Musings of a Traffic Psychologist
As drivers we face many dilemmas when driving.† There is always a choice to be made, but what choice do you make when faced with a dilemma.
Example:† Letís say you are driving on the freeway in the middle of a convoy and they begin driving faster, but you donít want to drive as fast as them.† You feel like switching over to the right lane but they are driving to slow for you.† What would you do in this situation, slow the convoy down or slow yourself down in the slow lane?
Culturally:† We donít want to hold others up but at the same time most of us were raised to believe that we shouldnít let others force out of our territory, especially if we were there first.
Psychologically:† Dilemmas cause a person to make quick decisions and many times itís hard to make the right decisions, which may cause stress and anger in our lives.††
Driverís Education:† What would help with making the right decisions is understand that the best decision helps everyone and not just you.† You must remember to think objectively and squash subjectivity.† Understand what being a supportive driver is and become one yourself, this will help free your mind from future dilemmas.†††
2. Balancing the Negative & Positive Bias
For as much negative thought you express you must also express the same amount of positive thought.† This is necessary to stay a balanced driver.
Example:† Youíre on the freeway in the right lane and you want to switch over to the left lane, but you see a car coming up quick in that lane.† You have your blinker on and you begin entering his lane but he continues to speed up.† You get into the lane the driver breaks late and abruptly.† You call him an idiot, is this fair?
Culturally:† We hate to feel controlled by others in our society.† Most of us have bosses, parents, and other higher authorities that make our lives more miserable than need be.† When we have the opportunity to control driving situations and put ourselves ahead of others, we sometimes act with aggression.†
Psychologically:† Many times we feel we are not the ones at fault even when we are not sure.† Not many people want to be seen as the one who caused the problem.† So are instincts tell us to blame the other guy and call him an idiot.
Driverís Education:† Get the idea out of your head that youíre the one who is not at fault; sometimes you are so notice that.† Even if you werenít the one at fault you must learn to think that the aggressive driver had a valid reason for doing what they did; perhaps he wasnít paying attention or maybe he has to go to the hospital to be there for his new baby being born.† †††
3. Traffic Flow Psychology
Understanding how traffic flows is important to create a safer driving environment.† Therefore traffic flow psychology is thinking through the way traffic flows.†
Example: †In traffic you wonder why the left lane begins to slow down and the right lane begins to move faster.† This is caused by impatient drivers that want to be in the fastest lane.† As they all merge into the left lane it gets full, while the right lane now opens up and flows faster.†
Culturally:† Everybody in our culture fights to get ahead in whatever it is.† This is the way our society is raised and expected to act.† Donít let anyone pass you or get in front of you.† This is a dog eat dog world and if you donít eat you will starve to death.† These are things we carry to every aspect of our lives, including driving.† So when we see other s getting ahead of us in traffic we want to join them and even try to beat them which causes us to cut others off and drive dangerously just to get ahead.
Psychologically:† Drivers have a mindset that only supports on thing, themselves.† When it comes to driving a lot of people view it subjectively rather than objectively which creates aggressive driving and individuals that donít support the driving community around them.
Driverís Education:† In order to become a supportive driver one has to change there views to objective rather than subjective.† Also drivers need to understand the way traffic flows.† Knowing that lane-hopping wonít get you to your destination any faster than not doing it, could save a lot of people from stressing out and taking a few years off their lives.
Do you ever listen to the way you talk to yourself while driving?† The way one talks to them self could come from multiple influences.† Inner transcript analysis and self-witnessing are very important for understanding oneís level of objectivity towards other drivers.
Example:† Youíre waiting for the light in order to turn left but your fifth in line.† When the light turns green the third driver waits and lets a side street driver go ahead which holds up the left turn line, because of this the light can turn yellow and stop traffic.† She he have done this?†
Culturally:† There are so many different people in this world, some are nice and others just donít care.† This is a moral issue and there are numerous levels of morality in people, so depending on how one was raised and their cultural influences, this will determine how they react to others.
Psychologically:† How do you want to be as a person?† You and only you control the way you want to lead your life and think of others.† Do you like to think subjectively or objectively?
Driverís Education:† Be conscious of what you think and say to yourself.† What you express to yourself, is truly who you are.† Get acquainted with the 3-step driver self-improvement program and learn to acknowledge, witness, and modify your words, and thoughts.††
Drivers anonymous is exactly like alcoholics anonymous.† Itís a group that allows for drivers to discuss there problems and work on improving these problems.† You could also refer to this as a Quality Driving Circle (QDC).
Example: †I get cut off by another driver and to let him know how I feel I honk and give him the finger.† Later I go to drivers anonymous and explain what happen and look for solutions to my anger problem.
Culturally:† We learn to drive in numerous ways.† We observe other drivers, friends, family, media, and so on.† We are conditioned by our culture to drive aggressively, after all look at our culture most of itís aggressive.† Nevertheless there are programs that help those with problems and drivers anonymous will do this.†
Psychologically:† When we belong to a support group such as drivers anonymous we feel more inclined to act the way our group does.† If our group is a bunch of supportive drivers we will soon become like them.† This is similar to church groups, sports groups, and any other type of group that one is surrounded by.†
Driverís Education:† Grab a few friends ask them to come together and talk about their driving experiences, this will be most beneficial for the improvement of supportive driving.†† †