Driving Personality Make-over
Is it for Me?

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  1. Instructions for this report
  2. How other students define a Driving Personality Make-over
  3. Psychological concepts
  4. Mini Experiment
  5. What my friends said
  6. Conclusion: Why this activity was meaningful
  7. Recommendations for future students
  8. Epilogue


Craig Kawamura's definition

Driving personality make-over is the process where we feel (affect), How we think (cognitive), adn what we do or act (sensory motor).

Dustin Telles' definition

Driving personality make-over is the process of changing the way we feel, think, act when driving.

Gary Uno's definition

The way I see it, a driving personality make-over first involves being aware of how you react in driving situations. This would include your feelings, thoughts and resulting actions.

My Definition

My definition fo a driving personality make-over is modifying your behavior that you display while driving. I believe that it is the process of changinging your attitude (affect), feelings (cognition), and actions (sensory-motor> when they are destructive to your experience on or off the road. A personality make-over can be applied to your personality that you have when you drive, but I would imagine that it is actually re-doing your personality in general. A lot of us have attitudes, feelings and behaviors that we all don't like. Modifying different aspects of your personality can change the way you feel, think, and behave when you drive.


Here are some concepts that relate to driving personality make-overs. I thought that "driving personality make-over" could be broken down and defined more specificaly. We all know that "driving" is a behavior, "personality" has many facets to it, and a "make-over" is something we can assume serves as some sort of "modification". Look below to see some possible explanations of these terms. They can relate to any type of behavior, but see how it could tie in to the behavior of "driving". This is a good way to look at "driving" in another way. It really isn't just getting into your car and getting to a destination. It is literally jumping into your car and testing your ability to handle unlimited situations that are presented to you on the road.

What is personality? Is personality in-born (nature) or is it something that is shaped by our environment (nurture)? Can our personality change from time to time? Do we have an overall personality trait and how is this characterized?

I did a mini experiment on myself. What I did was I kept a log of different elements for each time I was on the road for 5 days. I wanted to see what type of driving personality I had and if a make-over was something that I needed. I had to determine what factors made up my driving personality.

So I came up with these factors:

My personality traits with regards to driving: I am very organized, hardly ever late, I drive a clean, neat car.

Driving habits: I always put on my seatbelts and I am an advocate of seatbelt usage. I am also also an advocate of infant/toddler carseats and will push the issue despite the fact that people who don't utilize them get irritated at me.

My feelings of driving buddies: I hate when people tell me how to drive. I hate it when people point out parking spaces, tell me if there is a police officer on the side of the road, when people remind me to check my gas and oil, if they tell me to over-take a car, or if the cuss in the car.

Reaction to other drivers: This is what I will try to find in my mini experiment. I want to see what types of reactions I have to different situations I encounter on the road and hopefully find out why I reacted one way and not differently. I definitely think that my mood affects my attitude, and any attitude changes may be a direct result of another factor that is influencing my attitude and thus behavior.


Self-assessment is a very valuable in that it allows you to be critical upon yourself. There are many ways in which you can make self-assessments of yourself, but often you can do this by keeping notes in a diary, journal, or a daily log of a specific behavior.

Self-modification: Self-modification simply is to change the way you do things (your behavior) for the better. If a certain behavior is destructive, negative, or pulling you in directions that aren't in your favor. Modifying these behaviors can then allow you to feel more positive, have better direction, and also can be beneficial to you.


Norms are rules, models, or patterns of a particular group. Norms are very societal based so depending on location, norms vary tremendously. Norms are a cultural factor. Norms are somewhat adopted by people and are accepted as culturally "right" or "wrong". Knowing the norms of your environment helps you to know what is "okay" and what is "accepted". Not all people agree to norms, but the majority of people usually follow it, thus it is a norm (a collective idea).

Self-serving biases:

Biases are behaviors that serve in the best interest of the self. One may have a particular interest in an idea, thought, perspective, etc. Due to these strong feelings, one may form a bias which serves to put ones own ideas in favor over others. It allows for the benefit for the self despite the fact that there are other sides to the idea. Biases are often used to justify behaviors that have adversity.


For my mini experiment, what I did was I kept a log of any incidences that occurred while driving. I tried to document those incidences in which I was affected in some way by the incident. After keeping the log for a week, I put it aside, and then came back to it to see how much negative behavior I could detect from my log. After identifying the negative behavior (which I know I have recorded), I will try to find ways in which I can modify my behavior the next time I bumped into situations that needed much more positive reactions. These negative or destructive behaviors are those that I think qualify me for a DRIVING PERSONALITY MAKE-OVER.

My driving log April 5 through April 9

Monday: April 5 I got back from Las Vegas and my grandma picked me up. I was very jet-lagged, but I wanted to drive home because I can't stand it when my grandma drives. It usually takes us a long time to reach home. Usually she wants to hurry home, but today she wanted to make all these stops at different stores. My blood-sugar was low because I didn't eat anything for the day. I was extremely tired.

Tuesday: April 6

I witnessed an accident today as I was driving home. Two cars collided in an intersection. I think one car made a sudden illegal u-turn and the other car couldn't react fast enough to stop in time.

Wednesday: April 7

I was totally in a rush today. I left home at 8:30 a.m. and I had to drive 26 miles by 9:00 a.m. I knew I was going to be late because on the average it takes 40 minutes. I was patient today. I started out on a bad note, but I knew that I wasn't going to risk getting into an accident or get a speeding ticket. About 10 minutes into the drive, I came to a town where I had to slow down from about 50 mph to 35 mph. I usually slow down and today it's a good thing I did because a police officer was on the side of the road where they usually are when watching for speeding. I was actually amazed that I didn't get all anxious as I passed the parked police car. I think I knew I was going below the speed limit, so I had no guilty feeling or feeling of panic that I usually have when I have to slow down suddenly.

Thursday: April 8

I got totally irritated as I tried to find a parking stall at the post office. I wasn't in a rush, but this lady took so long to reverse her car out of the stall because she thought she didn't have enough room. I wanted to honk my horn to let her know that there was about a mile in back of her before she would hit a car! I didn't though. I just waited. I shook my head and then turned into the open parking space.

Friday: April 9

Today I had the most irritating time driving. There were so many incidences that pissed me off.

I pulled out from an intersection and a car was speeding, came up in back of me really quick. Instead of slowing down (obviously the car was speeding), the man over-took me, looked at me as if I did something wrong by pulling onto the highway. I pulled out in plenty of time, didn't take my time when I went onto the highway. The man appeared to be inconvenienced. I was irritated so I kept up my speed and was in back of him. I wasn't too close, but I was close enough to make him wonder why he had to pass me flying about 60 mph.

I was heading home and a car crossed the center line and I had to swirve to avoid getting hit. I was feeling a little tired and I don't think I reacted as fast as I should of. I sweared and my son heard me (he was sitting in the back seat). It was a close call and my adrenalin was pumping.

Another car tailgated me for about 8 miles. I don't know why, but when we hit the two lanes, I moved to the right lane and he didn't pass. He seemed to be in a rush, but I guess not? Stupid I thought.

I was off to work, left about 5 minutes earlier than normal. I followed this grater (came out of the corn fields) for almost 2 miles. Oh, I was a litte frustrated because usually those big farm vehicles pull over to the side. The driver of the grater looked back to check for cars, but continued to drive on the highway. "Whatever", I thought.


Obviously I bumped into a lot of situations that weren't to pleasant to me. I wonder if the situations were unpleasant because I was in an "unpleasant" state? From doing this experiment and looking at my over-all mood, I would say that I wasn't driving with a clear head. There were other things going on in my head that could have made little things much more "irritating" than usual. It is possible that on other days I wouldn't have even cared about that lady who took so long to reverse out of a parking stall. I Definitely think that I would not have been so aggressive to speed up and get all ticked-off by that man who over-took me as I pulled out of the intersection.

Another thing that I thought I would find relevant to the way reacted to situations on the road would be my driving personality. I tried to link traits such as driving habits, how I react to other drivers, how I feel about driving buddies, and basic preferences about driving such as cleanliness of my car. With these things in mind, I think I try to be the best driver I can be as far as "intention" is concerned. I don't ever think, "I hope someone tailgates me today so I can get all aggressive and put that driver in his or her place". I don't think, "I want to get upset by a slow driver taking up all my time today". If I think about things prior to driving, I think I would think, "I hope traffic isn't bad today", or "I hope there aren't any reckless drivers out there tonight". I do believe I start out on a good note as far as saftey is concerned.

I think we might not realize it, but what may be a SAFETY hazard, is our reactions to situations once we are on the road. I didn't realize it, but after doing this report, I think my attitude about tailgaters, speeding cars, reversing so slowly, people telling me how to drive can be much more detrimental. I think I should try to turn my attitude around so it doesn't affect me emotionally. My mood is definitely turned around (I've self-witnessed), and my behavior also changes too. When my mood changes for the worst, I drive much more aggressively (feel more tense or feel much more willing to take risks such as speed or over-take cars). When I am in a pleasant mood, unstressed, or don't have to be at a particular place, I am relaxed, more aware of happenings on the road, and a much more positive driver.

I think our overall mood is much more critical upon our driving than just "personality". Mood however is something that isn't always the same as it changes from day to day. Who is always in a happy-go-lucky state? We are all tired, grumpy, stressed or happy, elated, joyful on other days. This is something that affects every aspect of our daily lives. I think more emphasis should be placed on mood.

JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT: What some of my friends said when I asked them...

I emailed my some of my friends and asked them to list a pet peeve of other drivers on the road and tell why you hate it. I didn't want to ask for too much information due to the fact that they might have been discouraged to respond. So, I got the pet peeve, why they don't like it, but I didn't get answers as far as what they do/will do about it.

1) Wayne (Kauai, HI): following tourists they drive slow they don't know where they going and no make turn signal but the worst is when they make turn signal they no turn

2) Clarisse (Honolulu, HI): I hate it when you have to cut into another lane and the car next to you in the lane speeds up! Sickening.

3) Reid (Kauai, HI): i guess a pet peeve of mine is drivers who don't use their common sense. for example, tourists who stop in the middle of the road to look at a map. it's both dangerous and makes me a little mad some times if i'm in a hurry.

4) Joanne (Seattle, WA): Sure! I can list a whole bunch of pet peeves, but for the sake of research, I'll contain myself. Here is my peeve:

Peeve: When drivers have their turn signal on but don't intend to turn or change lanes. This irritates me because I have no idea if and when they are going to turn or change lanes and I'm always anticipating on it. Or I'm more cautious and drive slower-- and if they don't end up turning, I get angry.

5) Kathy (Washington D.C.): A huge pet peeve of mine is when you attempt to pass someone who is driving slow they speed up and refuse to let you pass- stupid control game!

Getting these responses from my friends made me realize that everyone has pet peeves of other drivers. It is human to have these feelings about other people on the road. If this is such a common thing (to cuss about other drivers), then I think the problem is very serious. I don't think that my friends were aware that there might be "hidden assumptions" behind there pet peeve. Did my friends respond in a way that was destructive? Was the tone of their response negative? Was the behaviors of other drivers misinterpreted? From what Dr. Driving says, I think it was all of the above.

Look at this Overview of Dr. Driving: Road Rage and Aggressive Driving for an introduction to an explanation of our pet peeves (driving behavior).

The Wear and Tear of Road Rage explains what Dr. Driving calls Emotional Intelligence. It explains everything!


This activity was definitly meaningful as is allowed me to look closely at myself and at my behaviors. In doing this I was able to see behaviors that were negative ones which in turn could result in dangerous or risky behaviors. By identifying these negative behaviors, I was able to think about them and find the reasons behind displaying it. I realized that these behaviors are controllable, managable, and it could be modified or even distinguished. This experiment allowed me to track scenarios that made me the most irritated, frustrated, or angry. Controlling my reactions to different situations is something that I think I need to work on while driving as well as in other life situations. I was able to find out that if we "anticipate" more, we may be better able to cope with situations when we encounter them. There is nothing we can't anticipate while driving and it is actually common sense. We just hope that the more serious anticipations don't actually happen--and this is the whole purpose of having this type of awareness about driving. We can prevent unwanted accidents, close-calls, or tragedy.


I suggest that future students conduct a min-experiment so that they have a chance to look closely at their own behavior while driving. I really believe that doing a self-assessment allows you to be honest with yourself (you can try to be), and see how you feel after being critical upon yourself. It isn't very pleasant. By doing this, you might actually realize that you aren't perfect and that as a driver, you have just as irritating behaviors as that "other" driver on the road.


This report was one of the hardest for me to write. My goal in doing this report was to be able to take driving much more seriously. We often jump into the car and we don't think much of it. We don't realize that the roads can be very dangerous and little things that we take for granted may very well be ones that may be putting us on the line. I felt a little nervous at times when I thought about how I took risks whenever I speed, or when I think about all the times my child was not using his seatbelt when riding with other drivers. What I intend to do is change my attitude about driving; specifically regarding how I react to other drivers on the road. I need to have more patience on the road and I think I should be more rational about "time". I often rush when I am in no rush! Feelings that we have before we get into our cars really influence how we drive. Last but not least, do this report and spread the knowledge you have gained from doing this report. We cannot change anyone but ourselves. However, we can make an impact on others by encouraging the right behaviors on the road!

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