Outline of My Second Oral Presentation
Driver Self-Improvement Program
This is a presentation of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving (Prometheus, 2000) by Leon James and Diane Nahl (p.133-150)
By Lynda Hoang

Instructions for this oral presentation are found at:
www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy21/g21-oral.htm 

I.                    Objective Self-Assessment for Drivers

A.      A three-step program to help drivers manage emotions while driving (emotional intelligence). The goal is to identify bad habits that produce feelings of rage in the self or others.  Being able to see yourself as others see you is the starting point.

1.       Acknowledge that every driver needs a better understanding of road rage.  Most difficult step, but can’t change a habit without acknowledging it first.

a.       Acknowledgement must be made in all three areas of the driver’s habits:  emotions, thoughts, and overt actions. 

b.      Must be specific (eg. “I should be more careful” vs. “I will avoid giving stink eye”)

2.       Self-witnessing is done by putting thoughts and feelings during driving into words.  This makes the material available to put into long-term memory so we can reflect on it.  The “looking glass self” is the ability to manage our growth by splitting into actor and audience (Charles Cooley). 

a.       Example:  Thinking out loud into tape recorder while driving, putting a coin in a cup each time you witness a negative/positive event.

3.       Modify one behavior at a time.  Do it over and over again until it becomes automatic. 

a.       Examples:  Leaving house 15 minutes earlier (actions).  Telling yourself to wear your seatbelt even if you think you won’t need it (thoughts).  Avoiding getting angry when another driver forces you to break (emotions).

B.       I picked this topic because I think it’s important to be able to realize what you’re doing wrong and take action to change it.  I agree that you must acknowledge and witness before you can effectively modify behaviors, and then recycle this process continuously (while developing new skills) to become a good driver in life.

C.      Every driver in society is sometimes clouded by self-serving bias.  Who is always blamed for the incident?  Usually not yourself, but the other motorist.  Self-Assessment is a useful tool for society to use in finding the underlying cause of our anger.

D.      http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/self-serving_bias.htm

II.                  Resistance to Change

A.      Drivers resist changing their style at first; driving habits were acquired and maintained subconsciously.  This gradually goes away because driving without inner pressures to be competitive and criticize others is safer and more enjoyable. 

1.       Driving stress comes from internal reactions to external events, not from the actions of others. 

B.      Resistance to change is something I feel is important to acknowledge.  It’s good to realize YOU, not OTHERS, have control over your driving experience.

C.      By acknowledging my resistance to change, I can tell myself to stop and adopt better skills. I have control of my emotions regardless of what the other drivers do.  This is something that I feel society can use in many other situations in life besides driving. 

1.       Procrastination – I sometimes keep telling myself I’ll do my homework tomorrow, but tomorrow I tell myself I’ll do it tomorrow.  Sometimes it helps if I take the time to realize I’m putting things off and should just do it right away.

D.      http://www.topten.org/public/BA/BA711.html

III.                Irrational Driving Rules

A.      Assumptions about driving that are groundless and just add to stress.  In many cases, we don’t even realize we have these assumptions, and are therefore vulnerable to them. 

1.       Included are rules like:  

a.       I must make all the lights.

b.      I must go as fast as possible.

c.       If someone passes me, I’m going too slow.

d.      When the light turns yellow, I must speed up.

B.      I decided to use this as one of my concepts because I agree with the book that we all have these assumptions, and they only add to our stress. 

C.      It is important to be conscious of these assumptions because they may be affecting our thoughts, feelings, and actions.  It may not be in your best interest to follow these rules.  They not only add to your stress, but can be physically and emotionally unsafe. 

1.       For example, if I were to speed up every time someone passes me, I may end up going 45 mph in a 25 zone.  This is dangerous, and I could get a speeding ticket.  I may have not been going too slow when driving 25 mph, but those who passed me may just have been impatient and aggressive.

2.       If society is conscious of these rules, we may be less vulnerable to them, therefore making the roads less stressful and competitive.

D.      http://www.drdriving.org/articles/three_step.htm

This Oral is located at:  http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409af2004/hoang/myoral2.htm

My Homepage:  http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409af2004/hoang/