Discussion of a Personality Make-over
Shane Cobb Adams of G4 defines a driving personality make-over as a process of becoming aware of and adjusting one's driving behavior. He divides this process into two steps. The first step requires drivers to do some self-witnessing on their current driving behaviors. Drivers should pay special attention to their affective, cognitive and sensory-motor behaviors.
An example of an affective behavior is being overcome with feelings of shame when driving at the speed limit as cars behind are honking their horns. An example of a cognitive behavior is thinking how to bypass the garbage truck which is making stops every few feet. An example of a sensory-motor behavior is yelling at the old man who is driving thirty-five miles an hour on the freeway. Only when drivers have become aware of their not so perfect driving behaviors, can they be ready for the next step.
According to Shane, the second step to a driving personality make-over is behavior modification. Behavior modification involves evaluating the driving behaviors that may need adjusting, improvement or may need to be thrown out all together.
As for me, I realize that I need to adjust the way I think about driving, which is a cognitive behavior. I think of driving as a means of transportation from getting from point A to point B. I don't think about the dangers of driving which I believe is important to think about, considering the surprising statistics on crashes and fatalities.
As for the area of improvement, I do need to practice on my parallel parking skills. I must admit that I have gotten better over the year, so instead of five attempts of going back and forth into a parking space, I am proud to say that I have cut that number down to three. Not bad for someone who's been driving for eleven years.
The driving behavior that I need to throw out all together is my indecisiveness. I tend to be wishy-washy about when I'm planning to change lanes, when I'm going to turn and sometimes where I'm even going. Yes, I am the one who looks like she's coming into your lane, decides not to and then decides to change lanes after all.
With so many adjustments and improvements to be made, it seems as though everyone could use a driving personality make-over. Individuals can do a make-over on themselves, of they can do a make-over to someone else, and be a driving buddy.
Discussion of a Driving Buddy
A driving buddy is a passenger who conveys information to the driver about his driving skills and overall behavior. For example, a driving buddy would say "You're going thirty-five miles in a twenty-five miles an hour zone!". I guess you could say that a driving buddy is like a personal driving coach or an assistant driver. One must not confuse the term driving buddy with a back-seat driver. A back-seat driver conveys an attitude that he knows better than the driver and makes comments about the driver's driving skills without the driver's permission. However, a driving buddy is relaying to the driver certain driving behaviors that are making him feel uncomfortable, with the driver's consent. The driving experience should be pleasant for both the driver and the passenger, so any uncomfortable thoughts (c), feelings (A) or behaviors (S-M) should be expressed.
My Driving Buddy Experience (Day 1)
The individual that I am going to do a mini-driving personality make-over to is my friend, Shari. She has been driving since the age of fifteen. Shari agreed that on the first day, she would drive the way she normally would and at the same time, express her thoughts and feelings out loud. She also agreed that on the second day, she would continue to express her thoughts and feelings, except that she would drive the way I want her to drive. From the beginning, I believed that Shari would be a very good subject, because she seemed very willing to participate in this mini-driving personality make-over.
On the first day, I observed Shari driving from Honolulu International Airport to Manoa Valley. In the airport terminal, she maintained a speed limit of fifteen miles an hour, which was the posted speed limit. On three occasions in the terminal, she took her eyes off the road for approximately three seconds to talk to me. Since she was so busy talking to me, she found herself in the wrong lane to go on the freeway. She asked herself if she should cross over the three lanes within the next twenty yards with a moderate level of traffic. She quickly decided that she would stay in her current lane and go on Nimitz Highway instead. Shari maintained a speed limit of approximately twenty miles an hour as there was stop-and-go traffic. She continued to talk to me and she frequently took her eyes off the road for at least two seconds to talk to me. She had to be in Manoa by 12:00 p.m. and it was 11:55 a.m. and she was still on Nimitz Highway. She complained about there being so many cars on the road and how she was going to be late. She started to get a little frustrated. I noticed her frustration as she excelled on the gas and braked hard at the last minute in the stop-and-go traffic.
When she got on Punahou Street she increased her speed limit from twenty miles an hour to thirty miles an hour. The speed limit on Punahou is twenty-five miles an hour, so she was ten miles over the speed limit. When she go to the intersection of East Manoa Road and Oahu Avenue, there was a Hawaiian Electric Company truck parked on the road that she was headed for. There wasn't a police officer directing traffic, so Shari got upset because the truck and the workers were causing a back-up in traffic. Since the truck was blocking East Manoa Road, she turned on Oahu Avenue and drove thirty-five miles an hour. It was now 12:15 p.m. and she was definitely late for her appointment. She continued to complain about all the traffic that she had encountered on Nimitz Highway and East Manoa Road. She approached a five-way intersection where each car was required to stop. Shari came to a complete stop, but instead of letting the car that approached the intersection first go, she zoomed through. Instead of turning down on Lowry Avenue, which would have been much faster, she turned down into Manoa School and speed across all of the speed bumps. When she finally got to her destination, she quickly drove into the parking stall and ran to her appointment.
My Driving Buddy Experience (Day 2)
The second part of this mini-driving personality make-over occurred one week after the first session, due to conflicting schedules. Shari, again seemed very willing to participate in the mini make-over. However, I do have to question how serious she was about doing it. You see, Shari doesn't really think of me as the best driver she's ever rode with. In fact, she probably thinks I'm the worse driver she's ever rode with. I have come to this conclusion from the comments she makes to me when I drive. For example, she teases me on how slow I drive and how oblivious I sometimes am to other cars or pedestrians when I am driving. So, it doesn't seem very logical to her that I would be teaching her how to drive. Whatever, her thoughts or feelings were, I was very grateful to her for her willingness to participate. Prior to asking Shari, two other friends had laughed when I asked them if I could be their driving buddy. How rude!!
On the second day of the driving personality make-over, Shari drove from Nuuanu to Manoa. Our starting place was the Pali Jiffy Lube and from there she went on Vineyard Avenue and straight on the freeway. She was driving exceptionally well and throughout the entire ride on the freeway, I did not make one comment to her. From the freeway, she took the Punahou off-ramp and drove up Punahou Street into Manoa. At this time, I noticed that she was driving thirty-five miles an hour in a twenty-five miles an hour zone. I told her to watch her speed limit and she replied "Are you serious?". She noticed a row of cars behind her and she felt quite embarrassed to be driving so slow. She said "What if I drive thirty miles an hour?". After a while of her complaining, I compromised and allowed her to drive no faster than twenty-eight miles an hour.
I noticed how hesitant and a little resistant she was in following my instructions to watch her speed limit. Instead of insisting that she drive at twenty-five miles an hour, I decided to figure out a speed limit that would make the both of us comfortable and satisfied with.
Recommendations for Future Generations
For future generations, I think it would be interesting if the students would become a driving buddy to someone of the opposite sex. I believe that I came across very little resistance and no hostility being a driving buddy to Shari, because we are good friends and are from the same gender. However, if I had been a driving buddy to a macho, don't ask for directions, "I am a perfect driver", Mario Andriette male, then I am almost certain that difficulties and hostility would have arose. That is why I did not want to be a driving buddy to my boyfriend, because after day 2 of the make-over, we probably would not be talking to each other. By future generations working with members of the opposite sex, it would be interesting to see what kind of problems would emerge and how these students would handle the hostility and uncooperativeness that I fortunately was not faced with.
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