My Proposal for Lifelong Driver Education
By: Shari Arakawa-Longboy
1A. Overview of Report 2
Report 2 was titled "My Driving Personality Makeover Project." The purpose of this report was to identify our driving persona and personality and then to attempt to modify it. For this project, we had to design an experiment that was targeted to change certain areas of our three-fold-self. We first began by selecting a few assessments/checklists in our text book: Road Rage And Aggressive Driving written by Dr. Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl. Taking the assessments were a necessary step in order to find out what area of our driving personality needed the most change. After taking the assessments, each student created their own experiment that was specific to each individual's goal. The design that I chose for my experiment was AWM ( Acknowledge, Witness, Modify).
The end result for this experiment was that I really needed to change my driving behavior. Although I always thought that was a pretty good driver, I badly mistaken. By completing the first phase of my project, which was taking the selected assessments in our text book, I already knew that my driving behavior needed to change. Using the AWM model really forced me to open my eyes and see myself as a driver. Because I tape recorded myself while driving, I got to hear it with my own two ears what an angry person I was while driving. I also learned that I was indeed able to change. After my intervention, I significantly improved on driving behavior. I was not as angry anymore and overall, I was just a happier person. As a result, my personal relationships improved and I was a lot less stressed. Click on report2 for more information.
1B. Overview of report 3
The purpose of report three is to create a lifelong driver education proposal. In this report, we are supposed to give a brief summary of chapter 9, which is the chapter on lifelong driver education, read through the reports of prior generations, and consult with other web sites that discuss lifelong driver education courses. After studying the information on lifelong driver education, we then create our own proposal. Included in this report, are selected class presentations that we found interesting and noteworthy. Another purpose of this report is to help us identify social and cultural attitudes in our society that pertain to driving.
2A. Overview of Lifelong Driver Education
In this next section, I will be giving you an overview of chapter 9, which is called "Lifelong Driver Education." I will summarize the chapter in sections.
Teenagers At Risk:
This section basically talks about adolescents as drivers and a graduated licensing system that supervises adolescent drivers. The number one cause of death for people fifteen to twenty years old are car crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, just one additional year of driving significantly decreases the likelihood of being involved in a car crash: "A sixteen year old driver is 42% more likely to be involved in a crash than a seventeen year old." When I first read this I was shocked. I did not realize what a big difference just one year of driving experience could make. After reading this fact, I feel that no one should be allowed to drive without adult supervision until the age of eighteen. There were 10,337 crashes that sixteen year olds were involved in 1996. Young drivers are inexperienced and often engage in more risky behaviors. Inexperience + immaturity + risky driving = increased fatal crashes of sixteen year olds.
The graduated licensing approach was first adopted by New Zealand. This approach is divided into three phases. During the first phase, which is called the learnerís permit, the young driver must be under adult supervision, pass a driver education course, and must remain citation free in order to proceed to the next level. In the second phase, which called the intermediate or provisional license, the novice driver must participate in on-road testing as well as remain citation free. In the final phase, which is called Full license, is inclusive of a zero-tolerance alcohol and law and the adolescent must have successfully completed the first two phases. The Graduated Licensing Approach also includes certain restrictions: Six months of crash free / citation free driving, Zero tolerance for alcohol, No driving between midnight and 6:00A.M. without authorization, Color-coded provisional driverís licenses, and Successful completion of a driver education course.
Although the need for driver education among teenagers is high, states do not require it or are insufficiently funded. It seems as though we are going regressing whereby in the 1970ís, ninety percent of people took driver education courses as compared with thirty-five percent today. Parent need to take steps to help prevent or reduce the number of crashes involving teens. Parent can supervise driving time, establish a curfew, set limits on the areas of driving, and be a good role model. For more tips on what parents can do, please refer to page 192 of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving.
Driver-Zed was created by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Driver-Zed is a CD-Rom program developed is response to a "serious need for better training of teen drivers." The program focuses on teaching appropriate risk management skills and has also been statistically proven to produce significant improvements in the risk management skills of young drivers. Dr. John Larson says that curing road rage and stopping aggressive driving is possible if we teach people five alternate beliefs which can be found below.
Driving Psychology Curriculum
Because children learn aggressive driving attitudes from their parents, a lifelong driver education plan should be implemented. Lifelong driver education is a curriculum designed for grades K through 12 that "formalizes, augments, and transforms the current informal negative thinking into positive concepts and standards." Our driving behavior is made up of three aspects of our personality:
In the early years, the focus should be on affective instruction, which consists of attitudes of sociality. During the middle years, the focus should be on cognitive instruction, which involves reasoning, decision making, and problem solving. During the mid-teens, the focus should be on sensorimotor instruction, which is inclusive of vehicle manipulations. The overall goal of lifelong driver education is to teach that the whole focus of driving is to remain in control of the vehicle as well as the situation.
Post Licensing: The QDC approach
QDC, Quality Driving Circles are continuing education for adult drivers. QDCís are made up of about 2-10 people who voluntarily meet on a regular basis to help and encourage one another to stay on the path of a driving self-improvement program. Support groups increase the likelihood that change will be successful. QDCís can take two forms: Face to face QDCís are physically based in the family, neighborhood, or workplace. Virtual QDCís are via telephone, internet, or web-based interactive experiences. There are also dyadic, family, court-mandated, school group, professional, and senior QDCís. Prizes diplomas awards, and commendations can be used to help keep members stay motivated and to keep attendance.
Roadrageous Video Course:
Roadrageous is the first driver education course that is designed to teach drivers behavioral self-modification techniques that are necessary for a lifelong driver self-improvement program. Roadrageous is different from the traditional driver education courses because it focuses on problem solving and developing emotional self-control as well as a sense of community. According to research and experience, telling drivers to "have a good attitude" is not at all sufficient. Instead, techniques are necessary to achieve and shape better attitudes.
The Roadrageous video course teaches people a program that involves three steps to driver self-improvement. The three steps are Acknowledge, Witness, and Modify. This course teaches people how to think analytically while driving, how to develop a greater awareness of thoughts and emotions, and how to monitor actions. As you can see, this covers the three ingredients that make up a personality (Affective, Cognitive, Sensorimotor). Self witnessing yourself behind the wheel is a crucial step in driver self-improvement. This can be easily done by keeping a journal or tape recording yourself while driving.
Older Drivers At Risk:
Older drivers are at risk not only because of the decline in health that comes with "old age," but also because elderly drivers must also make adjustments that challenge personal philosophy and ideology. Old age reduces the drivers ability to deal with traffic incidents both physically and mentally, thereby increasing the seriousness of injuries. Automotive sociologist J. Peter Rothe has collected data from elderly drivers about their concerns that they have about themselves as senior motorists. The data that he collected revealed: insufficient self-confidence due to inexperience, anxiety due to decline in ability, resentment due to social ostracism, hostile behavior addressed at older drivers, inability to see their slowness as others experience it, increased difficulty in certain vehicle manipulations, distressing experiences of information overload on multilane superhighways, the experience of fatigue during long hours of driving. These are just some the revelations that came about from his data collection. For more information on this, please refer to page 207-208 in Road Rage and Aggressive Driving.
One of the most common complaints that drivers have about elderly motorists is that they travel too slowly in the passing lane and refuse to move into a slower lane. As a result of this, other motorists around them get upset and aggressively pass them in the right lane, thereby making it dangerous. New elderly drivers need training to remain alert to this problem, especially because reaction time tends to slow with old age. According to Dr. James. And Dr. Nahl, "since the number of older drivers will increase dramatically over the next two decades, there is a critical need for age groups to better understand each other, and this requires developing a greater tolerance for diversity." I feel that this statement is very true. Younger drivers do need to have more patience for older drivers. Almost everyone that I know, experiences aversive feelings while driving behind an elderly person.
There are several organizations that have developed training specific for older drivers. The American Automobile Association (AAA), AARP, and the National Safety Council provide refresher courses for seniors. Some states like Illinois requires a reexamination test every three years for people who are over the age of seventy-five. Louisiana requires people over the age of sixty to obtain a physical examination.
However, being an older driver does have some benefits. First, since driving experience increases with age, the elderly driver has a lot more experience that is to their advantage. Second, older drivers manage their emotions and impulses better than younger drivers. When young drivers were asked to rate their stress level cause from driving on a scale of one to ten, only 33% of then picked five and above, whereas, over 50% of the older drivers experienced higher stress levels. As a conclusion to this finding, we can say that not only does experience increase with age, but also does stress caused by driving. Stress is a killer because it weakens our immune system and can be damaging both physically and psychologically damaging. The quality of life also declines with stress, since stress is considered to be a depressant. Therefore, all motorists, especially elderly motorists, need to learn stress management techniques. Listed in the book, are two helpful techniques to managing stress: 1. Learn to be a supportive driver. 2. Come out swinging positive.
2B. Something to ponder:
While reading chapter nine of our text books, I came across a few things that I would like to quote and share with you.
"According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a sixteen year old driver is 42% more likely to be involved in a crash than a seventeen year old, who has just one additional years of driving experience" (Road Rage and Aggressive Driving. By: Dr. James Leon and DR. Diane Nahl. Page 190). I took a specially interest in this because I have a younger sister who is sixteen years old and a younger brother who is fifteen years old. Both of them are currently taking a driver education class. This statistic really hit me hard because I know that one day soon, my little sister and brother will be driving. It is simply amazing to me how just one additional year of driving can lower the chances of getting into a crash. Based on this statistic, I feel that teenagers should not be able to drive alone until the age of eighteen. Until they are eighteen years old, I feel that they should be under constant adult supervision.
"Our research shows that most people behind the wheel arenít clearly aware of their own mental state, including being in a bad mood, feeling tense, overreacting emotionally, and carrying on a constant mental stream of thinking critically of other drivers: ridiculing them, cussing at them, even torturing them in fantasy," (page 203). I feel that this statement is very true. It is not only when people are driving that they are unaware of their mental and emotional states, but it is almost all the time that people are unaware of these things. The danger in this is when people take it out on other motorists while driving. Drivers need to realize the potential danger they cause when they "act out" their emotions while driving. The most successful way to do this, is to self-witness yourself.
"Ö, he urged law enforcement to focus on the more subtle aggressive driving violations such as not signaling, not yielding, following too close, and making obscene gestures," (page 194). This quote is a comment made by Dr. Larson. As much as I do not want this to happen, I think that law officials should definitely try to focus on the more subtle actions of drivers. In my opinion, it is the little things that lead to the bigger things. Subtle actions, like following someone too close and making obscene gestures are the basis for a lot of road rage. When someone follows you too close, most people instantly get upset and this leads to wanting to get even with the person, reckless driving, or unhealthy fantasies. I strongly agree that it is the little things that need be addressed in order to cure aggressive driving.
2C. Previous Generations
Katherine Gimeno from Generation 17 did a brief review of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving. For chapter nine, which is about Lifelong driver education, she said that "lifelong driver education is the continuous training adults need regardless of age or experience to improve as drivers." After reading the chapter myself, I have to disagree with what she said. Lifelong driver education is indeed a continuous education, but adults are not the only people who need it. In fact, lifelong driver education is an education that starts from a very young age. Because people start to learn from a very young age, the main focus of lifelong driver education is targeted at children and adolescents. It is the values and morals that we grow up with that will shape how we think and interpret events as adults. As an adult, the education should in fact continue, but this is done through QDCís. Gimeno also forgot to mention the phases of lifelong driver education. However, I did like the fact that Gimeno listed the various techniques and programs that complement lifelong driver education.
Bryce Dechert from Generation 18 also did a book review. He did a good job on explaining the three phases of lifelong driver education as well as the post-education phase for adults. However, he did leave out the various techniques and programs that assist lifelong driver education. He also failed to mention the reeducation that elderly motorists need.
After a reading a few reports from the prior generations, I found that overall they did a pretty good job in defining why we need lifelong driver education and what it is. However, most reports did not go into much detail about lifelong driver education. Some focused on the phases, while others focused on the various techniques and programs that complement lifelong driver education. The one consistent thing that I found was that everyone failed to comment on the elderly motorists. I think the reason why I found everyoneís report incomplete regarding lifelong driver education, is because lifelong driver education was not the focus of their reports. Their reports were more geared toward giving an overall review of the book.
3. Class Discussion and Lecture Notes
Mansfield oral presentation: Chapter 5, Emotional Intelligence for Drivers On March 15, 2004, Melissa Mansfield gave an oral presentation
on chapter 5 which was about Emotional Intelligence for Drivers. She did a very
good job presenting her material and her presentation was unique in that she got
the class to participate. One topic that I found very interesting in her
presentation was "Overcoming Emotional Hijacking." Overcoming
emotional hijacking is defined as: strong feelings that are associated with
"neural discharges in the brain. The stronger the emotion, the more
circuitry gets overloaded, and we start to think a lot with our emotions and
little with our brain. I am in one hundred percent agreement with this. This is
true because when a person is emotionally involved with something, it becomes
very difficult to think rationally about things. Instead, we end up making
decisions based on our emotions when we should be making decisions based on our
ability to reason. Another aspect that I liked about Mansfieldís presentation was "Acting
As If." Acting as if is acting like something does not bother you even when
it really does. Acting as if can help the way you feel because and think because
if you act like something does not bother you, then it probably would not bother
you as much. I have personally tried this technique and it works. For example,
one day I was driving to school and I was stuck in back of this really slow
driver who stepped on his break even when he didnít have to. But I pretended
like it did not bother me at all. Because of this, I was less stressed and
irritated than I would normally be. Although I am supposed to list two or three
things that were not clear to me or that I disagreed with, I cannot seem to find
anything that I did not understand in her presentation. The only aspect that
think could have made the presentation a little better is if we had more time
that day. Chris
Concepcionís Oral presentation: Chapter 6, 3 step Driver Self-Improvement
Program On March 8, 2004, Chris Concepcion gave an oral presentation on the 3 step
driver self-improvement program. His was presentation was very thorough and his
outline was very structured. The two aspects that I really like about his
presentation was his examples and how to self-witness yourself as a driver.
Concepcionís examples were good because everyone could relate to them. He also
gave an extensive example of a "driverís diary." When Concepcion
presented "witnessing," he defined it clearly and also gave a lot of
things to look for when self-witnessing. The fact that his presentation was
right around the time of our experiments also helped. But because of his
presentation, I feel that my experiment was that much easier because of the way
he defined the concepts and because of his examples. Again, I could not find any
aspect of his presentation that I disagreed with or that was not clear. However,
if I did have to make a suggestion, it would be to not read verbatim. (But I
know how hard it is to not do this!!) Jesse
Changís Oral presentation: Chapter 11, Speed Limits: The Great Motorist
Rebellion On April 19, 2004, Jesse Chang presented chapter eleven from Road Rage and
Aggressive Driving. Besides the fact that I thought he gave a really good oral
presentation, there were two aspects that I found noteworthy. First, I really
liked his idea about teaching the importance of reading the environment. I For
example, one of his ideas was to teach the importance of reading the
environment. I think that this is a really good suggestion because being a good
driver does not only mean knowing how to manipulate your vehicle, but it also
means knowing how to interpret your driving environment Ė this includes
noticing stop signs, stop lights, yield signs, speed limits, as well as other
motorists around you. In my opinion, a driver is more dangerous when he/she
drives in an unfamiliar area. The second aspect that I liked about Changís presentation was the idea that
we should have actual police officers teach driver education courses. Who better
to teach driver education courses than police officers? Since one of the main
duties of a police officer is to ticket people when they violate motor vehicle
laws and to assist with any motor vehicle accident, they can pass their first
hand experience on to new drivers. Police officers should know better than
anyone else how to drive smart! Chang also did a very good job presenting his
report. Because his outline was very brief, the students had to pay
attention! The one thing that was not clear to me was the "speed limit + X
Melissa Mansfield oral presentation: Chapter 5, Emotional Intelligence for Drivers
On March 15, 2004, Melissa Mansfield gave an oral presentation on chapter 5 which was about Emotional Intelligence for Drivers. She did a very good job presenting her material and her presentation was unique in that she got the class to participate. One topic that I found very interesting in her presentation was "Overcoming Emotional Hijacking." Overcoming emotional hijacking is defined as: strong feelings that are associated with "neural discharges in the brain. The stronger the emotion, the more circuitry gets overloaded, and we start to think a lot with our emotions and little with our brain. I am in one hundred percent agreement with this. This is true because when a person is emotionally involved with something, it becomes very difficult to think rationally about things. Instead, we end up making decisions based on our emotions when we should be making decisions based on our ability to reason.
Another aspect that I liked about Mansfieldís presentation was "Acting As If." Acting as if is acting like something does not bother you even when it really does. Acting as if can help the way you feel because and think because if you act like something does not bother you, then it probably would not bother you as much. I have personally tried this technique and it works. For example, one day I was driving to school and I was stuck in back of this really slow driver who stepped on his break even when he didnít have to. But I pretended like it did not bother me at all. Because of this, I was less stressed and irritated than I would normally be. Although I am supposed to list two or three things that were not clear to me or that I disagreed with, I cannot seem to find anything that I did not understand in her presentation. The only aspect that think could have made the presentation a little better is if we had more time that day.
Chris Concepcionís Oral presentation: Chapter 6, 3 step Driver Self-Improvement Program
On March 8, 2004, Chris Concepcion gave an oral presentation on the 3 step driver self-improvement program. His was presentation was very thorough and his outline was very structured. The two aspects that I really like about his presentation was his examples and how to self-witness yourself as a driver. Concepcionís examples were good because everyone could relate to them. He also gave an extensive example of a "driverís diary." When Concepcion presented "witnessing," he defined it clearly and also gave a lot of things to look for when self-witnessing. The fact that his presentation was right around the time of our experiments also helped. But because of his presentation, I feel that my experiment was that much easier because of the way he defined the concepts and because of his examples. Again, I could not find any aspect of his presentation that I disagreed with or that was not clear. However, if I did have to make a suggestion, it would be to not read verbatim. (But I know how hard it is to not do this!!)
Jesse Changís Oral presentation: Chapter 11, Speed Limits: The Great Motorist Rebellion
On April 19, 2004, Jesse Chang presented chapter eleven from Road Rage and Aggressive Driving. Besides the fact that I thought he gave a really good oral presentation, there were two aspects that I found noteworthy. First, I really liked his idea about teaching the importance of reading the environment. I For example, one of his ideas was to teach the importance of reading the environment. I think that this is a really good suggestion because being a good driver does not only mean knowing how to manipulate your vehicle, but it also means knowing how to interpret your driving environment Ė this includes noticing stop signs, stop lights, yield signs, speed limits, as well as other motorists around you. In my opinion, a driver is more dangerous when he/she drives in an unfamiliar area.
The second aspect that I liked about Changís presentation was the idea that we should have actual police officers teach driver education courses. Who better to teach driver education courses than police officers? Since one of the main duties of a police officer is to ticket people when they violate motor vehicle laws and to assist with any motor vehicle accident, they can pass their first hand experience on to new drivers. Police officers should know better than anyone else how to drive smart! Chang also did a very good job presenting his report. Because his outline was very brief, the students had to pay attention! The one thing that was not clear to me was the "speed limit + X rule."
3B. A Few Quotes From The Book
"Öadult drivers need continuing training through Quality Driving Circles (QDCs). QDCs are voluntary groups of two to ten drivers who meet regularly to help and encourage one another to follow a driving self-improvement program." (pg. 200)
Although I agree that adult drivers need continuing training, I disagree with the idea of QDCs. The main reason why I disagree with this idea is because peopleís lives are so busy as is. Most of us do not even have enough time or energy for our daily routines as is. There are just not enough hours in a day! I also think that this would not work unless it is a total requirement by law. If it is not a requirement by law, then I think most people would not participate in QDCs. If continuing training for adults should exist, I think the best strategy for this is to first make QDCs a law, but maybe in a way where people need to have so many hours of QDCs per every six months.
"The new paradigm in driver education shifts the focus from just safety knowledge to a more integrated driver education that imparts affective or emotional skills. There is a new recognition that training traffic emotions is both possible and necessary. This focus on the importance of values looks toward a new philosophy of driving that is community oriented rather than individual centered." (pg. 194-195)
I am in total agreement with the new paradigm in driver education. The components of affective education should definitely be taught in driver education courses. My little brother who is fifteen years old, is currently taking a driver education course at his school. I asked him to tell me what they teach the students in his class. I also asked him if they teach students how to manage their emotions and stress levels. He told me that they only mentioned that if you are stressed or in a mad mood, you should not drive. Other than that ONE comment, the entire class focuses on the physical aspects of driving. They do not teach students about stress management, road rage, or aggressive driving. Surprisingly, none of these terms were used in his class! Everything taught in the class is individual centered.
"In addition to assessing fines, Miami-Dade judges may now order repeat traffic offenders to attend an eight-hour class on how to curb antisocial behavior on the highways, said Chief Circuit Judge Joseph Farine. The Florida Highway Patrol wants the Legislature to define aggressive driving, make it a crime and establish penalties."
I my opinion, having repeated offenders attend an eight hour class on how to curb antisocial behavior on highways is a really good "punishment." However, I do feel that maybe even first time offenders should have to attend some kind of class. This kind of "punishment" would not really be a punishment if the class is structured in the right way. If the class is structured in such a fashion where they teach people stress management techniques, values, and morals, then those people will have learned something valuable that they can apply to every aspect of their lives. But is eight hours really enough? I donít think so. Maybe they should have repeated offenders dedicate every Saturday for a month to this class Ė a total of thirty-two hours.
I also feel that every state should try to be consistent with each other regarding motor vehicle laws. Since a lot of people travel and most tourists rent cars, it would be a good idea for motor vehicles to be the same in every state. I also agree with the Florida Highway Patrol in wanting the Legislature to define aggressive driving and make it a crime. Aggressive driving should definitely be a crime. People too often take for granted the leniency of motor vehicle laws. Although most people do not want to dish out additional money to pay a fine, they often think "well, thatís all I have to do is pay a fine and then Iím off the hook." Consequences for aggressive driving have to be more severe.4. My Proposal for Lifelong Driver Education
In this next section, I present to you my proposal for lifelong driver education. MY proposal will be divided into several groups, covering the entire life span of a person. I will touch upon the three areas of the self as well as techniques and programs that assist the proposal for each age group. My proposal is very similar to that of Dr. James Leon and Dr. Diane Nahl. However, you will find that the difference will be that my proposal plan will not only be focused on driving. In my opinion, how we react to situations as a driver and the aggressiveness that most people have while driving, stems from the morals, values, and virtues that we grew up with. The tools that we learn throughout lifelong driver education should be applicable to every other aspect in our life. If our children are brought up to have compassion, empathy, and respect for others, it should make driving a more peaceful experience. For example, if we are taught to have patience and compassion for other people, then when someone cuts us off, we should be able to not get upset and think that "well, maybe he/she has an emergency."
Early education and Elementary
First, let me start off with the youngest age group that entails infancy through grade 6. During this period, the focus should be on "affective education". The education that the child receives at this age will be a continuous education that should take place all of the time. Since we start to learn various things from a very young age through modeling and because early childhood is when we start to be molded by our caretakerís values and morals, it is very important that we start to teach our young from a very young age. At this stage, it is mostly up the parents to teach kids how to react to stressful events, manage our emotions, to be aware of our anger, and to teach optimism. Because every child goes to preschool, it is primarily the caretakers job to provide these building blocks to our children. Parents can teach their children through monitoring and modifying the way they act in front of their children at ALL times (not only when driving) since children really do learn from watching their parents. This concept of modeling comes from Albert Bandura who did a study called the "Bobo Doll Effect." Bandura found that children will often imitate adults, someone who they want to be like, someone who is a role model to them.
Because of this concept of modeling and learning vicarious learning, parents also need to monitor the types of movies and television shows their children watch. This is very important because many people do not realize the impact and influence movies and TV shows have on people in general. Parents can also sit down and watch TV with their children and talk about the show. By doing this, the parent can point out the good and bad things to their child.
Once the child goes to school and is old enough to start adopting values and morals, it is crucial for parents and teachers to instill high values and virtues. It is crucial to teach children respect, consideration, compassion, patience, and empathy. Owning these virtues will allow the child to not only apply it to driving, but to every other situation that may occur in their lifetime. Parents should also make their children understand that anger is indeed something that we can control. Anger is not so much a response, but it is a choice. We choose when to be angry and when not to be angry. Parents and teachers need to explain to children that it is okay to feel upset, but what counts the most is how we express it. If we should choose to get angry, anger should be expressed through talking it out with someone. This is where both parents and teachers need to gain the trust of children and make themselves approachable and available to children.
While driving, parents should point out the "wrongs" of other drivers as well as their own "mistakes." In doing that, parents should explain to the child what just happened and teach them how to handle the situation in a calm way. Parent should also teach their children how to self-witness activities as pedestrians, passengers and other road users. Another important aspect that children should be taught is how their behavior affects others around them.
Children in elementary school and maybe even younger, should also be taught that everyone is different and that no two people are ever exactly the same. By teaching children this concept, we are teaching them acceptance of other people. Parents and teachers should also teach kids how to OWN their feelings, emotions, and actions. We need to give children the responsibility of their own emotions and actions.
The focus in this stage should be on cognitive factors and should still incorporate affective education. This stage should involve reasoning, problem solving skills, decision making, stress management, and knowledge.
Stress management is a very important aspect. Kids need to learn how to manage their stress from a very young age so that when they are put in a stressful situation, they will know how to handle it and take control of it Ė instead of letting the stress control them. On a daily basis, people are always getting stressed. This especially happens when we are driving. One of the main causes of being stressed while driving is because of low patience and time. A lot of people are always rushing from place to another. Most of my colleges justifying their speeding with being late. Lets face it- todayís society is a highly stressed one and there are just not enough hours in a day! Because of this, we should start to teach kids time management techniques Ė which would mean that parents need to practice this as well. For example, on a daily basis, parents should make their children responsible for waking up on time and getting ready for school. If the child does not wake up on time and is not ready for school by the time he/she needs to leave, (like he/she did get a chance to make their hair), then that is just too bad. That is the consequence of not waking up early enough to allow him/herself enough time to get ready.
Another example of teaching children time management, is that whenever there is an appointment or event, like lets say a party, parents should always make it a point to get to their destination early Ė this way children will be more likely to give themselves more than enough time when they get older.
Reasoning and decision making is another important concept to teach. Reasoning involves cognitive skills and being able to look at the consequences involved. Reasoning is a way of weighing the good and the bad and deciding what is right and wrong. Reasoning is applicable to driving because of peer pressure, or the pressure of society at large. For example, lets say that your child is riding in the car with his friend (being that his friend is old enough to drive). Your childís friend starts to speed or runs a red light on purpose. You would want your child to be able to reason this out in his head and decide that just because his friend did it, it doesnít make right for him to do it. According to Dr. James and Dr. Nahl, here are some good tips for parents and teachers to practice with middle school children: (For more information, pleases refer to page 198 of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving)
Here are some tips that parents and teachers can implement on a daily basis, in a classroom, or at home:
During this phase, the focus should be on sensorimotor driving skills along with incorporating affective and cognitive skills. This phase of the program can be implemented as a regular class throughout high school. Because teenagers are in the formal operations stage of life, they have more capacity to understand more complex situations. In class, children can learn the correct and proper ways of driving as well as learning to be multi-tasked. At this point, everything the child has learned should all come together. Teenagers also need to learn about risk-taking behaviors. Risk-taking behaviors are very common for children in the formal operational stage of life. They need to be made aware of these tendencies, know that it will happen, learn how to control them, and know that if they engage in these tendencies especially while driving, they are not only putting themselves at a risk, but other people as well. They need to realize that by engaging in such tendencies while driving can potentially cause a chain reaction that will entail the hurt and heartbreak of the families of those who COULD be involved in an accident that they created.
Videos of good and bad driving behavior should also be made available to students. Students can then learn to distinguish between good and bad driving behavior as well as analyze the elements that make up good driving behavior. During this phase, students should also be given information to contact legislators concerning speed limits and potential road conditions that may pose the potential for unsafe driving.
Driving simulators can also be a part of this phase. This would probably call for some kind of funding from the government, but I think it would be money well spent. By having driving simulators available to students, students can have the opportunity to practice driving before they get on the roadways.
Another idea that might work is to have guest lecturers come to schools and talk with teenagers about the dangers aggressive driving can pose. The guest lecturers can be people who got into car accidents due to aggressive driving, police officers, or families who have lost a loved one in a car accident. These people can pass on first hand knowledge about the consequences of aggressive driving. The following are more suggestions of what this phase can offer. For more information, please refer to page 199 of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving.
As for the "hands-on" past of this class, it would be a good idea for lifelong driver education to adopt the idea of "graduated licensing." According to Dr. James and Dr. Nahl, graduated licensing involves three different phases of driving. The first phase is called the permit stage which often occurs at age fifteen or sixteen. During this phase, teen drivers are required to be supervised by an adult, pass driver education course, and remain citation free in order to proceed to the next level. The second phase, which called the provisional phase, includes on-road testing and a requirement to remain citation free. During this phase, other restrictions such more supervised driving and a curfew against late-night driving apply. The third phase, which is called full licensing occurs after successful completion of the first 2 phases and includes a zero-tolerance alcohol law. This approach has been adopted by New Zealand as well as other states and countries. Research shows that since the approach has been adopted, there have been fewer rates of injury and fatalities among young drivers.
Now the question is, how do we get students to actively participate in these activities? Teachers and parents can offer incentives for participation. Rewards, certificates, and token economy can be used in assisting this program. Token economy is giving tokens to students whenever they do something good, and in the end they are allowed to use their tokens to buy things. Although token economy is widely used many teachers, parents can also use this strategy at home. Fundraisers that create some kind of dependency on the students can be used to raise money to better the program and get people in the community involved. Teachers can also offer class parties or gift certificates if the class as a whole does well. The main goal is to motivate students to want to participate in class and take driver education seriously.
Adulthood: Post Licensing
At this stage, the young driver has reached adulthood, where he/she reaches a point of freedom from school and classes. The young driver is finally out in the "real world" and is now totally responsible for himself. Although the driver has graduated from driver education courses and the graduated licensing program, it is important that adult drivers continue their education of lifelong driver education. Dr. James and Dr. Nahl propose the idea of QDCs.Quality Driving Circles are "voluntary groups of two to ten drivers who meet regularly to help and encourage one another to follow a driver self-improvement program." QDCs, as explained above, can be face-to-face or virtual, which can take the form of Dyadic, family, court-mandated, school groups, professional, and senior grouping. QDCs can also be take the form of an online forum, through e-mail or telephone, chat rooms, and so forth.
However, because the lives of many people are busy as is, QDCs might not be the best answer to continued education during adulthood. For continued education through adulthood, adult drivers can enroll in such classes like yoga, stress-management, and relaxation training. These activities can also be offered on TV, video, DVD, and CD-Rom, which all can be done in the comfort of home.
Another idea that can be implemented in this stage, is to require employers to provide access to QDCs and the activities mentioned above. QDCs can be done during lunch once a week or even twice a month. This way, adult drivers do not have to take time out of their busy schedules to continue their education of lifelong driver education. In my opinion, employers who provide such a program would also be benefiting from this too. If the employees are less stressed from driving, they will be able to perform better at work, thereby increasing their productivity. Employers can also provide a psychologist, paraprofessional, or even a layperson to talk to those who need to talk. Other tools for post licensing are listed below. For more information on QDCs, please refer to page 200-202 of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving.
Elderly people should also continue their education following the post licensing phase. The post licensing techniques and tools should be continuously used throughout the rest of the driverís life span. To increase the safety of elderly drivers, it should be a requirement by law for older drivers to have yearly physical and eye examinations in order to make certain the driver is fit to drive.5. Conclusion
In conclusion to this assignment and the class as a whole, I have learned many great things that will improve my life, my driving behavior, and relationships with others. This assignment alone, has made me understand why lifelong driver education is necessary. It has also helped me to better understand the danger that teen drivers face and stigma that elderly motorist face. The assignment has also help put into perspective road rage and aggressive driving. In my opinion, society at large is to blame for road rage. In our culture, society is always portraying that aggressive driving is "cool" through car magazines, video games, movies, commercials Ė its everywhere and the sad thing about it, is that adolescents are the ones who are most vulnerable. It is during adolescents when we start to really want to drive and it is during this time when we think we are invincible.
In the beginning of this semester, I honestly did not take driving seriously. I thought, "driving psychology? Is there really a such thing?" Boy, was I wrong for not taking it seriously. Did you know that there are more people who die each year from auto accidents than there were who died in World War II? Driving is one of the most dangerous things and yet people take it for granted think that "it wonít happen to me." MY views from the beginning of the semester to now have definitely changed. Now, I am more aware of aggressive driving and I am more open to criticism about the way I drive. In fact, I even criticize myself while driving sometimes!
In the next few years, I am not sure how driving behavior will be. But if it does change, laws need to be implemented soon and so does lifelong driver education. Now that I have written this paper, I feel that lifelong driver education is definitely necessary.
6. Future Generations
My advice to future generations is to stay on top of the readings and assignments. Do not take it for granted that the class only meets once a week!! Take this class seriously and really try to learn something from it. I promise you, the lessons that youíll learn from this class are valuable ones. Take the assignments seriously and really try to apply them to yourselves. The class is really not that hard if you keep up and stay focused. However, start your reports ahead of time because it is not something that you can over-night!!
Driving psychology is a really resourceful class to take. You should consider yourself lucky that you were able to get into this class. Road rage and aggressive driving is really a serious matter. We can help our society by teaching our friends about road rage, the techniques that you will learn from this class, and how to be a supportive driver. We can also help society by being supportive drivers ourselves.
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