded by the university or the proffers themselves.

 

                My overall rating of this website is excellent.  However, it may lack the mainstream qualities that lure many people to websites.  But that is not the intension of this website.  This websites purpose is about general knowledge and information.  It is not there to sell some thing to you, all it does is provide you with information and that is free of charge.  You cannot really compare these two website because they are so different even though they cover the same material.  One website main goal is the attraction of consumers and selling something to them while the other provide free information to anyone who wants it.  However, they are both good in there own respects.

 

Question 4:

Select six student reports on driving psychology from Generation 20, as listed in the Readings Section of the Lecture Notes. www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy21/409a-g21-lecture-notes.htm#g20-reports  You must select any two students from Report 1, any two from Report 2, and any two from Report 3. Summarize each of the six reports. Add a General Conclusion Section in which you discuss your reactions to what they did – (a) their ideas, (b) their method, (c) their explanations. What did they gain from doing their reports? How do their ideas influence what you yourself think about these issues?

 

            In this section of my report I will summarize and then analyze the reports of Generation 20.  In the first half of this report I will summarize the six reports and then discuss my reactions to them.  In the second half of this report I will answer the questions “What did they gain from doing their reports? How do their ideas influence what you yourself think about these issues?”

 

                The first report I will analyze is report one entitled “Driving Psychology: Theory and Application” written by Jenny Arakaki.  The report is broken up into six different sections.  The first section is the labeled the “preface”.  In this section Arakaki gives a brief overview of the entire course.  She gives definitions of what driving psychology is and what makes general points about the class.  For example in regarding driving psychology “Driving psychology is a course on how to manage your thoughts and emotions while driving on the road.”  The second section is labeled “Introduction”.  In this section Arakaki reinforces the fact that driving psychology is a very important subject by stating “I feel that driving psychology is a meaningful topic for me because I am a driver and am aware of the various driving techniques other people tend use while in traffic or on a residential street. I think we all need to develop better habits before entering into a car. There are too many traffic accidents, minor and major, and many fatalities that occur unnecessarily. All those tragedies could have been prevented and could have prevented many deaths.”  In the third section of the report, they were asked to define certain driving psychology terms, such as “left-lane bandit”, “road rage” and “news groups for drivers”.  In the fourth section the students were asked to give an autobiographical analysis of their own driving habits.  Arakaki’s response was “The way I drive is somewhat recklessly. I tend to switch into lanes to get passed the slow drivers. I do exceed the speed limit but not enough to feel like I am losing control of the car. I also tend to get mad if someone cuts me off or doesn't say thank you when I let them in front of me.”  In the conclusion section of the report she talks about how this class has helped her with her road rage.  She has also gained a new perspective on her driving ability.  In the final section of her report entitled “advice to future generations” she again, stress the need to learn from her mistakes and how our driving affects us all.

 

                The second report I will analyze is report one, entitled “Driving Psychology: Theory and Application” written by Sarah E. Phillips.  In this report he follows the same format as Arakaki.  In the preface section she talks about an overview of the entire course.  Also, she talks about how she is very fortunate for this opportunity to be in Generation 20.  Like Arakaki, she discusses the importance of driving psychology in the introduction section.  Also, she talks about how the course includes her because she herself is a driver.  In the definitions section of the paper she defines the same concepts as Arakaki.  However, in her autobiographical section she gives a roots cause for her driving skills.  “I feel that my driving is reflective of my personality, I am a calm person and I like things to be without stress and with common courtesy, but at the same time I also can react when pushed too far. I try to be thoughtful of other drivers when on the road by avoiding tailgating and cutting off others.  I do speed but I try to keep it at about the same rate as other drivers, never excessively over.”  She too, recognizes the importance of this course in her conclusion section just as Arakaki did.  Phillips feels that this course let her become more aware of her driving problems.  In her advice to the next generation she believes that talk is the most important thing.  Talking to others about there driving problems can only help.  

 

             The third report I will be analyzing will be report two, entitled “My Driving Personality Makeover Project” written by Jenny Arakaki.  In this report, she formatted it into five different sections.  In the first section labeled “preface” Arakaki discusses how in report one she only touched on the subject of driving psychology.  Also in this section she discuss how she will get rid of bad driving habits.  My objective in Report 2 is to create a model or experiment to get rid of the bad habits I present while driving on the road by creating a driver personality makeover.  I will take various measurements of the aggressive driving signs I show and record the data and put it in a table.”  The second section is labeled “Introduction: Objective Self-assessment”.  In this section the students were asked to take written driving test in the book.  In general it seems as though she answered yes to more than half of the questions.  This means that she has a very aggressive outlook towards driving.  The third section is entitled “My Driver Self Modification Attempt.”  In this section Arakaki designs an experiment where she tries to change her driving habits.  She will try to change her behavior by tape recording herself as she drove through traffic in the morning and the afternoon.  She will then record the number of time she committed an aggressive driving act.  Also she would reward her passenger with money every time she did.  In the end she ended up reducing the amount of times she committed and aggressive act.  In her conclusion she comments on how her perspectives have change and how important this class was to her.  In her advice to the future generations she challenges everyone to change the way they drive.

 

                The fourth report I will be analyzing will be report two, entitled “My Driving Personality Makeover Project” written by Chris Concepcion.  This paper follows the same format as the previous report two written by Arakaki.  In the first section, the preface he discusses the importance of being a subjective driver.  “A supportive driver thinks objectively.  Say someone cuts you off, speeds, and weaves in and out of traffic.  A non-supportive driver would get angered possibly to the point of rage.”  In the next section, the self-examination phase, Conceopcion scored relatively lower than Arakaki.  Its generally seems as though he has a low level of road rage.  In his experimentation to change his driving habits he will simply take a base tally on how many aggressive driving acts he commits and then in the next week he will begin his intervention.  “I had to implement ways to correct this negative behavior.  In order to modify my tailgating behavior, I would remember that tailgating isn’t supportive.  I would remind myself that tailgating is an aggressive act and is a self-serving bias.  Another intervention act was to put myself in the other driver’s shoes.  It gave me that do one to others as you would want done to you mentality.”  In the end it seemed to generally reduce the amount of aggressive driving.  In his conclusion, he writes that the most interesting thing he learned was the different driving behaviors of other drivers.  For his advice to the future generation, it was to keep up with the driving problems of today’s world.

    

                The fifth report I will be analyzing will be report three, entitled “My Proposal for Lifelong Driver Education” written by Jesse Chang.  This report is divided into six sections.  In the first section, the introduction, he gives a review of his second report.  Also he tells us that he will be analyzing chapter nine in the book and come up with his own plan of lifelong driving education.  In the introduction section, he summarizes chapter nine in the book, talking about New Zealand’s licensing process and how behavior is broken up into three components.  Also, he analyzes how past students approached this problem of lifelong drivers education.  In the class discussion and notes section he discussed the oral presentations of three students, Sarah Philips, Jeremy Kubo, and Christine Oishi.  He seems to disagree with many things they had to say.  The most important aspects he of the chapter are teenagers at risk, roadrageous course post listening, older drivers, driving psychology curriculum.  In the fourth section of his paper he tells us his plan for a lifelong driving education.  He takes a nurturing approach at a very young age.  As the child gets older he will incorporate media as well as responsible parenting.  No child would be allowed to have a license (over 18 only).  For every two moving violation, attendance at a face-to-face seminar will be in order.  As the driver gets older medical examination will determine if they are physically able to drive.  In his conclusion he recognizes the need for drivers education because of all of the accidents that are happening in the country and how many lives have been lost.  For his advice to the future generations, do not procrastinate, be a safe and supportive driver now.       

 

                The sixth report I will be analyzing will be report three “My Proposal for Lifelong Driver Education” written by Jeremy Kubo.  This report follows the same format as Chang’s report three.  In the preface, he reviews his finding from report two and then gives the purpose of this report which is to “understand the importance of lifelong driver education and how to help implement a solution to continue this type of education for people of all ages from infancy to old age.”  In the introduction section he again reviews chapter nine in the book.  He basically talks about how society has so many prejudices against female and elderly drivers.  He then reviews other generation’s suggestions on life long driving education.  In the class discussion and lecture notes section, he discusses three of his peer’s oral presentations; those students were Mark Corpuz, Christine Oishi, and Hiroko Kikuchi.  He tends to agree with all of them pertaining to the concept of CARR (Children Against Road Rage), the gender effect and the QDC approach.  In his fourth section of his paper he discusses how he would implement his life long driver’s education.  He suggests a step program, where in the infancy the parent must provide a health environment.  In the intermediate stage young driver would use the self-witnessing technique to regulate their road rage.  In the high school stage he suggests the fine-tuning of the sensory motor abilities.  In the final stage people would use QDC in a voluntary system.  In his conclusion section he again realizes the importance of driving education.  “I believe my new awareness is very useful in helping to end this war of rage on the roads.  If people are aware and people are willing, the roads would be much safer.  There will be fewer accidents.”  In his advice to future generations he says the main thing is not to give up keep on trying to reach people.

 

                There ideas are generally the same.  Each one of these students wants to change their driving habits toward the better.  They all have ideas on how to change them, whether it be, self awareness technique or constructing a positive driving circle.  Each one of them believes that it is for the better good if they change their driving behavior for the greater good.  In regards to their research method, it was generally sound however, I felt very uncomfortable that it was only for a short period of time and some research were down with multiple variables.  All of their conclusions were generally the same in that all of them felt the need for change, not just for themselves but also for the entire driving population.  They all felt that life long driving was the key.  I agree with this, with out constant evaluations driving skills start to deteriorate and soon bad habits form.  

 

                In general I think they are learned how important driving education is.  More people get kill on the road in the United States than in the entire war in Iraq.  Something needs to be done about this.  Life long driving education is the key to success.  This class seems to have huge impact on their driving mentality.  It gave them new perspectives on their driving psychology.  Each one of them saw how their driving habits affected everyone else on the road.  By reading their reports it has influence me to make a change.  Realizing that there is a problem is the first step to learning how to change.  

 

Question 5:   

Consider Table 5 in the Lecture Notes, in the Section on Driving Psychology Theory and Charts at  www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy21/409a-g21-lecture-notes.htm#Charts  Consult the article from which the Table was taken. Copy and paste the table into your file. Now delete the examples in each cell and replace them with your own examples that you make up. Discuss why driving is such a big problem in all societies and why no effective solutions have yet been found for them. Discuss the solutions offered by Dr. Leon James (DrDriving). What likelihood is there that his approach will be adopted? Explain.

 

Table 5
Emotionally Intelligent Driver Personality Skills
 

Driver Competence Skills

Aggressive
NEGATIVE DRIVING

Supportive
POSITIVE DRIVING

Not
Emotionally Intelligent
(REPTILIAN DRIVING)
 

Emotionally
Intelligent
(CORTICAL DRIVING)
 

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

"Why is there so much traffic? I am going to be late for work!!!"
 

"I knew that there would be traffic I should have left my house earloier."

2. Understanding how feelings and thoughts act together


"Don’t they know that it just makes me more upset when they do that."
 

"Do not let your emotions take control of your actions."
 

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

"Look what they made me do, that is what they get for cutting me off!!!”

"I am a smart individual, I know I have a choice to make not the other way around.”

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

"See that is the reason why I carry a gun in the back of my pick-up truck!!!”

"I have control.  Is a lifetime in jail worth this one guy who I don’t even know"
 

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


"Geez, I don’t make this light I don’t think I am going to make it to the meeting."


“Hmm…I don’t think I am going to make this light, I better call my boss to tell him that I am running a little late.”
 

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

"This is my Super Bowl, if I make it home before anyone else then I am the granddaddy of all drivers.”
 

"There is no I in team.  Everyone want to get home, so lets work together so everyone can do that.”
 

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

"What are they doing, they should have eaten at lunch not while they are driving.”
 

"He must have had a long day, I just be sure to remember what car he is in."
 

8. Practicing positive role models vs. negative

"Why did they just do that, he knew if he just merged into that next lane he wouldn’t be in this mess."
 

"That is a good idea, he is playing it safe and not endangering anyone around him."
 

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

"Does anyone know how to drive anymore?”
 

"He must have not taken PSY 409a, ill recommend it to him while we sit in traffic.”
 

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

“I’m an excellent driver, its just everyone else needs a lesson.”

“I know I am not the perfect driver and acknowledging that I have a problem is the start to change.”

 

            I think that the number speak for themselves in regards as to why driving psychology is important, 500,000 fatalities per decade, 25,000,000 million injuries per decade, and 250,000,000,000 billion dollars worth of damages per year.  Not to mention all of the psychological effects that it has on people, such as “lowered productivity when arriving at work mad”, “learned cynicism leading to alienation and disunion among highway citizen” and finally the passing on of this type of culture to the next generation of drivers.  So why has there been nothing done about this problem?  Well, the truth is that things have been done.  Things such as implementing driver’s education in public high schools, the creation of organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and police involvement has increased as well.  But, these measures are not enough do to the fact that there are just too many new drivers out there every single day and the road and highways are just too small to handle such a growth.  This leads to high levels of psychological stress on the road.

 

                So what is the solution to this problem?  Lifelong Drivers Education.  From kindergarten to sixth grade children will be asked to learn about their “affective” self.  It will generally involve basic topics such as respects to others as well as obedience to the rules.  I do not see anything wrong with this type of class because I helps children how to become functional citizen in a society.  Then in grade 7 to 9 children would learn about their “cognitive” self.  Here, interpretation and multitasking will be the main goals.  Children will learn about what is “good” driving behavior.  Then from 10 to 12 grade the children will learn about their “sensori-motor” self.  They will be put into certain situations where they will be evaluated on how well they perform.  Finally, the forming of quality driving circles.  In this section one learn various skills to cope with every day driving, skills such as self-reflection, scenario analysis and self-regulation.  Other suggestions were stricter rules about driving in general.  Such as teenagers could not have passengers in their car for the first four months they had their license and limited driving during the night.  Also, elderly driver would be subjected to multiple physical and mental tests to retain their license.     

  

                However, I do not think that anyone of these will ever take full flight due to the fact that we are lazy.  We have it good now.  From today till the day I die, the only thing I have to do to keep my license is to take an eye exam every five or six years.  I would be a big effort to change.  But, the politically correct answer to this question is, it’s not what we want it’s what we have to do.  Something has to change, people are dieing out there on the road and if we all just decided to work together we might put a stop to that.  That is why I think that some form of life long driver’s education would be a good idea.  I would help everyone to keep their driving skill sharp and maybe in the end help save lives.  

                

Question 6:

Analyze the Student Newsgroups Reports at www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/499s2003/newsgroups to characterize the threefold self of the drivers that wrote the messages. Find 10 brief quotes from the messages they posted, and analyze each one, showing the character of their threefold self. Discuss the writer's philosophy or psychology of driving. Comment in the light of what you know from Driving Psychology in this course using the ideas and perspective from our two textbooks.

 

            “It may be morning in America--crime down, incomes up, inflation nonexistent--but it's high noon on the country's streets and highways. This is road recklessness, auto anarchy, and an epidemic of wanton carmanship. Almost everyone from anywhere has a story about it, as fresh as the memory of this morning's commute. And no wonder. Incidents of "road rage" were up 51% in the first half of the decade, according to a report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.”  This is a good summary of what it is like on the road in today’s world.  Peoples “affective self” has convinced them that if this is the way I am being treated why not act the same way towards others.  This plays right into the role of the “cognitive self” where most people believe that to a certain point that “nice guys finish last”.  If you want to make it there on time, get there first you have to drive just as aggressively if not more aggressively than everyone else on the road.  This underline thought causes the driver to put his feelings in motion with his sensorimotor self, by driving the way he or she feels.  So now we have millions of Americans driving aggressively, trying to make that yellow light, cutting off people to avoid the slow lane, and not signaling when they want to change lanes.  When this occurs “it is clear that motorists who put others in danger by the way they choose to drive are indeed aggressive, hostile, dangerous, and selfish because they attempt to impost their will on other who are considered to be in the way.”[1]   

 

“So many miles, so little time. For Ron Remer, 47, a soft-spoken salesman, offensive driving was simply part of the job. From his home in New Haven, Conn., he logged 30,000 miles a year selling promotional products. "People on the road were an impediment to my progress," he says. "If I was late, it would reflect badly on me. Maybe the customer wouldn't want the products, and I'd be out of a sale. Getting there was the only thing that was important. If I met you in person, I might invite you for coffee or something. But on the road, you were in my way."”   This driver displays high levels of biased thoughts.  By only thinking of himself he is neglecting everyone else on the road.  I am sure that he is not the only one who has to get work in a timely fashion.  His “cognitive” self influences his “sensorimotor” self in which case he becomes an aggressive driver.  Remer, is a classic example of an rushing manic.  It is one of the most common forms of road rage.  “Rushing maniacs have two complementary elements, one is to avoid slowing down and the other is an apparent anger towards anyone who causes a slow down.”[2]  The main cause for this disease is culture.  We are taught from an early age that we need to save time and it is a shame to waste what little time we have.  So, in a sense we rush ourselves to be places at certain times with out a minute to spare.   

 

“So....*WHERE DOES THE THIRD HAND COME FROM*?????? Not to mention the fact that such drivers may well be focusing their attention on their conversations rather than the road. --Kevin, one of whose favorite bumper stickers reads simply "Hang up and drive!"”  Even though I tend to agree with Kevin, his hostile feelings have over taken his “affective” self.  His underlined hate has him generating negative motivations behind the wheel.  He displays his anger through a simple bumper sticker.  One could almost say that he is prejudiced against all cell phone drivers.  True, people driving while talking on cell phones get into more accidents; it does not me that this driver is a bad cell phone driver.  I believe that a self-appraisal and self-regulation are in order for Kevin.  “The intense negative emotions impel us to make incorrect judgments that lead to regrettable acts and to fabricate neat justifications for these acts.  Negative emotions also act to keep more rational alternatives out of awareness, leading us down the path of impulsive, inappropriate, and often times dangerous behavior.”[3] 

 

“Until a couple of years ago I owned [an old] BMW. One reason I moved over to a Ford was the number of idiots who tried to provoke me. The final straw was the young man in a new BMW who kept overtaking and then braking, who finally pulled over, then accelerated away when I moved out to pass. I have also had Ford XR types, Golf GTIs and even Escort vans try to provoke a "race". With such idiots out there, I am not surprised some BMW drivers get totally pissed off with the others. One good reason to revoke the gun laws in this country.”  This is a symptom of a bigger problem, in my opinion.  In the United States, people love their cars.  A car has been said to be an extension of the people themselves.  We have been taught that the car you own is who you are, and in this case the man driving a BMW has been stereotypes as a car enthusiast.  Biased thoughts in other driver’s cognitive self provoke them into challenging him and his car.  “Being put in danger: People love their cars…Congested traffic, filled with impatient and aggressive drivers, numerous hair-raising close class and hostile incidents within moments of each other, produces real physiological stress.”[4]  Just because of the car you drive, people suddenly make inferences about your values and personalities that is just the way it is in the United States.

 

 “It is my considered opinion that women drivers are the main cause of Road Rage. It is nigh impossible to give someone the finger while driving with warty little knees, changing 3 lanes without signaling, talking on a cellular phone, slurping a latte, and hunting lipstick. So they scream at you and cuss a blue streak. Men drivers politely yield and try to get out of the way, slowing down and getting in the path of speeding dope dealers with UZIs.”  Just like Kevin and his stereotyping of cell phone drivers, this man or women has chosen to stereotype women.  His hostile feelings have lead to biased thoughts about women and their driving abilities.  Soon his “cognitive” self will evoke negative feeling whenever he or she sees a women driving.  Self-regulation is a skill that must be practiced over time.  Taking deep breaths, and counting to ten are just some basic things that a person can do in order to control the rage that is building up inside of him or her.

 

“I remember last year I browsed this user group and I actually saw losers try to "defend" tailgating.  People who do this and make other aggressive moves on the road, and those who "defend" such moves, can be thanked for existing to be the back side of the IQ bell curve.”  Tailgating is common form of aggressive action.  People often let their sensorimotor self take control because they want to get to places faster.  Driving is like any other skill, “it involves human information-processing capacities and basic sensory, mental and psycho-physical capacities.”[5]  Often times it is the overload of these sensory information processing that causes people to task excessive risk whether it be due to internal stress or external factors such as darkness or rain.  

 

“There are too many aggressive drivers on the road today.  People who feel that they must be at the head of the flow of traffic.  People who have to be the front car at the next red light.  I sometimes fall into this category myself, but the first step to curbing this behavior is to recognize that it occurs in one's self (sorry that sounds kind of preachy).”  This is known as an aggressive competitor.  An aggressive competitor “are so competitive that they need to be in the lead at all times, and feel a sense of loss and rising anxiety if another car passes them.”[6]  I believe that the problem is in the “cognitive” self.  In this part of the threefold self the driver is reinforced by his or hers own beliefs.  Ideas such as “he is doing it why shouldn’t I?” or “if I am late again I will get fired!” come into play and thus reinforces our aggressive driving.     

 

“Funny though how so many cyclists think they have a legal right to ride on the pavement and go thru red lights. Frustrating, isn't it. If drivers treated cyclists with a little more courtesy a little more often, perhaps the cyclists would be more willing to use the road instead of the pavement.”  Scofflaw is the term used by social scientist to explain what this man talking about.  Scofflaw is “(A) disregard for certain traffic laws, regulations, and signs.  We act as if we’re entitled to break regulations whenever we feel like it.”[7]  This person sees cyclists as above the law.  It seems as though they can do what ever they want just as long as they are on a bike.  This angry aggression leads to hostile feelings in the “affective” self. 

 

“Mr. Willis conceded that the campaign might not reach genuinely out-of-control aggressive drivers but pointed out that many incidents involved at least one normal driver suddenly becoming transformed into a motoring monster by another's behavior.”  Known as the Jekyll-Hyde syndrome, normal drivers often turn into aggressive maniacs because of a certain situation.  Often times, this is because they were unwillingly put into a dangerous situation through no fault of their own and now the amount of stress that it has caused is too much for them to handle.  The senorimotor self, seems to kick in almost automatically due to the fact that we would like nothing better than revenge against those who did us wrong.

 

“You blame older drivers for traffic congestion? Here it is seasonal, the students that cause congestion. And the yuppies that move here in droves and commute south, not old people.  Not many old people drive around during commute time.”  I believe that this person is referring to “stressful congestion”.  “Stressful congestion has become a universal problem plaguing many parts of the world, both rural and urban, because there are never enough miles of road for the number of vehicles in use.”[8]  In my view, this is true, as you get older your time table starts to change.  Older people tend to go to sleep earlier than younger people. They also tend to wake up earlier and do most of their errands at different hours of the day than younger / middle aged people.  The people causing rush hour traffic is the vast majority, the working class.  Again this is a form of biased thought.  

 

Question 7:

Our textbook Road Rage and Aggressive Driving has exercises in several chapters. Do the following four exercises: (a) Exercise on scenario analysis on p. 205; (b) Exercise on acting as-if on p.128; (c) Exercise on self-assessment on p. 134; and (d) Checklist of your road rage tendency on p. 40. What were your reactions to the exercises? Discuss how these exercises help you to become more aware of yourself as a driver. Do some of the exercises with another driver you know. How do they help you understand some principles of driving psychology?

 

            The exercises in the textbook Road Rage and Aggressive Driving provide a unique point of view for most drivers.  It has been my experience that the subject of driving skills is a very sensitive subject to most people.  Some how, the skill of driving is elevated to a higher level then other skills like cooking or fixing things.  We often associate driving skills with mental health and cognitive ability.  For example, if we are not able to operate a car at a certain level, most people are labeled as dumb, or an idiot.  If someone makes a bad casserole no one calls him or her an idiot, they just accept the fact that they cannot cook.  The reasons for this stigma, I believe is due to the fact that driving is an everyday activity and it is a necessary skill if you want to live in this social world. 

 

                The only time our actual driving skills are evaluated is at the very beginning of our driving lives when we are first learning the skill.  But, other than that we usually only take an eye exam every four or five years to retain our license.  It is because of this lack of examination that most drivers tend to accumulate so called “bad habits”.  It was not until I took the tests in the book that I realized how bad of a driver I am. 

 

                The first exercise involved reading a “Dear Dr. Driving” letter.  The letter tells the story of how a little prank turns into a life and death situation on the road.  The driver who was only sixteen years old was trying to find a party with his friend.  They both drove and soon became lost.  Then they encountered a disgruntled driver in an SUV who soon raced passed them.  They soon caught up to him at a stoplight.  They then got ahead of the disgruntled driver and proceed to block the highway by taking up both of the lanes.  The disgruntled driver then pointed a gun at the two teenagers and chased them.  In the exercise we were asked to evaluate the situation and find safer alternatives to the situation.  Some suggestions I made were, they could have left at an earlier time, when there was still light out (they left around midnight).  They could have let the disgruntled driver go on his way instead of playing games with him or her.  The best suggestion I think was to notify the police and report the situation to them from a cell phone.  This exercise made me think twice about “horsing around” on the highway, you never know who is driving next to you. 

 

                In the next exercise it gave us positive things to say/think when certain situations occur.  For example, “I’m going to make that light.  Come on, come on, get out of my way! Turning yellow…I can still make it if I step on it” instead you can tell yourself “All right, I’m not going to make this one.  Slowing down gently.  I can relax for a few moments.”  This exercise made we think of all the times I was in that same situations.  I remembered that I acted and thought the say way as the first column, reckless, impatient, self-fish and aggressive.  This exercise gave me a new perspective on these situations and now will try to act as if I am the only car on the road.  

 

                In the third exercise we were asked to evaluate ourselves as a driver.  We were asked to list our best driving traits, our worst driving traits, our best driving traits according to our passenger, and our worst driving traits according to our passenger.  Some of the things I put down for my best driving traits was my vision, reversing and for my worst driving traits I put down my impatience and speeding.  When I asked my friend to evaluate me he came up with basically the same thing, however I put down my temper as my worst driving trait.  This gave me new perspective to my driving; I had not even realized that my temper was such as problem.  It gave me new insight to my driving psychology.  I would have never known it weren’t for this evaluation.

 

                In the final exercise of the book, it asks general driving questions and we have to respond yes or no to them.  Questions such as “I tailgate when someone drives too slow for conditions or in the passing lane.”  The amount of questions, which you answered yes to, are counted up and scored accordingly.  “If your score is less than five, you’re not an aggressive driver and your road rage tendency is manageable.  Scores between five and ten indicate that you have moderate road rage habits.  If your score is greater than ten, your road rage tendency is out of control, enough to compromise your ability to remain calm and fair in certain routine but challenging driving situations.”  I scored an eight.  I knew from the start that I was not a great driver; this test only reconfirmed what I already knew.  The question know, is what do I do with this information.  Do I continue to drive recklessly or make a conscious effort to change?

 

                After doing these exercises I made the concepts in the book easier to understand, due to the fact that it gave me situation to the concepts.  Now I can visualize the concepts in actions.  All of these exercises gave me a chance to look at myself from a different angle.  It also brought new insight to my driving psychology and for the first time since I started to learn how to drive I am asking myself, am I a good driver?  This is the first step to change, I believe, knowing that you have a problem.  Now the question is what I am I going to do with this newfound knowledge? 

 

Advice To Future Generations

 

            At first glance, I only took this class because it fit my schedule, but now after completing it, I feel as though this is class has had a tremendous amount of influence upon me.  You should not take this class at face value.  There is a hidden battlefield out there and we do not even know it.  I mean the numbers speak for themselves, “500,000 fatalities per decade, 25,000,000 million injuries per decade, and 250,000,000,000 billion dollars worth of damages per year.”  Something needs to be done.  Never let his subject die.  Tell your friends, tell your family, the more people who know about driving psychology the better.  We all need to make a change and create a more hospitable environment on our highways.  But, the best advice I can give is educate your self on the matter, let the world know that there is an invisible war out there and it is a war we can win.

 

 

 

 

Class Home Page

 

http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy21/classhome-g21.htm

 

My Home Page

 

http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409af2004/azama/

 



[1] James, Leon and Nahl, Diane.  Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare. Prometheris Books. Anherst, New York. 2000.

[2] James, Leon and Nahl, Diane.  Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare. Prometheris Books. Anherst, New York. 2000.

[3] James, Leon and Nahl, Diane.  Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare. Prometheris Books. Anherst, New York. 2000.

[4] Rothe, J. Peter and James, Leon. Driving Lessons: Exploring Systems that Make Traffic Safer. The University of Alberta Press. Edmonton, Alberta 2002.

[5] Rothe, J. Peter and Lonero, Lawrence. Driving Lessons: Exploring Systems that Make Traffic Safer. The University of Alberta Press. Edmonton, Alberta 2002.

[6] James, Leon and Nahl, Diane.  Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare. Prometheris Books. Anherst, New York. 2000.

[7] James, Leon and Nahl, Diane.  Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare. Prometheris Books. Anherst, New York. 2000.

[8] James, Leon and Nahl, Diane.  Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare. Prometheris Books. Anherst, New York. 2000.