Proposal for Lifelong Driver Education
By: Jeremy Kubo
In Report 2, we each had to first recognize what our driving style and philosophy is. Upon doing so, we would than have to acknowledge what areas in our driving that we would have to improve on. Finally, we designed an experiment that would help us to make ourselves better and safer drivers, thus creating and helping add to a healthier driving environment. This was the purpose of that report. We took different tests and questionnaires, which aided in determining how we, and others, saw us as drivers. And, like always, we turned to past generations for ideas, inspiration and assistance on that journey of our own driving personality makeover. Upon completion of report 1, I came to the conclusion that I was a bad driver. There were numerous areas in which I needed to improve on. I realized how important it was for me to take other people’s criticisms constructively and not hurtfully. By designing my own experiment to work on the areas that made me a bad driver, I became more aware of my emotions, thoughts and actions while on the road. For more information, please check out Report 2.
The purpose of this report (report 3) is to be able to understand the importance of lifelong driver education and how to help implement a solution to continue this type of education for people of all ages from infancy to old age. By the end of this report, I will have created my own proposal of how to help this concept of lifelong driver education continue on for everyone.
Our text, Road Rage and Aggressive Driving, by Dr Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl, has a chapter called Lifelong Driver Education. In this chapter (chapter 9), the authors discuss how important lifelong driver education is. They feel there would be a great reduction in car accidents and road rage if this concept was implemented early on in life and continued on to elderly age. Teenagers are the most at risk. They are not only inexperienced in handling fatal situations, but they are the ones who would most allow themselves to be involved in risky behaviors. They think they are invincible and they allow themselves to act on that behind the wheel. The driver-ZED program was introduced to teach appropriate risk management. It’s an interactive CD created by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. James and Nahl discuses Dr. Larson’s (consultant for driver-ZED) beliefs on how to cure aggressive driving by eliminating faulty beliefs. James and Nahl believe motivation and responsibility are the essence of affective driver education. They believe in a driving psychology curriculum that is worked in to the K-12 school system. Upon completion of the K-12 curriculum, a person continues their training through QDCs (Quality Driving Circles). The video course, Roadrageous, co-authored with road rage therapist, Dr. Arnold Nerenberg, teaches the three-step driver self-improvement program. The chapter ends with a section on elderly being at risk also. This is compared to the teens being at risk.
One passage I found to be of interest from chapter 9 in Dr. James and Dr. Nahl’s book, Road Rage and Aggressive Driving is found on page 195. “This focus on the importance of values looks toward a new philosophy of driving that is community oriented rather than individual centered.” I think it is vital to realize the significance of other people’s thoughts, feelings and actions when it comes to the driving world. We can’t just be looking out for ourselves when we are out there on the road. We need to be aware not only of our own personality but our neighboring motorists as well. We need to help each other in becoming safer and better drivers. We need to help each other recognize our faults and work together for a solution to improve on it. By this, we will not only be helping someone else, but ourselves as well, and other people around us. We will be aiding in creating a perfect driving environment of serenity—a world with fewer accidents, which will hopefully one day be a world of no accidents.
Another passage that intrigued me in Road Rage and Aggressive Driving by Dr. James and Dr. Nahl’s chapter 9 is found on page 196, “the entire personality of the individual is involved in driving”. Through this book, we have learned about the driver’s threefold self. The three basic aspects of personality include, affective, cognitive and sensorimotor. The affective self involves “the driver’s feelings, emotions, attitudes and values”. The cognitive self involves “the driver’s thoughts, judgment and knowledge”. The sensorimotor self involves “the driver’s vision, motor reactions, fatigue, stress and pain”. I think it is fascinating and amazing how our personality truly shines when we are behind the wheel. What fascinates me even more than that is someone who suffers from the jekyll-hyde syndrome. You think you know someone and all of a sudden, it’s like multiple personality disorder. Who is this person behind the wheel? It is so true that each part of our personality is seen through everything we do while driving—our feelings, thoughts and actions. It’s like a part of you is dying to come out and show the world… this is who you are.
Lastly, the passage found on page 208 from chapter 9 in the book, Road Rage and Aggressive Driving, by Dr. James and Dr. Nahl, is one that surely gave me a pause to think about. “New drivers who are elderly and female have a double handicap to overcome in the eyes of society and the motorists on the road: They need to learn how to manage people’s hostility toward both older drivers and female drivers. They especially need to learn to monitor their driving in relation to other motorists.” It’s interesting and yet so true. I would hate to be a elderly female driver just beginning to drive. It’s amazing how many stereotypes are out there for this certain groups of people. There’s a whole propaganda of things said about female drivers alone and things said about elderly people alone—but to put the two together. Wow. What an eye-opener. It’s difficult I’m sure to be a person in that specific group. There are so many drivers who have it in their head that these people just cannot drive and they should be banned from the road. I know myself at times am quite horrible when I see female drivers or elderly drivers on the road. Sometimes, I just don’t think and it’s just an automatic, “well, no wonder, it had to of been a female driving”. It’s not fair to make these people to have to learn to handle other’s hostility. There shouldn’t be hostility there in the first place. And I admit I am one of the victimizers.
While I was looking through past generations, I came across Rich Snider of generation 17. He reviewed the book, Road Rage and Aggressive Driving. His review mentioned the QDCs – Quality Driving Circles. He feels QDCs can improve the roadways and save a lot of lives. He sees the importance of continued training and lifelong driver education. I also came across S. Arzadon’s review from generation 18. This person talks about graduating licensing approach. She likes the idea and feels it will be of good use, especially here in Hawaii. She recognizes the necessity for something to be done to continue driver education for a longer period. Finally, I found Shane Nishimoto’s report from generation 13. His report wasn’t a review of the book, but rather it was a report on QDCs. I found his comments to be quite interesting. He can see himself as a messenger for QDCs and has strong hopes for the future as it could spread from one island to another to the mainland to rest of the country and other countries eventually as well. He thinks it would be good for people to notice how useful QDCs could be and stresses the effectiveness all lies in the hands of the individuals.
I thought it was pretty interesting as to how QDC was mentioned much more than Lifelong Driver Education itself. Although QDC is a big part, I believe, of Lifelong Driver Education, it makes me wonder if the people who did review the book didn’t quite see the true importance of this profound movement. I didn’t see many comments about the K-12 curriculum, which I think plays a huge role in lifelong driver education. It should in fact start from when we are born because that is when we are first exposed to the driving world. We may not be behind the wheel, but we are surely a passenger on the road to a lifelong education. From what I noticed, it seemed for the book reviews for generation 17, the people were suppose to pick out what they felt were the most important concepts or topics of the entire book. Not many even touched the subject of chapter 9, the lifelong driver education. I believe they didn’t probably because they were stressed more on the importance of the driver’s threefold self and the three-step driver self-improvement program and the whole issue of emotional intelligence. Though, I do believe every single person who takes this course realizes the constant and never-ending stand Dr. James and Dr. Nahl have, that driving education and all its components are essential for a safer and better driving environment and through that, education must be continued. But no one really comes straight out by saying it.
3. Class Discussions and Lecture Notes
The first class presentation I wanted to discuss is Mark Corpuz on February 1, 2004 about Chapter 2: Aggressive Driving and Mental Health. I agreed with why driving arouses anger. I agreed with this part of his presentation because anger is closely linked to aggression and I can see this in our class discussions when people talk about their experiences of how they get angry when they are cut off and feel the need to get revenge. I also agreed with the part about gender effect. He stated that men experience more negative feelings than women behind the wheel. I agree with that because I read an article for my family resources class that said adolescent males are more likely to partake in aggressive driving. I disagreed with a couple of his ideas. One was drivers behaving badly on TV. I disagree that TV influences our behaviors/actions. I think the TV influences the way we see things. Another idea I disagreed with was players behaving badly with road rage video games. Like the previous idea, I don’t think that the video games cause violence. I think that the video games, to a certain extent, can change how we see things. For example, we may not see an accident the same way if we keep seeing it over and over again.
The second class presentation I wanted to discuss is Christine Oishi on March 15, 2004 about Chapter 7: Children and Road Rage. I agree with her concept of road rage nursery. Children do tend to take on the traits of their parents. And if children witness their parents expressing road rage, they may tend to pick up the habit also. I also agree on the concept of CARR (children against road rage). I think it is an important program. Teaching children at a young age is important to stop aggressive driving and road rage. I disagreed with the rewards for good passengers concept because even though kids learn better in a positive environment, if the parent is just acting, than the reward is meaningless. I also disagreed with the concept about children’s road rage. I don’t think her example was good because it is not always children that walk across streets slowly or horseplay around the sidewalks. So drivers may be showing road rage not just to adults but children as well.
The third presentation I wanted to discuss is Hiroko Kikuchi on April 5, 2004 on Chapter 9: Lifelong Driver Education. I agree with the concept she discussed about teenagers at risk because teens sometimes don’t have good judgment when they first learn to drive, which leads to a lot of accidents. Another concept I agreed with is Post_Licensing: The QDC Approach. I agreed with this because I think it is a good way to promote lifelong driver education. I disagreed with the Roadrageous Video Course in regards to her psychological aspect because I think that drivers are aware when they are in bad moods and are just overreacting. They just can’t admit it to themselves. I also disagreed with older drivers at risk because I don’t think that elderly people should make adjustments. I just think that they shouldn’t even be driving, period.
For the three passages from our text, Road Rage and Aggressive Driving, that I mentioned in my introduction, I felt were quite noteworthy for me. The first passage, about the importance of values leading toward a new philosophy of driving that is community oriented versus individual centered is striking because it’s essential to have others helping you along to be a better driver. It’s hard to do it on your own. With the support and criticisms of others, the roads will become safer. The second passage about the “entire personality of the individual is involved in driving” (196), was worth mentioning because I believe that was the whole essence of this course—to recognize the threefold self. This is what makes us who we, are behind a wheel or not. Our affective, cognitive and sensorimotor self is clearly seen in driving. The third passage I chose, about new drivers who are both a woman and elderly have a double handicap in the eyes of society and other drivers. This, I believe, is quite noteworthy because of the many stereotypes it brings up with just women alone and just elderly alone. People see weak and they take it to the worst level faulting others who they believe can’t stand up for themselves.
4. My Proposal for Lifelong Driver Education
My proposal for lifelong driver education would be categorized into four groups—
-infancy through elementary (age 0 – 12)
-intermediate (age 13 – 14)
-high school (age 15 – 18)
-post-high school (age 18+)
During this first phase from infancy to 6th grade, children aren’t the ones driving, but rather are the passengers. This is where the affective (feelings, emotions, attitudes and values) self plays the biggest role. This stage focuses on children recognizing how their parents or caregivers are driving. It is important to stress the consequences of specific situations involving feelings. This is the time when children are interacting with other children. They may get into fights. They may begin experiencing selfishness and hostility and aggressiveness. It should be taught at this early age the ideas of sharing (for future sharing the road), peacefulness (for future remaining calm if someone were to cut you off on the road), being able to sacrifice (for future slowing down so another motorist can get in). It is essential to realize children are very observant. They pick up easily on aggressiveness. It is vital to begin the education here that driving should be an enjoyable experience, not a horrifying one.
In my second phase from 7th – 8th grade, the cognitive (thoughts, judgment and knowledge) self plays the biggest role. I think at this point, the child’s mind is at a developed phase where they can accurately tell right from wrong, where the brain is being used to make rational decisions. At this short phase, the cognitive self can be introduced with situations that are occurring currently. Analyze why a certain crash happened. Who was at fault? What should the driver have been doing instead? What consequences took place because of the careless action? Let the children explore in small groups what actually happened and why it happened. They can also incorporate what they learned about their affective education in the first phase. What was going on before the crash occurred? What were they feeling? How do they feel discussing the whole issue in general? What could have been done differently? By this stage, these children are getting prepared for driving themselves. They know they are only a few years from being behind the wheel and they are excited about it. Self-witnessing could be a good approach used at this phase. By recording what’s going on in the car as a passenger and by reviewing and analyzing it later to see what problems arose if any and applying their cognitive self to see what could have been done differently and what feelings came up and what was the underlying cause of it.
In the third phase, which covers 9th-12th grade, the sensorimotor (vision, motor reactions, fatigue, stress and pain) self can then be introduced. By now, people at this stage will actually begin being on the road. Through simulations, one can experience situations where they will have to make sensorimotor decisions and hopefully at this point, their affective and cognitive self is so strong they will be able to make the right action. It is important to probably implement the three-step self-improvement program at this point so one can acknowledge, witness and modify their actions, rationalize and express themselves.
In the final stage from after high school until forever, I believe QDCs are essential. At this point, everything is voluntary. Hopefully, with all the training each person has had from when they were first born, they will want to continue their education. They will want to work with others in helping create a safer environment to drive in. This will help in keeping up with good driving skills and there will always be someone watching out for you to let you know when you’re slipping. It’s a nice confidant boost to know someone has always got your back and will continue on with you for lifelong driver education. This day and age with the wonderful world of technology and the internet, forming a QDC online would be an idea. With everybody being so busy too, they can come online whenever they’re free and comfortable and just discuss how their driving was that day with whoever is available, or maybe have a forum of some sort where you can leave posts and messages.
Hopefully this proposal would get people to realize the importance of lifelong driver education and the necessity of it. I hope one day something like this could be implemented, so that one day the roads will be a safe place to be. I’m sure it would involve legislation, the public’s help and parents and our own community to get the proposal to be implemented. It’s not going to be something easy, but it sure is something that will be worthwhile in the end.
There are definite social and cultural attitudes in our society when it comes to driving. Like I mentioned before, it is hard for women and elderly people to be out there in the real world of driving. They are constantly ridiculed for their driving skills or lack there of, as some people see it. This was something I had already noticed before doing this assignment, but what it did help me in identifying is how often it occurs and why it’s occurring. Some people need to find blame and enjoy putting it on others rather than owning up to it themselves. In certain people’s eyes, women are the weaker sex and the elderly are the weakest age group. It’s easy to pinpoint mistakes and screw-ups on people who are seen as weak, but the ones who are really the weakest is the ones who’s pointing the fingers. It is the ones who fall so easily into believing all the stereotypes.
I believe my new awareness is very useful in helping to end this war of rage on the roads. If people are aware and people are willing, the roads would be much safer. There will be fewer accidents. Road rage will cease to exist. I think if everyone would try to get involved in QDCs, it would be a better environment to drive in. Some people might look at it like school, and once they hear that word, might not want to be involved, but people need to be educated about the advantages and the fun you could make out of it. So it won’t be a dreadful experience, but rather an enjoyable one.
My views changed significantly from the beginning of the semester until now. I never imagined a world of calmness on the roads. I always saw the roads as a place where young people find thrills in racing on, where middle-aged people used to get from point A to point B. Now I see a different view—a road where there are no lane hopping, no swearing, no tailgating, no speeding. It almost seems impossible. In fact, in the beginning, it did seem impossible to me. How could this ever be something likely to happen? Now I can see it. But, I believe it will only work if there are those out there who want the same thing too. They have to be convinced that it could be possible and that it is something essential for our own healthy well-being.
Driving behavior I’m not sure will change too much over the next few years. Right now, it seems a little unpredictable. It’s hard to say. Recently, there have been so many accidents involving cars and motorcycles and it seems to be at a rise at this point. But, hopefully, with these accidents come the realization for the need to be cautious and those numbers will come down. I think if driving psychology were implemented more into education, there would be a significant decrease in accidents in the near future. However, how likely that is to happen, I’m not sure. It all depends on the individuals themselves to help spread the word. It would be nice to drive home and not be tailgated or honked at or feeling anger when it happens causing me to act out my anger by giving the finger. But, I don’t really think this is something that I can predict.
6. Future Generations
Again, to my future generations, don’t give up. Allow yourself to really go deep when you explore the world of driving psychology. Take advantage of the earlier generations before your time. Just because the first person you come across doesn’t have exactly what you were looking for or is on a completely different level of thinking from you, it doesn’t mean there aren’t others in the past generations that do have the same ideas as you, that they are on the same wavelength. Trust in yourself and trust in your fellow generations who lied before you. Don’t rush and just try to picture a perfect driving world, try to imagine how great it would feel to know you were a part of helping that perfect driving environment come to be.