The psychology of Road Rage

Report 2:
My Understanding of Driving Psychology

  By Patrick Greer

  Instructions for this report are at:



Discuss these two Web sites: vs. 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.

At first glance this appears to be a company website.   From what I can gather this website does two things; compiles various information on driving which is archived and posted for viewers and they act as an online publishing company to clients. Anyone may apply to be a contributing writer via e-mail.   They also sell advertisement space on their website from $5-$100 a month (

From 1991 until 2003 published a quarterly online newsletter which is now archived.   Now they offer access to this archive at a subscription price.   An index of the archives and a sample page of one newsletter is available for preview.

Upon accessing a front-page is found.   It is a pun oriented link page offering two sites, “Computer Drivers” and “Human Drivers”.   The “Computer Drivers” link leads to another site entirely.   Perhaps there is collaboration between this computer driver company and the human drivers site. I can only speculate on this but it gives the impression either site will be trying to sell me something.

The links on the front-page under the human drivers section contains links to auto loan refinancing, trucker technology, an article aiming sales car safety equipment at teens, and an article discussing the benefits of which deals with premature car lease termination for a fee.   These links turn out to be the first articles on the main page upon entering.

When linking to the human drivers page the first thing that stands out is the layout.   The page is arranged in 3 columns.   Left is navigation with an tower ad. The middle column comprises ads for computer drivers and a trucking job search solution followed by the content of the site, articles of various topics relating to driving.   A total of ten articles are posted in what I assume to be chronological order of submittal.   There is no connection between any of the articles other than they deal with some aspect of driving.   Most are on money matters and I have a feeling that the authors of these particular articles are employees of the various financial service companies they are writing about.   Finally the third column contains three Ads by Google and an ad featuring a link to a book being sold by the website's own online store (protected by Verisign – who are in the business of selling random numbers to websites for upwards of $50 a month). There is also a top menu bar with the first link connecting to the computer drivers site.   The rest of the links on the menu bar consist of three money making links, one resource link, and a forum link.

All the focus on selling raised my interest to explore their advertising policies.   After inspecting the large $100 a month tower ad I learned it is really a sales referral program by . currently does not collect its desired $100s a month from this ad but instead a percentage is given to if customers make a purchase through this ( ).   This knowledge further decreased my impression of this site from a truly informational website to just another site trying to make a dollar.

I will now shift focus from the site's style and presentation to examination of content relating to driving, starting with their current newsletter.   This is a separate and free monthly newsletter by e-mail from the one that was published from 1991 to 2003.   Considering the dramatic switch from formally published newsletter now offered by paid subscription and this free monthly newsletter which is distributed by mass e-mail I would speculate that this new newsletter consists of a brief overview of new articles for the given month intertwined with advertisements.

The resource section contains five links with one to the new newsletter signup and another to the online store.   Another is a link to “ The First International Web Conference On Novice Driver Issues ” which leads to another site entirely and contains little content.   There are about ten papers discussing driving safety by “experts” available to download here and a discussion forum with the last post being on March 1999.   Again there is another link to papers from a past conference on driving.   This time it is a web conference in Canada named “ A Global Web Conference On Aggressive Driving Issues ” This link also leads to another site that contains seven articles on driving and a forum with the last post dating back to 1999.   There is no doubt that these papers may be informative since they were written by experts on driving safety for their time but therein lays a problem.   These papers are all rather old and discussion and support for these writings died out long ago.   There is a link to the online brochure “ Learning to drive: a guide for parents ” by the writers at   It is aimed at parents of children about to receive their driver's license for the first time.   It stresses to the parents to obtain the expertise of a professional driving trainer to work with their child and for the parent to be supportive.   The brochure also prescribes steps to defensive driving.   Finally there is a link to the discussions section of the website.   Discussions are held in a forum where viewers can post their comments freely.   Most comments seem to be instances of negative experiences by the average driver including a section devoted to venting.   Discussion takes place on a single page which makes the longer discussions harder to follow but the latest posts are current.

The navigation bar in the left column contains “Site Topics” with links to articles by writers.   The articles are organized according to topic of content such as: autos, behavior, licensing, etc.   Each section also contains various outside links relating to the particular topic.

This site is aimed towards people looking for financial advice, advertising partners, traffic safety consumers, and those looking for employment in the driving industry.

Overall my approach to handling this site would be not trust anything at face value.   At all times it would be wise to research who is writing any particular article and what was that author's motivation for submitting his thoughts were.   The combination of a sales geared website in masquerading as a legitimate scientific website on traffic safety combined with the fact that anyone may submit an article to be posted in an official looking manner is quite deceiving.

One thing strikes me upon first seeing this website's homepage; the style is very unorganized and cumbersome.   Merely this single page of the site consist of one long column that holds the main content - but “long” in this instance is upwards of twenty pages plus.   Needless to say this website is full of information on driving.   The homepage itself contains an overwhelming amount of information on a wide range of topics including emotions, questionnaires, books, surveys, and more.   Perhaps its purpose is to be an overview of the entire site but due to the sheer length it fails in its task.   Information seems to ramble with no connectivity between the topics presented.   The page is just overwhelming.   This style, or lack of, gives an ambience of amateurism which is a negative for any professional site.   It lowers one's opinion of the information presented.   Luckily towards the top of the homepage is an in-site search engine that upon a few test searches seems proficient.   There is also a side navigation bar.  

Moving onto the positive aspects of this site, it is full of the latest information and theories on driving, presented by two accredited professors in the field, Dr. James Leon, Ph.D. and Dr. Diane Nahl, Ph.D.   At the very top of the homepage is a blurb about who the authors of the site are, where they obtained the materials contained within, and contact e-mail.   Under the “contacts” section of the site the two authors give their phone number, instructions to schedule an interview with them, and even a link to current Hawaiian time (where the two reside).   This ease of availability welcomes and encourages interaction with the authors, a rare thing to find in a website these days.

Again unfortunately despite the warmth and openness of the authors, when delving into the pages of the site lack of eye pleasing aesthetics overpowers the viewer.   Nearly every page within the site is unnecessarily long with all text presented in one column with almost no formatting, textual or graphical, to make anything easier to read.   However if one manages to move past this the content is quite interesting.   Found throughout the pages are many writing on just about any aspect of driving one can think of.   These include articles, book excerpts, interviews, statistics, and even Q&As between viewer e-mails and the authors.   Again through poor site design emerges another problem: many of the links within the site are broken and many of the pages are missing content.   A few pages even contain formatting errors that cause text and the few graphics found throughout the site to show up in the wrong places and even the side navigation bar tends to change on various pages.

Overall the content is stupendous but the lack of appropriate presentation overshadows everything else.   Unless one comes to this site with some prior inkling of what the site was about, what it contained, and who wrote it one may just glance at the homepage and then move on to something more easy on the eyes like    Due to this fact I suspect the viewers of this site comprise of those already familiar with the authors' work and other academics.

Question 4

Select six student reports on driving psychology from Generation 20, as listed in the Readings Section of the Lecture Notes.   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?

Shari Arakawa-Longboy #1

Shari 's writing is a summary of the class and a comparison of the ideas she learned from it to her own prior driving style.   In her opening she expresses her positive regard for what this class has taught her and she hopes that future generations will benefit the way she did.   She then gets into the heart of her report discussing various aspects that the course has taught her, citing sources for each one.   Shari incorporates reports from past generations as well as concepts from the course professor Dr. Leon James.   The style in which her report is laid out manages to cover all of the most important topics the course teaches with a brief description of each; the threefold self citing previous generation's reports, Dr. James' self-witnessing methodology, a brief definition road rage, aggressive driving legislation, the concept of emotional intelligence again by Dr. James, the emotional spin cycle by generation sixteen's Aftershock, the importance of life long driving education, the two-fold theory of driving, and finally the role and dangers of automatization in driving.

The report is concluded by her own autobiographical where she compares and incorporates all these concepts to her own driving behavior.   She is supportive of the assumption that aggressive driving behavior is a purely learned phenomenon by explaining that her own risk-taking behavior developed out of learning from her family, husband, and Hollywood .   She follows this up with a description of how she has made an active decision to follow the elements she regards as positive that were learned in this course to guide her towards a more positive driving experience and less stressful life overall.

She does take the scope of she report out of the realm of driving by finding a relationship between she own aggressive driving which tends to translate into stress for the rest of her day, in and out of the car.   I am disappointed she did not investigate this further as it may have led to further insight to and for all.

Jenny Arakaki #1

This report is more personal.   Jenny is also happy about driving psychology and what she learned from this course.   She acknowledges that we all have problems that we are unaware of and are unaware of others one the road too – this needs fixing according to her.   She then briefly defines newsgroups, scofflaw, left lane bandits.   The report is written in the same format as other report but with less technical details of definitions and with more ideas from others and personal thoughts. Jenny's autobiographical is interesting – here she admits and talks about her faults while driving.   She explains how she thinks of other cars not as drivers but “stupid cars” then goes on to comment about how avoiding direct driver to driver confrontations by “keeping everything to myself within the boundaries of my car.”   She is a rather reckless driver but nonviolent towards others. She talks about the influence of the media on everyone but for her in particular her driving behavior was learned from her racer friends. She talks about how when she started driving she was less risky and followed rules like stopping at stop signs but after hanging out with her friends she became more risky.   She explains movies always show people in a hurry and she always drives like she's in a hurry.   She does say there is a connection but she also admits it is hard to see one's own flaws in this realm. She briefly says that this report has enlightened her to her own risky driving behavior and she hopes to change it. As of the time of this writing she was still at the recognition step, I hope she followed through but it is good she acknowledged what and influence she is on her younger brother as that can be a strong motivator.   She hopes that these teachings on driver's safety are perpetuated in future generations.

Shari Arakawa-Longboy #2

Shari begins by explaining how report one was a warm up to report two.   Using definitions and concepts presented in report one a driving makeover will take place in report two.   Report one also had to be written in a style that focused on learned driving behavior from outside influences.   Report two then starts out with a review of definitions followed by a self assessment of current behavior.   Shari did surveys to discover her road rage level and explains about them.   Then she begins a self modifying strategy by first tape recording herself thinking out loud while driving for baseline data then moves onto the intervention phase over ten sessions. She began this report no emotional intelligence but through her driving makeover she is happy about the results and seems to be more aware of her own and others' feelings on the road. She enjoyed seeing an experiment put into action and seeing the results firsthand.   Because of this she is now a fan of the self-witnessing method.

Ikue Fukushima #2

Since Ikue does did not have a driver's license or a driver's permit at the time of doing this assignment, she decided to give her boyfriend a driving personality makeover.   This began by giving him various tests to judge his current driving behavior. These tests were questionnaires measuring various aspects of driving behavior and a subjective test where the subject listed his good and bad driving habits versus what Ikue believed his good and bad habits were from a passenger's prospective.    Ikue then took the results of these tests and broke the answers down to follow the threefold self paradigm.   The results concluded that Ikue's boyfriend had high sensorimotor skills behind the wheel but lacked in the areas of affective ability and cognitive ability.   Ikue's boyfriend lacks the driving behaviors of witnessing his own emotions and thoughts behind the wheel and his test results classify him as an “oppositional driver who engages in verbal road rage”.   Based on her findings Ikue decides to focus on modifying her boyfriend's affective and cognitive self-thinking styles.

Ikue decides to employ two methods in hope of modifying her boyfriends driving behavior: a self witnessing method using the standard tape recorder approach, and her own “road rage punishment” technique in which she will snap a rubber band on his wrist in hope to distract him whenever he begins to participate in his normal road rage activities.   She first uses the self witnessing method for twelve sessions and then the road rage punishment method for another twelve sessions.  

After the behavior modification sessions it was shown that the self witnessing technique did have a positive influence on her boyfriend's behavior.   He was able to witness his own thought and become aware of his rage.   Through this his instances of road rage declined by about half by the end of the experiment.   The road rage punishment method on the other hand had only a slight effect in helping to reduce his road rage and in some instances even fueled his aggravation during road rage outbursts.

Shari Arakawa-Longboy #3

The final report in Arakawa's series focuses on lifelong driver education.   She begins with a summary of chapter nine of the text Lifelong Driver Education defining key concepts within the field such as graduated licensing, Driver-Zed, the QDC approach, and more.   After some discussion on these various topics through review of previous generations' reports on the same subject and further analysis from the text she begins her own proposal for how to go about implementing lifelong driver education in today's society.

Shari 's plan is to bring lifelong driver education out of just the realm of driving and into the realm of everyday life.   She stresses that basic affective education needs to begin early in childhood to be taught starting with entering school up until junior high level.   Then from sixth grade until high school the focus needs a shift to basic cognitive life skills.   In high school the focus again shifts to sensorimotor skills in the realm of driving and the implementation of graduated licensing.   Following high school and extending as long as one is a driver the QDC method takes affect.   Finally for the elderly mandatory eye exams must be done.

Chris Concepcion #3

The format of Chris's third report is identical to Shari 's third report.   He begins by explaining the purpose of how the previous two reports tie into this one, then he explains key concepts and terms citing previous generations, the text, and the class.   He then begins with his own idea of how to carry out lifelong driver's education.

Much like Shari 's idea Chris calls for education to start at an early age but he prescribes that it would be the parent's responsibility to educate their children on supportive affective driving behaviors until the child enters fifth grade.   Also like Shari , he stresses the importance of teaching affective skills first but unlike Shari his lifelong education program is more geared towards driving skills as opposed to generalized supportive life skills.   He suggests the way to do this is to hold a special once a week driving class with an assigned text for the students.

Once the child enters fifth grade is becomes the responsibility of the school to educate on driving starting with cognitive skills.   Started at grade ten students will then be taught sensorimotor driving skills again by means of a special class and assigned text.

After high school QDC programs will take over as the method of continuous driver training.   He advocates a reward system be put in place within the QDC system to encourage involvement and performance of drivers in the program.

General Conclusion

a. The ideas presented by the reviewed reports are very similar.   All focus upon what they have learned in the class.   This is both good and bad.   The ideas within are much better than today's driver education systems yet even these ideas are not all encompassing.   I believe it is the way the students were taught that restricts their imagination that may lead to even further insights on the subject.  

b. Again the methods called for in each of these reports are all basically the same.  

c. All explanations given by the six reports were justified within the concepts and methods of those same explanations.   Everything comes from within the teachings of the course thus there are no outside points of view.   This raises the possibility of unseen negative affects.

In general the students reviewed here all benefited greatly from doing their assignments.   Overwhelmingly positive of all students covered was the eye-opening realization that they are not the perfect drivers that they once were.   Reviewing these reports educated me further on the reactions of individuals when faced with the task of changing the current social norms either in themselves or for others.

Question 5

Consider Table 5 in the Lecture Notes, in the Section on Driving Psychology Theory and Charts at   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


Emotionally Intelligent



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

"Why is everyone slowing down? What a bunch of idiots."

"I'm always thinking of myself.."

2. Understanding how feelings and thoughts act together

"I'm so angry i wish they would all hurry up. "

"The way I feel makes my think this way.. or is it the other way around? "

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

"God damnit this traffic is pissing me off!"

"I must really enjoy being pissed off, I do it so much ."

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

"I just want to give this driver a piece of my mind. I just want him to know how I feel."

"Got to keep driving safe."

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

"Fucking move already! I'm in a hurry here! "

"So many different people on the roads today ."

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

"I'm always the fastest one on the freeway, just try and pass me sucker. "

"On the freeway its best to keep up with the flow of traffic, I don't want to cause a collision. "

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

"Of course she'd have to be on a phone not to see me, I'm right here lady! "

"I know that ladies not looking at me, she's too busy on the phone... here she comes.."

8. Practicing positive role models vs. negative

"Fine you want to play it that way? I'll just stay right here... two feet behind you! "

"I wonder why this person drives so slow.. oh well time to move on."

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

"... what a bunch of morons. "

"Ahh.. I guess I'm not such a good driver after all. I totally ran over that German Shepard. "

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

"My drivings the shit! That dog should have been on its leash, ain't my fault... stupid dog. World's better off without it. "

"Everytime I step into a car I try to improve on some aspect of my driving."

Driving is a perplexing worldwide phenomenon.   Soft little humans get into to humongous two ton metal boxes resting atop inflated rubber tubes and then use the highly combustible fuel tank strapped onto the metal box to make create an internal explosion that powers the whole contraption to move at speeds that would squash the soft human inside like a bug if it ever were to hit anything – and the humans end up hitting a lot of things.   But that doesn't stop them.   It's a strange thing indeed.

There is much evidence supporting the idea that aggressive driving is a learned behavior transcending cultural boundaries.   Just take a look at any civilization on Earth right now that partakes in driving, the trend seems to be: the newer driving is to a culture the more dangerous it is.   The theory behind this phenomenon, according to Dr. James Leon, is that aggression is a learned behavior passed down to children by parents, movies, the media, etc.   All which convey to that influential child that aggressive driving is the cultural norm – regardless of where they live.   Thus the child once he or she begins to drive continues the aggressive tradition they grew up with and still see all around them.

But what is being done to stop these soft humans from getting into their metal boxes full of gasoline and slamming into things?   Not much really.   In more modern societies, where driving has been in around for a hundred years or so, it has developed integration with the society.   It seems paradoxical the lack of checks to keep driving safe when a nation depends on it so much.   Unfortunately there still has not been much investigation that I am aware of in this dynamic.   All I can really hypothesize here is that although people may be killing themselves and others via driving, the impact is not so much that the integration of a nation's driving structure and functionality at the societal level collapses.   Of course I can only speak from an American perspective.   Which leads into another query, should driving be studied at the national level or global level?

There is a plethora of unanswered questions when it comes to the interaction of the human and their combustible metal boxes but given that the integration of humans coexisting with these boxes is within limits of a functional society these questions mostly go unanswered.   The number of true academics studying the driving phenomenon is only a handful, and the recognition they receive is comparable.

For many societies driver safety is just not a big enough issue within that society to merit a substantial expenditure of resources into the field.   Driving is a means of economic expansion.   It is a medium a country will utilize to fulfill other goals.   Somehow in this process the safety concerns of the medium itself are negligible compared to the gains for the nation or individual running that nation (if that be the case).   Then again, this has been a characteristic of the state of being human since the dawn of human time and perhaps even before then stretching into life in general.   All this is not to say there is a total lack of driver safety efforts, there is definitely some working being done (or I would not be writing this right now).   It is merely stating that despite efforts given the current utilization of all resources allowed the vehicular death of the planet continually rises at over one million deaths per year – staggering.

Within the realm of driver's safety rests Dr. James Leon, a pioneer in the field.   The theories he supports regarding driver's safety are revolutionary compared to traditional models.   His major premises are aggressing driving as a learned behavior, the threefold self, emotional intelligence in driving, and the self-witnessing model of driving behavior modification.

Aggressing driving as a learned behavior

Akin to the Standard Social Sciences Model of psychology this social-psycho paradigm takes the assumption that all aggressive driving behavior is learned by the environment in which the driver lives.

Threefold self

Driving is comprised of “sub-components of driving habits in the three domains of behavior” ( -- accessed 11/10/04 ).   These components are: the affective self or feelings, the cognitive self or thoughts, and the sensorimotor self or actions.   It is by an interaction of these three domains that driving behavior manifests.   It is also among these three domains that behavior modification effectively takes place.

Emotional intelligence

This is also known as supportive driving.   Currently in American high schools defensive driving is taught but this style of driving places the driver on guard against his or her fellow motorists.   Supportive driving on the other hand teaches that one must be supportive to other drivers on the road, neither aggressive nor defensive.   This style of driving requires keeping emotions in check through understanding, thus the dubbing “emotional intelligence.”

Self-witnessing method

This method works on three principles or steps; first to acknowledge your negative driving behavior, second to witness yourself performing this negative behavior, and third to modify your negative behavior.   The brilliance behind this method is that it forces one to face and admit one's own negatives, a hurdle the overwhelming majority of humans avoid at all costs – even at the cost of a life.

The theories and methods advocated by Dr. James are quite radical in comparison to traditional driving safety techniques but this is not where I see the majority of hindrance upon implementing these new techniques over the old in today's society.   The trouble remains in the lack of resources and importance given to driver's safety within society both at the governing and individual level.   Further too few are even aware of the existence of such ideas like emotional intelligence behind the wheel or supportive driving.   The first step towards implementation would have to be to gain recognition of these ideas.   Nearly every American has heard of defensive driving but too few have heard about supportive driving.   Movies showcase aggressive drivers but none make a supportive driver look cool.   Then after gaining some popularity in society to the level where one could hold a nonacademic audience with interest the second step would have to be teaching the flaws of the old techniques while highlighting the benefits and inherent correctness of the new.   In my dealing with Dr. James up to this point, he is working more towards the second step without first accomplishing the first step.   It is the mystery and freshness the first step can create that will bring Dr. James and his ideas to prosperity with the second step.

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?

(a) Exercise on scenario analysis on p. 205

This is an exercise in emotional intelligence analysis.   The story of two teenagers' reckless driving that escalates into a road duel between them and a man driving a SUV with a firearm.   The goal of the exercise is to analyze how the teenagers' behaviors contributed to the trouble and what would have been the better behavior to bring the situation to a safe conclusion or even avoid the situation entirely.

To summarize, the thirteen events throughout the situation made by the driver were overwhelmingly encouraging behavior to the SUV driver.   The two teenage drivers engaged in reckless behaviors such as driving in tandem, honking their horns at each other, and having a fun time playing with their cars at the expense of instigating the confrontation.   Even when the two were engaged in the full road duel with the armed driver of the SUV behaviors interpreted as instigating by the SUV driver continued.   This implies that the two teenage drivers may have been unaware that their behaviors gave off the messages that they did.   One must also be careful to take into account when analyzing the situation that the analyzer is in no immediate danger while the two teenagers involved were living this experience at the blinding speed of real-time when presented with a firearm and being chased by an angry motorist with that firearm.   I myself still do not know what I would have done in their situation after presentation of the firearm.  

Before the chase began the teenagers' behavior was quite reckless and executed as playful aggressive nature between two young male friends.   What strikes me as interesting is that even when the two were presented with a dangerous life-threatening situation due to this behavior there was no shift from reckless playful behavior that had been interpreted as instigating, provoking, and issuance of a challenge by the pursuer to behaviors of submittal, caution, or repentant.   The response of the two teenagers was to flee the SUV driver through traffic at high speeds and even to honk and signal at each other as a way of sending messages, further escalating the situation.   The two seem to be either oblivious to how their actions were being perceived by one such as the SUV driver who's mind set could quite feasibly be assumed to be highly on edge and looking for a challenge such as the one these two continued to present him or her, completely lacking any idea of how to deal with life-threatening situations, or a combination of both.   But then how many drivers are trained in or have experience with life-threatening situations, to say nothing of people in general beyond the realm of driving.

The second part of the exercise was to suggest a different behavior than the one the two teenagers engaged in: a behavior that cold have prevented or ended the situation at that point in time.   The theme that manifests here is that the better behavior the two could have been to simply stop the behavior that they were about to engage in and engage in a normal driving behavior instead (normal here meaning the commonly seen road behavior).   Instead of driving in tandem drive with one driver following the other, instead of slowing down and blocking a car again simply do not engage in that behavior: drive with the flow of traffic, and instead of flashing their lights at each other simply don't; like any normal driver.

A final point worth mentioning in this exercise is the point of view held by the two teenagers upon reflection of their experience.   The two hold steady that they should not be the ones held responsible for the incident citing that “he's [the SUV driver] an adult and he was the one making it into a battle” and “this [SUV] driver did something illegal and could have caused an accident.”   This point of view comes as no surprise.   I interact verbally with teenage males ages sixteen to eighteen daily in a medium of pure anonymity much like the kind offered by the state of being inside a vehicle (especially at night), the internet.   This type of blame reversal and responsibility denial is a common way of mind for this demographic.   Perhaps the question to ask here is, “Why is that?”   What is it about young a male that has him behaving this way on a worldwide scale on any issue?

(b) Exercise on acting as-if on p.128
Below is a modified version of the exercise found in the text.   In the cells are common utterances I would make in the given situation both oppositional and supportive.

The situation

Oppositional driving style

Supportive driving style

Merging in heavy traffic

“I was here first, zannen.”

“Alright, your turn.”


Another driver forgets his/she signal is on

“Watta noob…”

“Time to watch out for others, mistakes can happen easily now.”

Caught in bumper to bumper traffic

“Why can't we all just move at the same damn time?”

“Watch the car in front.”

The driver ahead sits at a green light

“Go already!”

“I can wait.”

A yellow light far ahead

“Aww shite…”

“Yellow doesn't mean speed up.”

Another driver steals the parking spot I was waiting for

“What the fuck!”

“Zannen, what is it to be ‘unfortunate' anyway?”


c) Exercise on self-assessment on p. 134

My Best Driving Traits According to Myself

My Worst Driving Traits According to Myself

1. Do not become upset.

1. Don't pay attention at times.

2. Pay attention to the road, surroundings, and other drivers.

2. Not assertive enough in questionable situations that become questionable due to hesitance.

3. Constantly assessing possible situations ahead.

3. Overcome by impatient moods.

4.   Realization of the interactions between road dynamics and vehicle physics.

4.   Engage in playful reckless behavior.

5.   Realization of other driver's typicality and their point of focus.

5.   Judgmental towards other drivers.


My Best Driving Traits According to My Passenger

My Worst Driving Traits According to My Passenger

1.   Buckles up.

1.   Eats while driving.

2.   Signals.

2.   Drives with knee when eating.

3.   Doesn't speed.

3.   Drives with one hand.

4.   Doesn't get pissed.

4.   Speeds up at yellow lights.

5.   Stops at stop signs.


For the passenger section I had my younger brother fill out the exercise since he is in the car most of the time with me when I drive.   I do not feel I learned much from self examination as I am already aware of those things, my brother's critique on the other hand was very insightful:   I never thought about how I speed up at yellow lights before.   The instances eating and driving with the knee also needs to be reduced and has been by virtue of realizing how much more relaxing it would be to eat after reaching my destination where I no long have to worry about driving and can give more attention to the food, perhaps this is something that comes with age since I no long feel like dedicating the extra effort involved with driving and eating.

(d) Checklist of your road rage tendency on p. 40

This exercise comprises a series of twenty “Yes or No” questions that measure “anger theory”, “driving philosophy”, “habit of compulsive rushing or feeling competitive”, and “oversensitivity to social pressure by motorists.”   The majority of my responses to the questions were in favor of a supporting driving behavior.   I will discuss the questions I answered negatively.

2.   I normally have critical thoughts about other drivers.   YES
This extends beyond just driving into the realm of everyday life.   I strive to constantly analyze all aspects of existence critically but this is not to say my criticisms are entirely negative and unsupportive.

4.   I fantasize about doing violence to other drivers (e.g., using guns or blowing them up or sweeping them aside)—but it's just a fantasy.   YES
I do not do this often but when I do I never justify is as “just a fantasy.”   It is my thoughts, feelings, and state of being at that time.

8.   I feel that it's important to force certain drivers to behave appropriately on the highway. YES
I feel some drivers may be unacceptably dangerous if left unchecked.   It is the up to those with enough compassion to do something about it, such as the authors of this book.

15.   I feel energized by the sense of power and competition I experience while driving aggressively.   YES
Aggressive driving is these emotions as much as these emotions are aggressive driving.   There is no escaping the fact that I am human.   If I am engaged in aggressive driving these emotions will have a presence.   Aggressive driving with the lack of these two key emotions probably is not really aggressive driving but possibly something else.

17.   Once in a while (awhile) I get so frustrated in traffic that I begin to drive some-what recklessly.   YES
This is true.   What can be learned of the interaction of frustration and reckless behavior?

19.   Sometimes I feel that I'm holding up traffic so I start driving faster than feels comfortable.   YES
Although I give a “yes” to this question it is not to the entire question.   If I feel I am holding up traffic I become uncomfortable, therefore I speed up to a comfortable pace that more closely matches the flow of traffic.   The state of “uncomfortable” should not be ignored but used as a guide to a better avenue in life.   If I do not feel uncomfortable holding up traffic I do not speed up.

According to the text's scale my six “yes” responses place me in the “moderate road rage habits” categorization.   I disagree and feel these questions need revising.

Question 1

Consider Tables 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the Lecture Notes, in the Section on Driving Psychology Theory and Charts at   Consult the article from which the Tables were taken. Using your own words, describe the three behavioral domains and levels of a driver (nine cells). Illustrate each domain with your own driving behavior skills and errors, or that of another driver you know well, or a driver in a particular movie. Make up a "driving personality makeover" plan for yourself (or another driver you know well). Discuss the problems you anticipate in carrying out such a plan successfully.

Although this is the first question presented I have chosen to answer it last as it contains a “driving personality makeover.”   By answering the four previous questions I feel I have a more complete knowledge of my self to do this activity prescribed here.

The threefold self

Affective self - This is the classified as the mental domain of feelings and motivations.   Emotions fall under this domain.   For aggressive drivers it may be feelings of anger, retaliation, and fairness.

Cognitive self – The mental domain of thinking and reasoning.   Acting upon the affective self the cognitive self decides the best course of action to fulfill the desires of the affective self.

Sensorimotor – The physical domain of senses and actions.   This is the interaction of the physical body and mind to take in the senses of sight, sound, and motion while driving to feed the affective self and then to use the body in order to execute the decisions made by the cognitive self.

The three levels of the threefold self

Level 1 – Proficiency.   This is proficiency of the supportive driver.   At the affective level it is staying calm in spite of the circumstances presented, whatever they maybe.   It is to not give into panic, fear, anger, etc.   At the Cognitive level proficiency is staying rational and supportive under all circumstances.   It is not thinking aggressive thoughts or defensive thoughts.   At the sensorimotor level proficiency is keeping the vehicle under control under all circumstances.   It is not freezing up, misinterpreting surroundings, or engaging in dangerous actions.

Level 2 – Safety.   This is supportive safety, meaning safety not only for one's own vehicle but for all those involved in an interaction.   At the affective level it is being and remaining motivated towards safety at all times.   At the cognitive level it is using one's mental abilities to assess risks and courses of action to be executed in conjunction with the affective self's motivations.   At the sensorimotor level it is acting on those decisions of the cognitive self while remaining vigilant and in control of the vehicle.

Level 3 - Responsibility.   This is to hold yourself accountable for any outcomes due to your driving upon other drivers.   At the affective level it is to include other drivers in your motivations.   At the cognitive level it is to make supportive driving decisions not selfish decisions.   At the sensorimotor level it is to bring this all to a close creating a supportive driving environment that one finds enjoyable.

My driving behaviors
To fill out this table I took the most outstanding of my behaviors for the given cell.

Affective Responsibility


Skill: Motivation to recognize other drivers around me.


Error: Becoming selfish at times and viewing other drivers as obstacles towards my immediate driving goals.

Cognitive Responsibility


Skill: Recognizing other drivers' motivations and immediate focus of attention.


Error: Recognizing the above yet choosing not to include others in my own driving decisions.

Sensorimotor Responsibility


Skill: Creating an affect of bodily peace when driving.


Error: Creating an affect of impatience and stress when driving.

Affective Safety


Skill: Driving with safety as the main motivator for all actions.


Error: Forgoing safety in favor of selfishness

Cognitive Safety


Skill: Analyzing all avenues and outcomes when driving.


Error:   Analyzing only those avenues and outcomes that support selfishness.

Sensorimotor Safety


Skill: Taking appropriate measures to ensure the vehicle moves in the desired way.


Error: Not taking these measures.

Affective Proficiency


Skill: Ability to remain calm.


Error: Giving into fatigue

Cognitive Proficiency


Skill: Choosing and planning in a supportive manner.


Error: Choosing actions that give feelings of primal pleasure.

Sensorimotor Proficiency


Skill: Remaining realistic in assessment of sensory input.


Error: Becoming lazy in physical control.


Driving Personality Makeover

Stage 1 – Avoiding Being an Aggressive Driver

Affective Level


Remaining vigilant in motivation.

Cognitive Level


Remaining vigilant in decisions.

Sensorimotor Level


Remaining vigilant in physical motion.

  • Not giving into the desire to please myself behind the wheel.
  • Not seeing others as hindrances.
  • Not letting fatigue influence my motivation while driving.
  • Making every decision count towards supportive driving.
  • Choosing to be cautious of a yellow light.
  • Sitting up straight and having proper breath while driving.
  • Not getting distracted by sights and sounds that have nothing to do with the task at hand.

Stage 2 – Becoming a Supportive Driver

Affective Level


Holding supportive motives while driving.

Cognitive Level


Choosing supportive paths while driving.

Sensorimotor Level


Remaining alert

  • Changing the feeling of driving from one of pleasure to one of transportation.
  • Realizing roads are a publicly shared system.
  • Remodeling the way driving is thought of so that even if I do slip into a state of fatigue no unsupportive motivations will arise.
  • Eliminating unsupportive analyses.
  • Viewing yellow lights as helpful cautions.
  • Using time behind the wheel to practice proper sitting posture.
  • Remaining focused on the road, my vehicle, and others on the road with me.


For me the most difficult part of being a supportive driving is the acquisition of energy in times of fatigue.   Fatigue causes my motivations behind the wheel to change from driving as a mode of self-governed transportation to a motivation of getting to my destination.   It is when my motivation no longer encompasses other drivers but only myself that I engage in reckless behaviors.   Another yet less prevalent cause of unsupportive driving on my part is when I get in the mindset of enjoyment of driving.   This leads to desires to feel accelerations forced upon my body.   As of now this instances of this type of mindset through driving are seldom but were quite common when I was younger and I would also engage in behaviors to feel acceleration without a second thought.   Perhaps it is either to a more mature age or the discovery of surfing that has quelled my thirst for the desire to harness gravity behind the wheel.

Question 9
(Incomplete as of 11/15/04 )

Find 10 road rage newspaper stories on the Web that give enough detail that you can reconstruct enough of the interactions to do a scenario analysis of events. The Road Rage and Aggressive Driving book gives some examples (see the Index under "Scenario analysis:. There is also an example in the Lecture Notes in the Section on Charts at Table 6 -- see Try to reconstruct the interactions of each story by making a list or table of the steps. Apply driving psychology principles to explain what's going on and whether this is a necessary or avoidable outcome.

I will offer links to each article and then use a two column table to do an analysis.   The first column will contain the actual driving behavior with mention of whether the behavior was necessary of avoidable while the second column will contain a supportive driving behavior that could have been employed at that point of time in regards to the driving psychology principles taught in this class.

Actual Driving Behavior

Supportive Driving behavior

“I sometimes take it on myself to bug the police” AVOIDABLE

Why is she “bugging” the police?   Indicates a judgmental and dwelling attitude.

“Caught up in the usual back and forth with drivers sporting attitude” AVOIDABLE

She seems to enjoy conflict on the road, another aspect of her driving personality.

“I got annoyed at how close a truck pulled up behind me” AVOIDABLE

Her annoyance was the beginning of the confrontation.   Shows little emotional intelligence behind the wheel.

“pausing for a few seconds before moving” AVOIDABLE

Clear retaliation due to her own feelings.   Would be more productive to retaliate against her easily set off provocation.

“pull over and put my hazards” AVOIDABLE

She does this to signal loss of the “battle”.   Supportive driving is not a battle.

“I flipped my hand right back at him” AVOIDABLE

Encouragement of the situation.   Goes directly against her conceding the “battle”.

“say ‘I got your number pal!'” AVOIDABLE

More encouragement and conflict.

“I revved a few times in warning” AVOIDABLE

Even more retaliatory behavior.

“I bumped him” AVOIDABLE

Ditto.   This woman does nothing to deescalate the situation despite what she thinks.   Her cognitive reasoning and actual behaviors are not in sync.

“dial the ambulance”   UNAVOIDABLE

The situation finally escalates out of her control and she is left with no option but to call for outside help.

“I hate where this story leaves me as a victim unable to fight back” AVOIDABLE

Perhaps this feeling is the fuel that fired this conflict. Again no emotional intelligence.

“keeping a video camera in the car” AVOIDABLE

A solution that leads nothing to changing her behavior but more of a weapon for future “battles”.




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