Self-Assessment As A Driver...
by Letitia Lujan

REPORT ONE

In beginning this paper, I found that the easiest way for me to gather information would be simply heading straight for Dr. James' homepage and going to the Generation One list of homepages. Realizing that each and every one of the students had a different perspective, I decided to look through the whole list of homepages--staring at the top. And, well, to simplify it, I was right! Each homepage was filled with different views on various topics and inserts on personal experiences. There were so many interesting things said that it was hard to begin to choose which to write about. After hours of flipping coins and picking numbers between 1 and 5, here are topics and students whose ideas I chose to write about. Enjoy!

ABOUT AGGRESSION

heard it through the grapevine...

Pissed off because a big old stationwagon with a Mr. Magoo for a driver just caused you to slam on your brakes and spill your diet coke, as he cut you off? Go ahead-- rant & rave. Let it all out, is what In her report, Ms. Balatico introduces the reader to four different forms of aggression. The first is the 'anti-predatory' form. To best understand this, picture a situation with two drivers-- driver A and driver B. For some reason, driver A feels threatened or 'hunted' by driver B (perhaps driver B has been tailgating him for awhile). Because of this feeling of danger, driver A, without any regard for the driving conditions of other motorists, reacts aggressively to get away from his predator. It is this reaction, his response to his need to get away from a threat, that causes him to be a threat to others. The second form of aggression comes in that of the 'territorialist'. This is the driver that demands his personal space by doing such things as suddenly stepping on his brakes to scare the motorist behind him into staying out of the space that is his. This driver is also one who, when he can, doesn't let any car cut in front of him. 'Dominance aggression' is the third form of aggression. These are the drivers who are guided by their ego and pride. If they are proud of their stereo system, they let you hear it. If they're proud of their fast car, they like to show all just how fast their car is. Finally, the fourth form of aggression is that which is 'fear-induced'. If a situation frightens them, they do anything to get out of it. Kind of like a kid who steals the family car late at night and, because he has no license, when he sees a cop on the road, no matter how far away, he takes off like he just robbed a bank.

If everyone were to attempt to become better drivers, there would be less chance of angering others on the road. If frustration levels associated with driving were always minimal, the likelihood of stupid and reckless behaviors occurring while in traffic would also be low. This in turn would mean less traffic accidents, safer roads, and happier people.

Joleen Lai also found the topic of aggression intriguing. In her report, she comments on an article entitled "Angry" which was written by Dr. James. This article talks about the uses of profanity and provacative gestures to other drivers. Upon self-reflection, Ms. Lai found that she, too, is a user of such actions. She relates to the reader an experience where she was cut off by another motorist when traffic was not heavy. Angered, she gives the offending motorist the birdie and wants to chase her. She decides not to when she realizes that the driver of the offending vehicle is an older woman. Just as she decides this, she also spots a cop clocking traffic. A close one!

Ms. Lai doesn't feel that there is anything wrong with drivers venting their frustraton while in traffic. The catch here is that it is okay, so long as the driver maintains control of the car and the situation.

Gender is a great factor in the level of aggressiveness of a driver, according to Shane Akagi. Men are, by nature, more aggressive in traffic than women. Socialization is the key. As young children, boys are encouraged to show their emotions and to act on them. Girls are discouraged from such aggressive displays and are taught to be more constructive and less violent. All this carries over to our driving behaviors.

Mr. Akagi concludes by stating that aggression may well be one of the factors contributing to today's dangerous driving situations. In turn, these driving situations and attitudes displayed by motorists may just be a reflection of society itself. (Deep!)

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evaluations & comparisons...

I thought the four forms of aggression Ms. Balatico discussed were quite interesting. I must say, I agree that there are drivers out on the road who display those attitudes. Let's go through it again. First, the 'anti-predatory' form. I've been in situations where I have felt as though the car behind me was following me, so I reacted in just the way described. Usually, these situations happened at night and when I would be alone on the road. All I can see are the headlights of the other car, seeming to be following me. When I turn, the follower turns. I would start to get worried because I was alone and the last thing I would want to do is lead the follower to where I lived. So, I would speed up and try to 'lose' the follower. If that didn't work, I 'd pull into a store and see if the follower would do the same. If not, then I'd wait a while and then be on my way.

The second form was the 'territorialist'. Now, I am not one of these people, but I do know a few. Believe me, being a passenger with a territorialist driving is worse than riding in a car whose air conditioning doesn't work and windows are jammed. These people act as though they own the road and everyone else is in their way. Why they speed up when a car is signalling to go in front of them is beyond me. These drivers don't have the word 'aloha' in their vocabulary. They risk getting into major accidents just to show other motorists who attempt to invade their space how they feel. I think these are the worst driving attitudes around.

The motorists who are driven by their egos & pride , the 'dominant aggressors', are the showoffs of the road. They must not get much attention at home.

'Fear-induced' forms of aggression are one of the more dangerous situations to encounter. I say this because you never know how a person is going to react when fear strikes. I'll bet a diet mountain dew that most of the time, even the fear-stricken don't know or realize how they're reacting until they have already reacted. What's worse, anything can be a source of fear-- you just never know.

Ms. Balatico also states that it is okay to yell it out. I agree that it is a way to relieve one's frustration & stress. However, I do not advise it. Think about it, some big 4x4 cuts you off and you explode, yelling and cursing the driver's dog. While you are doing this, one of two things may happen. First, the cutter may look in his rearview, see the hate on your face and the wideness of your mouth as it opens and shuts, and then he can get mad. What he would do depends on the type of driver he is. I mean, you already know that he has cut you off, what else might he be capable of? That, I'm not sure you'd want to find out. The second situation would be that the cutter looks in his rearview, sees the way your face is twisted in anger and your mouth flapping up and down, and guess what? He laughs. You see him laughing at you. He's still laughing and now he's pointing, too. Now you've had it. You are even more mad and the more you yell the harder he laughs. Who knows, maybe other motorists become aware of your situation and they start laughing at you, too. No... I don't advise ranting & raving.

Ms. Lai, too, states that letting driving frustrations out is okay. She even goes as far as to suggest that other actions are okay, just as long as the driver maintains control of the situation and the car. Wow. This scared me when I read it. I mean, I admit that maybe a few times I have flicked the birdie at other motorists, but I have never felt like chasing anyone on the road, heavy traffic or no traffic. And what determines if a person is in control of something as powerful and deadly as an automobile, let alone a situation? Anything can happen. You might flick the birdie at some psycho high on ice and he could just turn around and blow you to kingdom come. It's not worth it.

I believe that any minor situation on the road is not worth your blood temperature going up for longer than five seconds. If someone cuts you off, take a deep breath and continue on your way. No one's hurt, there's no accident, and traffic is still flowing. Showing someone the birdie...well, these days there are so many problems with drugs and all that I think that it would be wise not to continue with that practice. Gone are the days when showing someone the birdie would just result in receiving the birdie back. Times are tougher.

Women are less aggressive on the road. I don't know about that. I think that women can be just as aggressive as men on the road and some are. Just look at Ms. Lai and Ms. Balatico's opinions as proof! It's more like 'Women are less reckless than men on the road'. Yah, that sounds about right. As a driver, I know that I check and double check when I am driving aggressively. I am always looking out for possible dangerous situations which may occur because of my aggressiveness. And, I avoid these dangers or I cut out the aggression. Simple as that. Mr. Akagi was right when he said that women were socialized to be more constructive. What he forgot to mention was that men, as young boys, were not discouraged from being destructive.

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significance to...

The views and opinions of Ms. Balatico, Ms. Lai, and Mr. Akagi are all significant to Traffic Psychology. Personally, I feel that if people are yelling at each other on the road and flicking the birdie at one another, traffic psychology is something everyone should learn about. Like Dr. James said, "No one is perfect". There is just too much going on in the world for people to get all worked up because the car in front of them is not travelling as fast as they feel they should. It's like being a rebel without a cause.

Everyone needs traffic psychology. As long as there are people other than ourselves, there is always going to be traffic. We need to learn to deal with emotions triggerred by traffic situations in non-detrimental ways. We need to see that everyone could use a makeover, including ourselves. Learning traffic psychology teaches us to better ourselves by learning to deal with ourselves as well as others.

Comments?

mirror, mirror, on the wall...

What did I see? Well, let's just say that I am one of those aggressive women on the road. On my bike, I am careful yet will take up the whole right hand lane if there is not ample space on the side. Many motorists, especially cabs, don't know that this is what the law says to do in the event that there is no bike lane and insufficient room for a bicycle to travel on the side. I don't care if they honk or if it is five o'clock rush hour. Bicyclists have rights, too. The only thing here is that if there is another bicyclist in front of me and they are not going as fast as I would like, I do go further out on the road to pass them. The speed limit is 35.

As a motorist, I also tend to be aggressive. But the thing about it is that I am also very careful. I make sure there is room before I cut a person off and if I do cut someone off and there wasn't as much room as I had thought, I make it a point to go a little faster as I am cutting them off. This way they won't have to slam on their brakes. At an intersection, if I am in the front and the light turns green, I like to be one of the first cars zooming away. I thought about it and asked myself why I liked this. I still haven't come up with an answer other than 'I just do'.

One thing I must mention is that I have been a bicyclist for the past 2 years. Because of this, I am proud to say that I have come to respect bicyclists. Before I used to get angry when I would be behind one. I even used to try to pass them and force them closer to the curb. Now, I realize just how vulnerable they are and I don't dare do any of the things I used to do or think any of the bad thoughts I used to have towards them. Thinking back about my past attitudes toward bikers is not something I like to do. My thoughts were so mean and selfish. As a bicyclist, I would be scared if I ran into someone like the old me..

Reactions?

ON CONVOYS

The second topic I found extremely interesting was the existence of convoys on the road. These are the collectivists of the motorists. Here are a few of the views I would like to share with you.

pssst...pass it on!

Teamwork--that's the key. Whether it be in sports, disaster relief, or even in a convoy, Todd Takitani believes that the world and the roads would be a safer place if all motorists developed a sense of obligation to the convoys they find themselves in. Work with the convoy, and the convoy will work for you. They provide a shield of security that allows the motorist to switch onto auomatic pilot, relax, and maybe daydream. Anxieties are minimal and because you are going with the flow of the convoy, you are driving in a safer manner than if you were to go against it.

Mr. Takitani did a little soul-searching and he made a few observations about himself and his driving while in a convoy. The first was that if the car in front him was travelling at a pace slower than that of the convoy, he would follow them more closely than if they were going at the same rate as the convoy. Secondly, Mr. Takitani believes that convoys allow the driver security to daydream and relax. He is no hypocrite--he practices what he preaches. Thus, his usual response to being in a convoy is switching on the automatic pilot. However, Mr. Takitani does also realize that this action may also be a hazard in itself. When he does find himself falling out of sync with the convoy because of the wanderings of his mind, his third finding, he is engulfed in guilt and embarrassment.

Not all motorists enjoy driving in convoys. In fact, in Jae Isa's opinion, convoys and the people who like/dislike them can be likened to personality types. There are those who like to be around people, mingling. These people are the ones that enjoy the company of a convoy. Then there are those who want to go their own way and don't like the feeling of being crowded in. These people are the anti-socialists, the ones who dislike being a member of a convoy. Ms. Isa is more of an anti-socialist when it comes to driving. She truly dislikes being a part of a convoy. However, once in a while she rather enjoys it. These times are when the convoy was intentionally formed, such as if she and her friends were cruising together. If the convoy is of interest to her, she willingly joins in. If the convoy holds no special interests for her, she does not care to participate.

Still, Ms. Lai believes that the situation plays a great role in the actions of the driver. Often times, drivers are not strictly categorized and are free to wander outside of their usual preferences. If the situation calls for one to drive amongst the masses, it doesn't matter whether one is anti-convoy or pro-convoy. Basically, you do what you''ve got to do. She gives the example of driving home late at night. Normally, she despises convoys. Yet, late at night when she is alone in her car, she seeks the security of the convoy because she happens to be in a time of need for it.

Convoys bring out different reactions from different people. Some people flock to them for security while others run from them for a greater sense of freedom. To some, the position they take in a convoy determines how they feel about the convoy. Shane Akagi feels that the worse place to be in a convoy is right smack in the middle. It is here that he experiences the most stress and feelings of being 'trapped'. He fears that if, for some reason, he gets into an accident, he will be the one to bring danger onto the other motorists in the convoy surrounding him. In essence, the lives and well-being of the motorists around him are in his hands. All this, he carries on his shoulders while being in the middle of the convoy. Mr. Akagi also despises being at the rear of a convoy. When at the rear, he feels as though the rest of the convoy is in his way because they are ahead of him. Thus, he often feels the need to get ahead. He even goes as far as exiting the freeway when he is not able to get ahead of the convoy. For him, the best place is being at the front of the convoy. Here, he experiences feelings of freedom and practically no pressure. The front is his ideal location in the convoy. It doesn't cause him to be stressed out or edgy like the middle does, nor does he feel left behind or held back like he feels at the rear.

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evaluations & comparisons

I can relate to how Mr. Takitani states that being in a convoy allows the driver to switch to automatic pilot. I have often done this. However, I do think that one shouldn't get too carried away in their daydreaming. The road is too dangerous a place to let your mind wander to the point that you wake up and you realize you weren't keeping the pace you were travelling earlier. Things like that increase the presence of danger. One thing I could not relate to was his reaction when he did fall behind the convoy. Shame and guilt? It made me think of him as being some kind of convoy fanatic. One of those people where if you don't conform, or, if you break the norm, you are vulnerable to whatever convoys throw at you. I wonder, if he feels so terrible when he falls behind, how does he react to others who do? Does he give them dirty looks and flick them the birdie? He did mention that he does tend to follow more closely motorists who are travelling at speeds slower than the convoy. But, if his feelings of obligation to convoys are as strong as I perceive them to be, is that all he really does?

Miss Isa's perspective on convoys was something I could relate to better. I feel that women are more vulnerable than men most of the time. Driving alone is no exception. If you need them, they are there. That's the good thing about having people who are loyal convoyees and those that aren't. It's okay to switch every now and then because you'll never have to fear that you're alone in your choice.

As long as there are other people on the road, I always know that the possibility is present that my driving decisions can affect other people, maybe even put others at danger. Yet, I kind of keep this at the back of my mind so I can concentrate on what is going on at the moment. Mr. Akagi stated that being in the middle of a convoy causes a state of paranoia and fear for him. It is when people drive with thoughts like that in their head that I feel they are more apt to commit driving errors. Yes, we should all be aware of the dangers of operating a vehicle are and the serious business of driving. However, I don't feel that it is a good idea to get too stressed out and overwhelmed about it out on the road. There are already so many things commanding our attention while driving that having ideas such as these distract us from the situation at hand. If Mr. Akagi feels so strongly about convoys in respect to the positions in them, maybe he should try switching to the other side and see how he likes being without a convoy. It might agree with him more.

significance to...

All these views on convoys are significant to traffic psychology in that they allow us to see how our behavior is affected by situations on the road. Convoys are always out there and we need to realize how they affect not only our feelings but also our actions. Do they anger us to the point that we recklessly endanger our lives and the lives of others? Or do they allow us to feel more confident in its number? These are just a few of the things traffic psychology encourages us to think about.

the looking glass...

Through my self-observations, I learned a few things about my attitude toward convoys. First off, I must admit--I am a user of convoys. I don't have any real strong feelings against them or for them. I just use them.. I use them to decide whether or not there is a cop in the area. If the whole convoy is going above speed limit and none have been pulled over, I deduct that there is no cop around and I go faster to pass the convoy. I usually go on my own so when I meet up with a convoy, I 'read the signs' and decide my next plan of action. If I am speeding along and I come across a convoy that is going at speed limit, I get suspicious and my senses are alerted. I look everywhere for a cop. If I don't spot one, I steadily ease my way through the convoy and scope out the scene from the front. If I stlill see no signs of a cop, I go a little faster and keep increasing speed until I am at the speed I like to be. By this time I am at it alone once more and the cycle repeats itself. In essence, convoys are like clues that can be read. You just need to be sure you don't read them too fast or you'll miss something.

Any input?

ON PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC

Yet another topic of great interest in traffic psychology. Like most other topics in traffic psychology (heck, like the field itself!), something that deserves more looking into.

the scoop...

Traffic on the sidewalks can be just as frustrating as traffic on the roads, a view held by Terri Slaughter. She discusses an article named "I Own the Sidewalk" which categorizes people's behaviors when using the sidewalks.

The 'blind bats' were the first group discussed. These people are the ones who pay no attention whatsoever to where it is they are walking. What's frustrating about them is that when you want to get mad at them, you can't. They are too apologetic and polite to get angry at. This is a group Ms. Slaughter strongly identifies with. She, too, does not pay attention to where or what it is she is walking into.

The second group is the 'Mr./Ms. Aloha' group. Ms. Slaughter also identifies with this group. These people stop and talk to practically anyone who comes across their path, regardless of the traffic flow behind them. It would probably take them 10-15 minuts to get from Webster Hall to the Student Services Center (okay, I'm exaggerating, but you get my drift). These people are likened to politicians, always on a campaign trail.

The 'groupies' are the third categorization. They are the ones who travel in groups on the sidewalk and tend to 'fan out' when you approach them. Ms. Slaughter claims no association with them, although she has had her share of frustrating encounters with them. Her reaction is to just go around them, as they are groupies and it is not in their nature to step aside to let others pass. However, this does not prevent the feelings of frustration she gets when she has to do this. The worst time to encounter any slow or heavy sidewalk traffic is when she is in a rush to reach her destination. It's times like these when stress levels rise.

There were four rules mentioned in the article. They were: (1) awareness of those around you; (2) making some sort of noise, such as coughing, to make your presence known; (3) trying to always be polite & practicing positive self-talk; and (4) maintaining a friendly, healthy attitude towards all pedestrians at all times. Ms. Slaughter suggests that some situations may arise that make it extremely hard to control or prevent frustration from surfacing, but that with practice, positive self-talk could head off most frustrations. Using positive self-talk often could help in changing your perception of usually frustrating situations.

Kendall Matsuyoshi talked about how people tend to walk on either the right or the left of the sidewalk, depending on the direction they are travelling. He read an article written by someone by the name of Dee. Right vs. left, that was the issue. Mr. Matsuyoshi stated that perhaps the directions people usually travelled while on the sidewalks had something to do with how we drive on the road. In this country, we drive on the right hand side and it is possible that this conditioning has carried on over to how we conduct ourselves in pedestrian traffic.

Mr. Matsuyoshi also read about the varying degrees of speed with which people walk. You have your slowpokes, who don't seem to have a rush in the world. Then there are your turbo walkers, who run over any poor soul that gets in their way. Finally, there are just plain rude people whose only purpose, it seems, is to block others. Kendall has had experiences with these types of pedestrians. Those encounters did not agree with him, as he is a turbo walker--a trait he attained abroad.

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evaluation & comparisons...

I agree with Ms. Slaughter that there are somewhat 'sub-cultures' in pedestrian traffic. What I wonder is if their behaviors on the walkways are a reflection of their behaviors on the roads. I'd think that the groupies were the territorialists and the convoy followers. If they don't let you pass while their whole group is taking up the walkway, I don't think they'd let you into their lane as they travel in their group. As for the Mr./Ms. Alohas, well, I do believe that I have run into a few of those. These people would be the motorists who slow down and go side-by-side with a friend they just saw on the road. They would roll down their window and even though, I suspect, they probably can't make out a word they are saying, they like the sheer fact that they are socializing. The blind-bats of the road, I without a doubt know exist. These people are dangerous because they do things like cut you off and when you look at them in disbelief, they seem totally oblivious to the fact that your brakes were screeching as a result of their action.

Mr. Matsuyoshi also brings up some interesting ideas. Yes, people do tend to walk on the right hand side as they also drive on the right. I, too , think they are related. Also, he is right when he says that there are the slowpokes and the turbo walkers. However, I do believe that within those two extremes there are a number of other categories.

significance to...

It is so easy to overlook pedestrian traffic. We sometimes have to remind ourselves that traffic on the walkways often affects our behavior and our emotions. Why there have not been more studies on it, I do not know. Everyone is a pedestrian most of the time.

the water's reflection...

I know that I am more aggressive as a pedestrian than as a motorist. I weave in and out without breaking my pace. I am especially aggressive in aerobics class. When the class before us finishes, I dart right in and make my way to get my step and claim my favorite spot. I mean, I don't push people or shove them because they are in my way. I just glide right by and don't stop to look behind.

On sidewalks, I know my rights as well as my duties. It is my duty to make sure that there are no cars zooming by even if the crosswalk says I can cross. I always wave at people who are kind enough to allow me to pass. And yes, I do follow the right-side rule. I think it makes traffic flow smoother. If I see someone going against it, I don't react too much. One thing I can't stand is if someone bumps right into me. I had this happen once at World Cafe. I was standing not too far from the bar in a pretty clear space. All of a sudden these two women charge right by me from behind, the first dragging the second by the hand, and the second woman slams right into my shoulder. It caught me off guard and I didn't react until I saw that she wasn't going to turn around and say sorry. Without thinking, I stepped up and shoved her hard. She flew forward and the people around saw. It wasn't until I saw that others had seen what I had done that I had realized my actions. Then the woman turned around and apologized to me. I was embarrassed because now all these strangers probably thought I was a 'titta' or something.

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SSSSPPPPEEEEDDIINNGG--------!

No discussion about traffic is complete without speeding.

that's what she said...

'Enfuriating and frustrating!' is Joleen Lai's view on speeding in heavy traffic. It seems that she has had much experience with speedsters who weave in and out of lanes to try to get out of the congestion. This irritatates her because she sees that they are selfishly endangering the safety of other motorists. Do they really think they can get to their destination faster by driving in a manner that is likely to cause an accident? They narrowly avoid smashing into her front end as they squeeze their car onto her lane and attempt to pass the rest of the cars on the road. And still, Ms. Lai notes, they end up being no farther ahead of her than they were earlier. Why they don't realize that their actions mayk cause an accident, which then may cause a pileup, and in turn cause everyone--including the speedster himself--to be late is beyond her.

Michelle Ota agrees with Ms. Lai when it comes to speedsters. However, she does go on to say that she does not see any harm in going a little over the speed limit every now and then. This is when the conditions are safe and the speedster isn't a threat to anyone. It is the excessive speeders and the turtle drivers that are dangers on the road. The excessive speeders cause danger and stress to other drivers (I really like her story on her grandmother. What imagery!). They may cause reacitons in other drivers that are a result of fear. The slowpoke turtle drivers who are measuring the road also seem to hbe accident causers. Their driving style may bring out anger and frustration from those who are stuck behind them. Thus causing them to react with tailgating or some other aggressive action.

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evaluation & comparison

Ms. Lai seems to be deadset against speeding. I agree with her about speeding in heavy traffic. It is not worth the risk. I've seen some real jerks on the road, speeding through heavy traffic, cutting in and out of lanes and coming dangerously close to other cars. I wonder if they realize how big of a jerk they are being. I also agree that the actions of speeders in heavy traffic is very selfish. It seems as though they are just concerned about their own needs.

Ms. Ota is a little more lenient. She says that it is the excessive speeders who are the more enfuriating. She also adds in the turtle drivers. I can't agree with her more. Some people think that the lower below the speed limit they go, the safer they are. This is not true at all. When I was younger, I witnessed an accident where this truck that was going the speed limit crashed into another truck that wasn't going over 20mph. They crashed into him right after they had gone up a hill and just as they were descending it. They had no knowledge that there was a car ahead of them until it was too late.

significance to...

Speeding and traffic basically go hand in hand. In terms of traffic psychology, as drivers we need to examine our attitudes towards speeding and our reactions to speeding. How do we feel when we speed? How do we feel when others speed? How might others feel when I speed? These are just a few of the questions we need to ask ourselves. Traffic psychology teaches us how to analyze and deal with our feelings as well as what steps we can take to better our behaviors.

about me...

I almost always go over the speed limit. My definition of speeding varies with the type of road it is (freeway, residential, in town) and the condition of traffic (heavy, medium, or light). On the freeway, I can safely travel between 65mph and 69mph. I feel that 70mph is speeding. In town, I go anywhere from 45mph to 49mph. As long as I am not going 15mph or more over the speed limit, I doubt I'll get a ticket. In residential areas, I don't go as fast. Usually I don't go over 30mph, if I even reach it. I think that my reason for this is that I am more cautious about children running out in the streets or families walking on the sidewalk. When I was a kid, I got hit by a car while crossing the street by my house. It was weird because the car that hit me was going so slow and seemed so far away. I remember running across and then the car struck me, causing me to fall. I can still see my chewing gum (it was pink) flying out of my mouth as I hit the ground. The funny thing about it is that the impact must not have been too great because once I hit the ground, I immediately stood up and darted away. You'd think I had been the one behind the wheel. I often imagine how the woman who hit me reacted. She's driving along, looking at the church on the side as students were being released from their bible class, going at a slow pace, and then all of a sudden she hears a loud thud and feels that she has struck something. Suddenly, this kid comes up from under the front of her car and takes off like lightning. It's kind of funny. Anyhow, I ran to the baseball field I had just been hanging out and I immediately flagged down my brother who was riding his RM80. He sees me and comes over. I am crying by now and he kills the engine as he approaches me. "Tisha, what's wrong?" he asked. "I got hit by a car (sob, sob)", I cried. He says okay and then tells me to get on his bike and he will pack me home. But, the bike doesn't start. "Tisha, get down and push the bike", he tells me. So there I am, just got hit by a car, gum still laying on the street, the driver is no doubt still trying to make sense of what happened, and I'm pushing my brother's dirt bike. Anyhow, we finally get it started and we reach the house. I run in and my mom is on the phone. "Mom! I got hit by a car!" I yell. She doesn't immediately realize what I've said and continues to talk on the phone. Suddenly it hits her. "What!!" she yells. She takes me and looks me over. All I have is a bruise on my rear. Then there is a knocking on the door. It's the lady that ran me over. She had hunted me down and discovered where I lived. There's more to it but I think you get the picture.

I don't see anything wrong with travelling faster than the speed limit when traffic conditions are light. However, speeders should realize that when you decide to get at a faster speed than the limit, there are more responsibilities that go with it.

Reactions?

ON TAILGATING

Tailgating is another topic important to traffic. I believe that it is one of the most dangerous and unnecessary practices and maybe there should be penalties for it.

their side of the story...

When someone tailgates him, Todd Takitani gives his car a little gas to distance himself from the offending vehicle. He believes that tailgaters should be penalized for their actions and that the act of tailgating is evil in itself. Mr. Takitani classifies tailgaters into three types. The first is the 'mass confusion tailgater'. This is the tailgater that comes up from behind at a fast pace, and keeps peering out around you, checking for an opportunity to pass. This type of tailgater is not too bad because they don't tend to stay behind you for long. The second type of tailgater Mr. Takitani mentions is the 'unconscious tailgater'. This is the worst kind of tailgater you could come across. He doesn't realize that he is tailgating you, and when he does tailgate you, he keeps on until he reaches his destination. The third type of tailgater is the 'malicious tailgater'. For these people, they have but one purpose--to piss off the car they are following.

Tailgating is wrong because it puts unnecessary stress on the driver that is being tailgated. Why people tailgate , Mr. Takitani does not know. However, he does feel that there definitely is a connection between hard rock and tailgating. Check out his cousin to see why.

Caroline Balatico's definition of tailgating is when a car is following another closer than stopping distance. In her opinion, everyone tailgates. This is forever causing a driving hazard. A tailgater is intentionally causing a driving hazard if: (1) he's impatient; (2) he 'pushes' another driver into going faster; and (3) the tailgater wants the car in front to hurry and get out of their way. There also exists the 'accidental tailgater'. These are the people who are rushing and don't realize they are tailgating and the ones who tailgate but don't mean to.

Ms. Balatico feels that tailgating is morally wrong. It is so because harm is being caused to another as a result of the action. She suggests that there may be a link between the ego and the act of tailgating. Or, maybe tailgating has a more symbolic meaning. Perhaps it is a 'sign of the times', in this world where impatience, greed, and aggressiveness can be seen most everywhere. Many feel that it is the fit (the aggressive tailgaters) that survive and the weak (the non-tailgaters, slowpokes, etc.) that perish. What we need to do, according to Ms. Balatico, is stop for a moment and take a look at ourselves.

"Don't people realize that the car they are tailgating is being driven by a human being?" Shane Akagi wonders. He feels that tailgaters are selfish and impatient. When he is tailgated, he feels frightened into speeding up. His greatest fear is that if he so much as slows down or tap the brakes, the tailgater will ram right into him. Mr. Akagi is not only frightened of tailgaters and their actions, but he is also scared of himself when he is being tailgated. He does not know how he'll react to being tailgated each and everytime he is. He's scared that one day he'll just flip and do something violent which may result in harm to others and to himself.

No matter how much he despises tailgaters, Mr. Takitani makes an effort to point out that he believes that most drivers actually are safe drivers. It is the situation that causes them to forget about others around them. People who tail do not realize the danger of what they are doing. If they did, they wouldn't do it. A person who has just been tailgated can be affected emotionally. Their mood can be changed from that of good to sour, and in turn, they can change the moods of those who come into contact with them.

Back to the beginning

evaluation & comparison

I found the insights of all interesting on this topic. Mr. Takitani points out that he feels that the act of tailgating is evil while Mr. Akagi states that he believes that all drivers are actually safe drivers. Ms. Balatico believes that tailgating is linked to ego while Mr. Takitani feels that there is a definite link between hard rock and tailgating.

I agree with Ms. Balatico when she says that tailgating might be saying something about the world today. Everything is so much more fast-paced, we often forget to think about others as we struggle to keep up ourselves. Because of this, I believe that it is easy to lose track and forget what the important things are.

significance to...

Again we see that the act of tailgating has many effects on the tailgater, the tailgated, and any others who might associate with them. Tailgating affects one's emotions and may be a sign to other more personal problems. Maybe realizing that one tailgates will lead to analyzing just why one does, and may lead to other discoveries about the self.

my side of the story...

Depending on the definition one uses, sometimes I tailgate and sometimes I don't. I do not follow the guideline of keeping one car distance away from the car in front of me, instead I usually stay about 1/2 a car length away. I don't go any closer because I don't like for other cars to get closer than that to me. I don't believe that I am a bad tailgater. In fact, I don't really consider myself to be a tailgater. I know some people who tailgate and I know I don't drive that way. Most of the time I travel by bicycle and I don't exerience any tailgaters. I don't tailgate anyone because if the person in front of me is going too slow, I just pass them.

I don't like tailgaters. I think their actions tell you a lot about their attitude. To me, they seem like they are people who only think and care about themselves. As if they are the only ones who have somewhere to go and they are the only ones that matter.

Comments/Suggestions

CONCLUSIONS

I agree with Dr. James when he says that everyone could use some improvement. I know I could. That is one of the reasons why I am looking forward to this semester. I feel that if I learn how to study my actions and analyze my reactions, I could better myself and hopefully be a better person . I think that if I can do that, I could better understand others and would have an easier time relating to others who are different. Not just that, but maybe if I do better myself, I could help others in their quest to become better people.

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