My Driving Personality Makeover Project

By Chris Concepcion

 

Link to instructions:

http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy20/g20lecturenotes409a.htm

 

1. Preface

 

††††††††††† In my report 1, I did a lot of reviewing of previous generational reports.This report helped me get more in depth with what driving psychology encompasses.I defined key terms of driving psychology and commented on what driving psychology is to me.It was also somewhat of a review of my own current driving style and philosophy.How do media, driverís education, family and friends influence my driving style?Report 1 was a starting point for me to understand what driving psychology is and how its multiple aspects can explain my own driving style.Being emotionally intelligent is what is needed to become a supportive driver.Through the three step driver's self-improvement program, a person is able to acknowledge, witness, and modify bad driving habits.Only you can make yourself become a supportive driver.It's hard to break bad habits but this is the reason why driver's education is a lifelong process.

†††††††††††

††††††††††† Many times our driving anger stems from subjective thinking and this differs from a supportive driver.A supportive driver thinks objectively.Say someone cuts you off, speeds, and weaves in and out of traffic.A non-supportive driver would get angered possibly to the point of rage.Subjective thinking causes you to believe the erratic driver is just a jackass trying to beat everybody on the road.Switch the subjectivity to objectivity and you'll come up with reasons like, "that erratic driver is heading to the hospital because a loved one is in critical condition."The fact of the matter is that you really don't know the reason why the driver is driving somewhat recklessly.Instead of thinking with a self-serving bias towards that driver, it is safer and less stressful to reason the situation with a supportive and objective perspective.If everyone knew about driving psychology then the roads would definitely be a lot safer.†††

 

††††††††††† The purpose of my Report 2 is to test myself with various questionnaires from the book Road Rage and Aggressive Driving.The book is a good place to start my identification of the aggressive driving acts I commit, but after these questionnaires I will drive around for one week straight to see what my bad habits are.The reason for report 2 is to help me identify what bad habits I need to correct.A makeover project to change from an aggressive driver to a supportive one is the goal of report 2.Once the problems have been identified, I will implement ways to correct them via modifying previous generational reports to suite my problems.

 

2. Introduction

 

††††††††††† I took a few of the questionnaires and tests that were in the book Road Rage and Aggressive Driving by Dr. Leon James & Dr. Diane Nahl.I have to find out what areas of driving I need to improve to develop my own personal driving makeover plan.These are the tests I took.†††

 

Your Road Rage Tendency (p. 40-41)

††††††††††† The first questionnaire I took involved examining my road rage tendency.A few of the questions asked where:

††††††††††† (1) When a driver in a parking lot tries to steal the space I've been waiting for, I get furious?Yes†††††††††††††††††††††† No

††††††††††† (2) Pushy drivers really annoy me so I bad-mouth them to feel better.Yes††††††† No

††††††††††† (3) If I stopped driving aggressively, others would take advantage of my passivity.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Yes††††††††††††††††† No

†††††††††† These questions above are questions I answered yes too.According to the scoring system of this questionnaire every question I answered with a yes, I must give myself 1 road rage point.Out of 20 questions I got 7 road rage points.

 

Your Range of Hostility (p.81-82)

††††††††††† Involves a twenty step continuum which increases in degrees of hostility the higher up on the scale you go.Step 1 is moderate aggression and increases to step 20 which is extreme violence.The object of this test is to see how far a person letís themselves be controlled by anger and frustration.The question is at what number do you stop on this scale?

††††††††††† (1) Mentally condemning another driver

††††††††††† (2) Verbally denigrating another driver to passengers in your vehicle

††††††††††† (3) Closing ranks to deny someone entry into your lane because you're frustrated or upset

††††††††††† (4) Giving another driver the "stink eye" to show your disapproval.

††††††††††† (5) Speeding past another car or revving the engine as a sign of protest

††††††††††† (6) Preventing another driver from passing because you're mad

This is the number in which I went up too.I got six out of twenty.According to the scoring system 6/20 is in the hostile zone of aggressive driving.Visibly communicating displeasure or resentment with the desire to punish or retaliate, describes the hostile zone.

 

Your Passive Aggressive Road Rage Tendency (p.88-89)

††††††††††† Ten items are listed to establish your level of passive resistance and you check the ones that describe you.Here are a few of the questions that pertain to passive aggressive road rage.

††††††††††† ††† I ignore yield signs.

††††††††††† ††† I don't bother giving proper signals.

††††††††††† ††† I repeatedly tap the brakes or slow down to retaliate against a tailgater.

††††††††††† ††† I make gestures and facial expressions to myself to show my disapproval of pushy drivers.

††††††††††† ††† I am slow to get going when traffic lights turn green.

These are a few of the items listed that pertain to passive aggressive road rage.There isn't really a scoring system for this questionnaire, it's just used to help one identify what problems they may have to improve.

 

Your Verbal Road Rage Tendency (p.91)

††††††††††† A number of different verbal statements are given in which you might catch yourself saying as you encounter bad drivers.Here are a few samples of which are listed in the questionnaire.

††††††††††† ††† Hey fool, get out of the way!

††††††††††† ††† Nope, I won't let you sneak into my lane.

††††††††††† ††† Hey, what's the big rush? Don't be so pushy!

††††††††††† ††† What's wrong with this driver, I can't believe how slow he's going!

††† Figures, it's a woman. Women can't drive for S%#T! (Also works for different social classes, orientation, ethnic identity, and age groups)

††††††††††† ††† Who do you think you are, creep?

Like the previous questionnaire this one is also used to you identify driving problems that need to be worked on.

 

Are You A Rushing Maniac? (P.102-103)

††††††††††† Do you find it necessary to make it to your destination the fastest way possible, even if it means endangering other drivers?Or maybe you always find yourself being late for work, school, or appointments.In either situation the objective is to rush in order to make it to your destination as fast as possible.I'm going to list some of the books statements that may apply to you if you're a rushing maniac.

††††††††††† ††† One of my worst nightmares is sitting in traffic, wasting my time.

††††††††††† ††† I've learned to constantly look over my shoulder for cops.

††††††††††† ††† I like to leave as late as possible and time things close to the minute.

††††††††††† ††† I feel really good when I get somewhere fast, beating my own record.

††††††††††† ††† My schedule makes me rush in traffic-I have to rush to make all my stops.

If any of these statements apply to you, you may be a rushing maniac.This test is used to help you recognize things that would make you a rushing maniac.Once you have recognized the problems then you can concentrate on improving them, so you don't rush when driving.

 

Are You An Aggressive Competitor? (P.104-105)

††††††††††† Many drivers like to be competitive when driving.Some drivers feel that aggressive driving is the only way to survive on the roads these days.They may feel that people will take advantage of them if they use passive driving techniques.I'm going to list some statements that may apply to you if you are an aggressively competitive driver.

††† I'm driving in the left lane in heavy traffic and trying to switch to the right lane to make a right turn at the next intersection. The driver in the car next to me sees my signal and closes the gap, preventing me from entering the lane.I miss my turn as a result.This proves that he purposely kept me out.

††† As the streets are getting more crowded, drivers make each other angry. It's a competitive situation and I can't afford to worry too much about how my driving makes others angry because we all make each other angry.

††††††††††† ††† I've discovered that I can force my way into any lane by being pushy.

††† I love it when I pass a long line of waiting cars, then when I cut in at the front of the line. Victory! Only losers wait in line.

This questionnaire is used to find out if youíre an aggressive driver.If these are thoughts you have then you are probably an aggressive driver.

 

Do You Support Passenger Rights In Your Car? (P.184)

††††††††††† This test wants to find out how supportive you are of your passengerís rights.Do you feel that passengerís shouldnít be allowed any verbal input when riding with you?Some people feel that if you ride in their car, you really have no rights to be judgmental of their driving style.Here are a few examples of supporting passengerís rights.

††† I insist on choosing the radio station or tape and controlling the volume while Iím at the wheel.

††† Iíve ridiculed passengers for telling me to turn somewhere, even when they were right.

††† Iíve denied doing something a passenger saw me do.

††† Iíve insisted on choosing the route and speed when the passenger wants it another way.

Basically ignoring passenger feelings is whatís happening here.Iím sure many of us have been guilty of ignoring passenger feelings at one time or another.Once again thereís no scoring system for this questionnaire.This questionnaire is used to help a driver notice their unsupportive characteristics of a passengerís right.

 

Positive Driving Behavior (P.212-213)

††††††††††† What is your driving behavior like?This questionnaire should help you find out if you fall into the category of being a positive driver.Being a positive driver means youíre also a supportive driver.Here are some statements that may help reaffirm you of your positive driving characteristics.

††† Putting on the turn signal in consideration of others; thinking of how to reduce stress for others

††† Recognizing higher motivations in driving, like fairness, civility, morality, altruism, religion, or spirituality

††† Learning to avoid mental violence as retaliation; not letting frustration lead to aggressiveness and hostility

††† Creating positive mental scenarios and avoiding pessimism; saying, ďTraffic is not too bad. Iíll relax,Ē versus ďTraffic is awful. Iíll never get home.Ē

If you checked off on any of these you can consider yourself a positive driver in some aspects of driving.Itís important to remember that no matter how positive you are as a driver, there are always ways to improve.The more positive, the more supportive you are as a driver.

 

††††††††††† Much of the samples Iíve listed for passive aggressive and verbal road rage tendencies, rushing maniac, aggressive competitor, and supporting passenger rights are things Iím guilty of committing.Though Iím not proud of admitting I have unsupportive driving habits, acknowledging is the first step of the three step driver self-improvement program.From here I can devise a program to help me combat these bad habits.Iím glad to say that I do practice the samples Iíve listed for positive driving behaviors, almost every time I drive.Reviewing the samples that Iíve listed from the eight questionnaires; I see a stylized pattern of unsupportive driving techniques.I realize that I am somewhat of an impatient driver.I mildly express my dislike towards pushy drivers, (tailgaters) but at times I do find myself driving like the very drivers I despise.I try to be supportive of my passengerís rights but at times I feel that they are in my car and they shouldnít complain if they are driving with me.

 

††††††††††† When it comes to my aggressive driving actions, it is mostly unintentional.It is usually because Iím in a hurry or because Iím in a bad mood.Mood plays a huge role in the way you act towards other drivers around you.If Iím irritated or upset with someone like my mom or girlfriend when I go driving it greatly affects how I interact in the road.I become more aggressive and less supportive.I can definitely say that driving is situational for me, depending on where Iím going, where I came from, what Iím going to do, what I was just doing, and so on.As a driver and a person I am really laid-back in almost all situations.I am for the most part, not an aggressor and I donít like to provoke people, so it takes a lot for me to respond with aggression.For instance, I almost never use my horn on cars that take awhile to get going and I almost never eye other drivers down.Donít think Iím saying to you, that Iím an ideal driver because Iím not, but I for the most part try to drive with an optimistic outlook.††

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3.My Driver Self-modification Attempt

 

(a) Design of my experiment

 

††††††††††† As I looked back at prior generations, I found some interesting perspectives and ways to improve my driving style.Alan Furukawa made a good point by explaining that the correct plan of action would be a slow and steady self-improvement plan rather than expecting a miracle in one week.I will keep this in mind as I create a modification plan that suites me.Sheldon Tawata brings an interesting approach to modifying his bad behaviors, he uses music.I think this is great if it works, it sounds like it was pretty successful for Sheldon.I may incorporate this into my modification plan because music can help a driver with their emotions.Bryan Yucoco has a good technique of keeping his mind occupied with stuff he enjoys to do.He thinks of Tai Chi because it keeps his mind peaceful and free of negativity.Other thinks could be art, the beach, music, movies, and anything else that could keep a driver happy and distract them from committing aggressive acts.These are all good ideas I may use to modify my driving behavior.

 

Driving has a lot to do with psychology especially when referring to our affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor selves.I notice that I also have problems with my level of hostility and verbal road rage tendencies.I truly think the hardest part of driving is controlling oneís hostility and negative verbal remarks.Oneís affective characteristics come from the way we were raised and/or genetics. Our affective domain controls the level of hostile emotion we put forth.Since negative affective characteristics stem from an early age in our lives, we find it most difficult to refine and correct them.The cognitive self is characteristic of the way we think and reason when driving.Cognitive characteristics would be representative of a rushing maniac because this person may thinks that time spent on the road is wasted time.The way one thinks and reasons could be characteristic of their on personality and influenced by friends, family, media, and other drivers.

 

††††††††††† Finally, the sensorimotor self is the physical actions we take when driving.When a person reacts with their Sensorimotor self, it ultimately comes from the affective and cognitive selves. If someone cuts you off, your emotions probably react first by getting upset or scared.After that you have sometime to cognitively evaluate the situation, then you react with your sensorimotor self.With every situation you encounter on the road, all aspects of your driverís threefold self will be involved.From the test and questionnaires Iíve took, I know that I have a few aggressive driving behaviors that I have to correct.I want to become a supportive driver and I will become one by implementing the AWM driver self-modification plan.Acknowledge, witness, and modify is what AWM stands for.The first step is acknowledging that you have a problem, weather it be tailgating, swearing at drivers, cutting drivers off, or any other aggressive driving act.†† †††

 

††††††††††† Once you have acknowledged the problem then itís time to witnesses yourself in the act of committing aggressive driving.Say that you are trying to correct your swearing towards other drivers. At first this may not be easy to witness because expressing verbal expletives towards bad drivers is second-nature for a lot of people.When driving you have to really pay attention to your behavior in order to witness it.Once you have witnessed yourself in the act, then it is time to modify your bad behavior.There are numerous was to correct oneís driving behaviors with driverís education.I will use this AWM driver self-modification plan to alter my aggressive driving personality to a supportive one.

 

††††††††††† The results of the tests and questionnaires helped me to acknowledge the driving problems I have.Just to make sure that the problems I checked off on the tests were true, I went driving around everyday for one week.These driving trips were at least a half-hour long and were intended only to observe myself as a driver.I figured it was better to plan specific driving trips instead of only trying to observe myself when I had a destination to reach, like work or school.I did this because a lot of the times when Iím on my way to work or school my mind is distracted with expectancies of what I will have to do when I reach my destination.In other words, I miss a lot of my bad driving behaviors when I have to reach a destination.After answering the questionnaires and driving around for a week I found out what behaviors I need to modify.I had reoccurring problems with tailgating, swearing, failing to yield, and slowing down to irritate tailgaters.This is a data table of the problems I had.

 

(b) Data Tables

The numbers represent the amount of times I committed each of the aggressive driving behaviors.I used some witnessing techniques from Road Rage and Aggressive Driving to catch my negative driving habits.I used one cup and four different colored beads to represent each of my bad habits.After each drive I wrote in my driverís diary to refresh my memory of every aggressive situation I caught myself doing.

 

Observation of My Driving Behavior (Week 1 - Baseline)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slowing Down-

 

Tailgating

Failure to Yield

Verbal Expletives

Upsetting Tailgaters

Monday

3

3

4

4

Tuesday

4

3

3

3

†††† Wednesday††††††††††††††††† ††4

5

4

5

Thursday

3

4

3

6

Friday

4

4

4

3

Saturday

3

5

5

3

Sunday

4

2

6

4

Observation of My Driving Behavior Cont'd (Week 1 - Baseline)

 

 

 

 

 

Closing the Gap

Lane Hopping

Not Using Turn Signals

Monday

4

4

3

Tuesday

6

4

4

Wednesday

4

5

7

Thursday

3

6

8

Friday

6

4

6

Saturday

4

5

4

Sunday

7

3

5

 

†††††††††††

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are baseline results with no intervention of driverís education methods.I had to implement ways to correct this negative behavior.In order to modify my tailgating behavior, I would remember that tailgating isnít supportive.I would remind myself that tailgating is an aggressive act and is a self-serving bias.Another intervention act was to put myself in the other driverís shoes.It gave me that do one to others as you would want done to you mentality.For failing to yield I would remind myself that I put myself and others in danger when I refuse to yield.To stop myself from using verbal expletives, I would remember that swearing at other drivers would only lead me to get angry.Anger isnít supportive and further more using verbal expletives reminds me that I have a low level of emotional intelligence.Slowing down to upset, anger, or irritate other drivers is probably my worst habit.In order to correct this I would think that perhaps this person tailgating me needs to get to a hospital, or perhaps there is an emergency at home.

 

††††††††††† In order to correct closing the gap I would remind myself about how my selfish ways would only make traffic worse.Each time a car brakes in traffic, it causes a traffic wave which could go as far back as 25 miles.I use this reasoning to prevent me from closing the gaps and to drive with a few car lengths in front of me so traffic flows easier.From Dr. Leon James driving psychology course, I realized that lane hopping wonít get me to my destination significantly faster so I might as well stay in one lane and be safe.Finally my modification plan for not using my turn signals is to remember that I am endangering myself and other drivers.There is really no reason not to be using my blinkers anyway so that also helped me to remember to use my blinkers. These are my results after I implemented my intervention plan.I also listened to different music to see if it helped me be more of a supportive driver.††††

 

Observation of My Driving Behavior (Week 2 - Intervention)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slowing Down-

 

Tailgating

Failure to Yield

Verbal Expletives

Upsetting Tailgaters

Monday

2

1

3

2

Tuesday

1

0

3

2

Wednesday††† †††††††††††††††0

1

1

2

Thursday

0

1

0

1

Friday

1

0

1

2

Saturday

0

0

2

1

Sunday

1

1

0

2

Observation of My Driving Behavior Cont'd (Week 2 - Intervention)

 

 

 

 

 

Closing the Gap

Lane Hopping

Not Using Turn Signals

Monday

3

2

2

Tuesday

1

0

2

Wednesday

3

0

4

Thursday

1

1

1

Friday

2

1

3

Saturday

1

0

1

Sunday

3

0

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(c) Analysis and Discussion

 

††††††††††† Before the intervention, the amount of times I committed each aggressive act was far more than after the intervention.Obviously it wasnít and still isnít a perfect intervention planning because as you know bad habits are hard to break and I still havenít broke them.This is as I described in my report 1, a lifelong driver education plan.This means exactly what it says, it is a reconditioning plan that will constantly and consistently be implemented throughout my lifetime.This lifelong driver education plan is used to raise my driverís emotional intelligence level.If you allow yourself to get angry at any little thing a driver does, you have a low emotional intelligence.Someone with a high emotional intelligence can get beyond anger by way of modifying their thoughts.Say someone cuts you off; rather than thinking I need to pursue this driver with vengeance, you think of how dangerous this situation could be if you pursued the driver, then you chill out.

 

††††††††††† I found that music wasnít really as affective as I thought it would be.Listening to different genres of music put me in different moods.Alternative/Rock music definitely gave me an energy charge, kind of an amped feeling, or really excited.Slower tempo jazzy/contemporary music made me more relaxed and at ease.In terms of music helping me with modifying my behavior, it didnít.I had to rely on my cognitive corrections to stop myself from committing aggressive acts.In the heat of the moment, it was hard for me to distract my negative thoughts with music, even when listening to soothing, jazzy, contemporary music.I do see using music as a possibility in my future as I work harder to keep my thoughts out of the anger/retaliation zone, but Ií not at that level of modification yet.

 

I know my modification plan has worked to reduce the amount of aggressive acts I commit on the roads.This means that my emotional intelligence level is raising, but also that my driverís threefold self is becoming positive.Just to refresh your memory a driverís threefold self consists of the affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor selves.When becoming a supportive driver my affective (emotion) self realizes its errors, feels regret at unfriendly behaviors, feels good about behaving with kindness and is forgiving.My cognitive (reason) self also changes by analyzing other driverís behaviors objectively rather than subjectively, and realizing errors and practicing modifying those habits.Finally the sensorimotor (physical action) self changes by relaxing, anticipating other driverís needs, and verbalizing nice sentiments. (Lecture Notes 409a-G20, Dr. Leon James)††††††††

 

(d) Conclusion and future plans

 

††††††††††† I have found that my modification plan has worked to improve my supportive driving.There are still times when I get caught up in my bad habits and have a hard time following my modification plan.Out of the seven problems I could say that the most difficult driving behavior for me to correct is slowing down to irritate tailgaters.I still struggle the most with this one because I feel that the other driver is trying to force me to rush or get out of his way, when I have just as much rights to be on the road too.I guess my biggest problem is that I donít like to be pushed by others.I need to remember that if I continue to think this way I will never reach that level of supportive driving that I would like too.Also it shows me how low my level of emotional intelligence is, and this really worries me.Emotional intelligence doesnít only pertain to driving; itís how I accept other people in society and shows me how I get along with society.

 

I guess I should just remember that the way I act when driving carries over to how I act with society as a whole.I donít want to be an ass to others around me, so as long as I continue to think like this it should help me.I am serious about modifying my behavior because I see so many people that get stressed out over the dumbest things and I donít want to be that person.Life isnít about worrying, getting stressed out, and always being angry, at least thatís how I see it.Life should be fun and enjoyable and thatís why I really want to modify my driving and societal behavior.Like I said this is a lifelong driving education plan so thatís what Iím going to do.

 

4. Conclusion

 

††††††††††† This report has helped identify my driving style and philosophy by allowing me to see the kind of driver I am.I never realized how unsupportive I am as a driver.Itís so funny how everything I did as a driver I thought was justified and the correct way to drive.Until taking driving psychology with Dr. Leon James I thought I was the perfect driver.I can now say that I need to improve myself as a driver.Acknowledging, witnessing, and modifying have helped me spot my problem areas.††I use to think that I shouldnít be nice to any other driverís because if I am theyíll take advantage of me, but I now realize that itís better to be supportive than aggressive.Itís really not worth trying to cause trouble because you never know how bad situations can escalate.The thing is you never know when someone is going to pull out a gun and try to kill you because you try to take matters into your own hands.There will always be aggressive, pushy, and unsupportive drivers but I choose not to be one of those drivers.

 

††††††††††† The best thing about learning driving psychology is that I see how drivers on the road act.How pushy some drivers are and how angry others get.People get so stressed while driving; in this day and age driving while relaxed is unheard of.I think a course on relaxation driving needs to be taught to all drivers because so many drivers get caught up in their emotions.My driving views have changed because I donít like to drive with my emotions charged, driving should be relaxing and enjoyable.Itís funny because I think driving has become a competition for most drivers.They feel that they need to win all the time, whether it is getting to their destination faster by lane hopping, closing gaps, or running red lights.Many drivers feel successful if they get ahead of the group.The driving mentality has changed for the worst in this day and age.

 

5. Future Generations

 

††††††††††† Future generations should stay up to date with new cases of road rage and other driving problems.Everyday that goes by means that a few hundred or even thousands of aggressive driving incidents have taken place.As long as people still drive, there will still be road rage problems.The best ways to fully understand bad driving habits is to go out and drive and see what yours are.You may be surprised at the aggressive acts you commit but then again itís not a bad thing as long as you implement a plan to correct them.The more people understand driving psychology the more ways people will figure out how to correct their bad habits, thus helping all drivers that encounter the same problems.

 

 

 

 

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