Quality Driving Circles (QDCs)
and Lifelong Driver Education
our new proposal here
Dr. Leon James
Dr. Diane Nahl
|From someone who
attended a QDC:
"At first I was a little skeptical about participating in a QDC because it was a
relatively new idea to me. However, there has been so many great changes that have
occurred in my life because of these forum discussions. I wasn't an extremely aggressive
driver before, but I did encounter a lot of stressful situations when I was on the road.
This psychological stress was a lot to bear. After participating in this QDC, I have
learned various skills to control my emotions, thereby influencing my thoughts, and
finally, influencing my actual actions. I find myself at ease on the road and enjoying
myself, rather than constantly rushing, stressing, and getting upset at other drivers! It
really improves the quality of your life because you do spend quite a lot of time on the
road so it would be nice to make it as pleasant as possible for yourself!"
ENCOURAGING GOOD DRIVER BEHAVIOR
The Toronto Transit Commission won the American Public Transportation Award for
eighteen of the last twenty-one years, according to M.L. Friedland (see J. Peter Rothe
Challenging the Old Order: Towards New Dimensions in Traffic Safety, Transaction
Publishers, 1990, p.101). This feat was apparently accomplished by encouraging the 300
drivers to participate in a "safety bingo" that rewards drivers who stay out of
crashes and tickets with small but desired prizes such as a television set. An important
feature of the safety bingo is the grouping of drivers into divisions. When a driver gets
into a crash the entire division is penalized relative to the other divisions. This
creates strong peer pressure to maintain driving alertness and to stay out of trouble.
There are two principles to be learned from this experience.
First, a positive incentive system is more desirable than negative punishment methods.
Second, peer pressure is a potent force that can strongly influence people's behavior.
RETHINKING DRIVER EDUCATION
For the past 28 years, our research on the thoughts and feelings of drivers has
uncovered several startling facts.
- drivers regularly experience hostile emotions and violent fantasies
- drivers are unaware of their errors and style of driving
- drivers resist change and lack the skills to change or to improve
- drivers are not taught to deal with their own emotions in traffic and lack the skills
for self-control in traffic situations
- drivers live in a conflictual or cynical mental state, accepting traffic regulations in
an ideal sense, but rejecting them in an actual sense (e.g., speed limits, blood alcohol
level, signaling regulations, parking violations, moving violations, required maintenance,
seat belt use, child restraints, etc.) Our rational mind supports these as necessary for
the public good; but our lower mind desires to make excuses for our transgressions. We
drive in this fog of conflict, with the result that we regularly break the traffic laws
and engage in either risky or aggressive driving, or both.
These are then the behavioral problems that face our nation of 180 million drivers as
we cross the millennium and begin our second century of car society:
- lack of awareness
- resistance to change
- lack of emotional intelligence
- and cynicism towards authority.
Traditional methods of driver education have developed in response to the type of
driving that characterized the first century of car society (1896-1996). This gave rise to
several important concepts:
- the driver's license regulated by a government agency
- driver education in high school (or its commercial equivalent)
- traffic regulations and enforcement efforts (sobriety check points, cumulative penalty
points, fines, license revocation, jail, court mandated remedial driver training,
- safety engineering in highways (lights, speed limits, signage, federal standards) and in
cars (seat belts, airbags, new automatic braking, etc.)
- award systems (insurance premium adjustments based on driver record)
Important improvements have been made in each area. First, we have license renewal
procedures and graduated licensing procedures. Second, driver education in public schools
has evolved a curriculum based on safety education and awareness of traffic regulations.
The safety program has filtered down to elementary schools with police officers
participating along with citizen groups such as MADD, SADD, GRADD, Designated Driver
Program, and others. Third, the laws have become more numerous and the enforcement methods
more sophisticated, including photoradar and satellite positioning equipment.
Despite these efforts, safety experts were incapable of managing the driving behavior
of motorists as more and more of them came on the scene, much faster than we could build
roads for them, with the result of congestion, stress, and the carnage of millions of
drivers. As we begin our second century of car society an increasing realization is
dawning. We don't know how to face this new challenge in an orderly fashion. Driving has
become a runaway problem, and it is only now that we are becoming aware of it. Until now
we thought we could solve it through the three concepts that worked before: the driver's
license, driver education, and traffic enforcement. But they're not working effectively
enough to reduce the killing of 40,000 (forty thousand) people every year, and the
injuring of 2 million people every year, to the cost of 200 billion dollars, every year.
Further, there are indications that aggressive driving and dangerous risk taking are on
the increase, not decrease. So it is obvious that a new approach is needed to take care of
the runaway driving problem that threatens to spoil our hard won advances through a
technological civilization. We need to rethink our driver education approach.
From the Collection of DrDriving's
Traffic Emotions Education Cards
See this related article:
A SIX-WEEK PSYCHO-EDUCATIONAL GROUP ON ROAD
RAGE: HOW'S MY DRIVING?
DrDriving's Analysis of the
CAUSES OF AGGRESSIVE DRIVING AND ITS SOLUTIONS
INTOLERANCE OF DIFFERENT
COMPLEXITY WITHOUT TRAINING
c o n s e q u e n c e s
CYNICISM BEHIND THE WHEEL
s o l u t i
o n s
RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF
BE OBEDIENT TO RULES
BEING ROAD SMART,
KNOWING SIGNS AND
DRIVING SIMULATORS AND
TEE Cards here
Let's acknowledge that the nature of driving has changed after a century. There are two
mechanisms to understand. One is congestion, and the other is multi-tasking. Both of these
have their effects to be managed. Congestion necessarily creates more interactions between
drivers, which creates many more opportunities for competitive or hostile exchanges. In
congested traffic, drivers are closer to each other, see each other better, and notice
more things about each other, including mistakes, some of which are merely annoying,
others life threatening. Simultaneously with increased congestion, technology has equipped
cars with so many new devices that driving has become a sort of behind the wheel
multi-tasking: heaters, air conditioning, radios, tape decks, CDs, cellular phones, GPS
computers, voice e-mail, car-office, to name those that are familiar to the majority of
drivers today. This multi-tasking, along with the increased social interactions, has
created a new type of driving. Drivers need new types of skills to manage these new
Our research on drivers for nearly two decades has led us to formulate a new body of
knowledge about driving behavior, which we call Driving Psychology. The first century
paradigm of driving was based on the notion of instructing drivers in safety and
regulations. But highways became the national killing fields, taking over 50,000 lives a
year through the decades of 50's, 60's, and 70's. Despite vast improvements in the design
of cars and highways, and in emergency medical services, the fatalities leveled off at
around 40,000 deaths per year, while the number of injured people keeps climbing (over 2
million last year among more than 5 million crashes). Safety experts have operated with
two explanations for these tragic results. One can be called risk adjustment and the other
Experts feel defeated by the disconcerting tendency of drivers to increase dangerous
forms of risk taking when engineers and doctors make things safer for them. For example,
drivers who buckle up feel they can drive faster because they're safer. Drivers who are
crash protected by air bags, are lulled into less alertness or caution. Straight
unobstructed stretches of highways encourage speeding. Radar devices and GPS allow people
to break speed limits more easily. When crowded highways allow us to elude detection by
police, we commit more infractions. When they install four-way stop signs, motorists fail
to obey them. And so on. Safer cars and safer roads are incapable of counteracting the
greater number of mistakes drivers commit as a result of multi-tasking for which they do
not have the skills. Since risk taking increases as new safety devices are introduced, the
accident levels will not go down. This is the first account.
The second is called road rage, and is the idea that stress and the frustration of
daily commutes sometimes get so intense that drivers become emotionally insane on a
temporary basis and snap. They then become primitive savages engaged in killing each
other. Or, if not killing each other, at least behaving in an aggressive and hostile
manner, enough to loose control of themselves and acting dangerously. The overall result
is the increase in collisions, and the maintenance of fatalities at the current level
despite improvements in safety and increased surveillance.
While these accounts may be accurate descriptions of what is happening, they are not
true explanations of why they are happening. For instance, to meet the increasing
challenges of congested commutes, driving instructors have created the "defensive
driving" course. Drivers are given principles of caution so that they learn to
anticipate what the other driver will do in critical interactions. It was not predicted
that defensive driving will, in some cases, turn into "offensive driving." It
was discovered that defensive driving involved the idea of suspicion and distrust of other
drivers, since you never knew what atrocious mistakes they can make. So you had to stay on
your guard. Suspiciousness fed by cynicism easily turns into aggressive driving. Defensive
motorists driving around in a suspicious atmosphere has now become the norm.
Here are exerps of a recent news story by Steve Sebelius that illustrates how we've
come to think about the driving problem:
Metro Police Lt. Joe Greenwood, who supervises the 85 motorcycle-mounted traffic
officers, says Las Vegas drivers aren't any worse than their counterparts in other places.
Rather, he says, bad driving is about time pressure. "People are in a hurry. People
are wanting to get to their destination, so they're taking risks," Greenwood says.
"I think it's a matter of people knowing what they're supposed to do and just don't
do it." Greenwood says many accidents are caused by motorists running red lights,
making left turns without yielding to oncoming traffic and following other drivers too
closely, resulting in rear-end collisions. Efforts by cops to educate drivers, like the
radar trailer that contrasts a driver's actual speed with the posted limits, aren't really
working, Greenwood says. As a result, police ought to be handing out more tickets, he
Breen says she favors restrictions on teen licenses, such as the limits proposed in
Assembly Bill 552, which would have banned teens from driving friends for the first four
months they have a license, and from driving at night (except for work or school) for the
first year. In addition, she says, she favors mandatory testing every two years for
drivers older than 65 and annual exams for drivers 75 and older. But such measures can't
take the place of more cops on the street, she says. "They [voters] want more traffic
police until they get a ticket, then they complain bitterly," she says. "The
reality is what you need is more police to give you a ticket when you're 15 mph over the
Nevada's Legislature approved Assembly Bill 457 this session aimed at aggressive
driving, which is defined as speeding coupled with running a red light or stop sign,
passing on the right, unsafe driving, following too closely or failing to yield the right
of way all in a one-mile stretch. Violations are misdemeanors and people convicted of the
crime can be sentenced to traffic school and a 30-day license suspension. Another offense
within two years results in a one-year suspension.
Aside from opening more roads, local traffic engineers have little to say about curing
bad driving. Sometimes, drivers do bad things on good roads, and there's nothing that
could be done to prevent it, White says. "Sometimes, some of the decisions they make,
we can't design for," he says. So then what? "We're trying to talk it up around
here, how important it is to drive courteously," he says.
"I think people are not trained in this country at all," says Ken Kruger,
president of the All-American Driving School and of the Nevada Professional Driving School
Association. At least one study has shown, Kruger says, that school-based drivers'
education is ineffective in teaching driving skills. "I think the high schools ought
to drop driver's ed," he says. "It's a subject they should not be teaching.
They're wasting people's time and money." Kruger maintains the only way to teach
driving skills is to repeat them until they become a habit. Driving simulators are a good
way, but they're too expensive to purchase, so in-car training becomes a necessity.
Here are exerps from a proposal sent to me recently by a driver who was struck by the
following comment I made in an interview:
"ROAD RAGE is the inability to let go of the desire to retaliate and punish the
other driver. How it is expressed, depends on personality and situation." Dr. Leon
His proposal illustrated the directions that the old paradigm solutions might take:
How about channeling and diverting that vigilante urge? How about a variation on the
1-800- "How's My Driving" stickers for truckers? How about a toll-free phone
number which motorists can call to report the license plate numbers of aggressive drivers?
So that rather than respond in kind, motorists have some non-violent recourse to
"punish" the other driver. These license numbers could be made available to
insurance agencies, who I'm sure would want to know about dangerous behavior in their
This proposal has a couple of interesting positives:
1. it doesn't require proving *who* was driving at any point in time. The insurers cover
the car itself, no matter who is driving.
2. there is no invasion of privacy required -- the insurance company already knows the
license numbers of the cars they cover.
3. The database can be made public, it's only a list of plate numbers. The insurance
companies need *never* publicize their use of the database if they don't wish to, but they
can still factor the information into rates which they quote.
4. Parents are plausibly more interested in perusing this database for the plate numbers
of cars which their children might be driving.
And a couple of possible negatives:
1. it can be abused for other purposes. Someone might call to complain about the driving
of an estranged spouse, lover, boss, or co-worker. This could be countered by correlating
the phone number of the caller with the reported plate number, and disqualifying multiple
reports from a single calling number.
2. there is not necessarily any repercussion against the offending driver. It all depends
on whether his insurance company scans the database. But perhaps the symbolic action would
be sufficient to defuse the retaliatory urge on the part of the offended driver.
It's clear to us that we need a new paradigm of driver education for the coming
generation of drivers, and we need as well a workable solution to keep training the
current multi-tasking drivers. This solution is a Lifelong Driver Education program driven
by the motto:
Driver Education Never Stops.
Driving Circles (QDCs)
Small groups of 5 to 10 drivers meet
together regularly, and discuss their driving life, influencing and
learning from each other. There are two types of QDCs: Face-to-Face
and Virtual. Face-to-face QDCs can be based in the family, the
neighborhood, or the workplace, where brief meetings can be held at
lunchtime or during breaks. It's important to make the meetings
regular and to keep an attendance record as a way of motivating
members not to skip. Prizes, diplomas, awards, and public
commendations are encouraged to keep members involved. There ought
to be a rotating chairperson for an agreed upon period, to call
meetings and safeguard records. There is no limit to how long a QDC
goes on. The longest lasting QDC will receive national recognition.
Annual QDC conferences and QDC Newsletters, both national and local,
are desirable. The national QDC activities will be coordinated
through this Web site.
Virtual QDCs are Web based and
coordinated through this site. Members are not physically present
but they communicate electronically through this interactive site,
as well as directly with each other, by chat room, email, internet
phone, regular telephone and mail.
Driving Circle CURRICULUM
The curriculum of QDCs consists of
these instructional tools:
- TEE CARDS (Traffic Emotions Education) May
be accessed here
- RoadRageous Video Course Description of
Modules may be accessed here
- Activity Sheets for
driving personality makeovers to be practiced by all members
- Self-assessment Surveys to monitor one's
driving style (see TEE
CARDS and Test Toolkit)
- Check-lists of driving behaviors to keep
track of (see TEE CARDS)
- Logs or Diaries to record
Reminder Cards to guide trip by trip planned exercises (see
- Audiotapes for
listening while driving to facilitate behind the wheel exercises
- FactSheets or
Bulletins about national driving statistics, news, and alerts
- Agreement forms for
Partnership Driving and other help-each other arrangements
- Data Record Forms to summarize the
activities of members intended for the national QualityDriving
databank (see below)
- Scenario Analysis
of road rage incidences in the news to teach emotionally
- Games and Musicals to teach driving
and Instructional Vignettes May be accessed here
- Activities to do with children in the car
Awards, and Commendations to be given to members for
- Certificates of Participation to reward
excellence in driving (e.g., getting lower insurance rates)
All QDC participants are encouraged
to contribute their self-observation records to the Web based
National Quality Driving
Circle Databank. A generational library of
self-witnessing reports thus accumulates and forms the basis for
change. The self-witnessing reports are prepared by members
according to models and instructions. They include
- thoughts and feelings behind the wheel
- driving personality makeover projects using
behavioral techniques of self-modification
- checklists, surveys, and inventories to
help keep track of changes and patterns in one's driving
QDCs may also be a good vehicle for
the Courts who are always looking for driver re-education programs
more effective than watching driving safety movies, or doing
unrelated community work. The dynamic power of groups to influence
individual behavior is well known to social scientists. We should be
using this power for re-educating aggressive and emotionally
QDCs are principally cultural
motivators for a value change. QDCs are re-education delivery
mechanisms for changing aggressive driving into supportive driving.
But they also are the best source of continuous data for tracking
the level and intensity of aggressive driving. Trained volunteers
tape record themselves in traffic and later analyze the data, using
approved checklists for the presence or absence of certain emotions,
and their intensity. These data would be a measure of the level of
aggressiveness or stress that drivers regularly experience on that
stretch of road, and the nature of these emotions and thoughts, so
they may be dealt with on a public basis. These data would be
anonymous and published on a regular basis.
OBJECTIONS TO THE NEW DRIVING PARADIGM
The following excerpts from a recent letter illustrates the kind of objections and
difficulties that will be raised about lifelong driver education through universal QDC
(begin quote here)
I know you're trying to find a cooperative, constructive way for everyone to just get
along, and that's commendable, but by doing that, you're trying to do more than address
road rage, you're trying to fundamentally change the nature of late 20th century America.
That's a tall order. My suggestion, and others from "the old paradigm" is
motivated by a pragmatic approach to working with, influencing, nudging, the existing
social order towards a better end. If you have to turn everything upside down, it will
take a lot longer and may not happen at all.
First of all, I think your proposals for "aloha driving" and QDCs are pleasantly
idealistic. I see you've quoted Swedenborg in your signature, and I think I understand
where you're coming from. And I do agree that the larger issue of violence in American
society is closely coupled with our problem with "road rage." In other
countries, drivers are far more "rude" and "aggressive" on the road
(and I have to use the scary quotes, because it's our cultural context standing in
judgments of theirs), yet the driving does not escalate into violence. I'm speaking of
cities like Mexico City, Lisbon, Venice, Rome, Bombay.
So I agree that it would be a good thing all around if people could be encouraged to
relax, loosen up, chill out, cool it, aloha. Peace, alright?
On the other hand, the concept of QDCs, like support groups, or salons, or other
communitarian movements (or self-improvement itself), is almost quaintly liberal, urban,
and disconnected from the larger trends of de-urbanization and individualism that are
presently pervading our society. You might be able to (I'm sure you could) sell a
self-help book titled "Stop Road Rage: start here" and people might do a little
introspection into their own behavior, but I really don't believe that groups of people
will formally involve themselves in other people's lives (or vice versa) for the sole
purpose of improving their driving habits. Oh, some people would participate, sure. Just
like some people participate in support groups, or salons, or church small groups, or
reading circles, etcetera. But I don't see how it could become a sufficiently large
movement to change society. I think it will remain permanently on the fringe. This has
nothing to do with "would it work if people would participate?" I think it
would. This is just "would people participate?" And absent coercion, I don't
think they would.
The only way people would participate on a large scale is *if* large numbers of people
could be convinced that their *own* behavior should be improved. That road rage and
aggressive driver aren't "some other idiot", but they are the product of each
person's "idiot within". But Leon, if you can create that kind of large-scale
self-awareness, you won't need QDCs -- you will have already ushered in the New Jerusalem.
When there is a paradigm shift in science, like the one Einstein brought about, there
is a period of overlap between the old and the new approach during which the supporters of
each paradigm can't see each other's valid points. Out of this struggle emerges a new
understanding and a new acceptance of what seemed unacceptable or unimportant before. I
believe that we are now going through such an overlap phase between the old paradigm of
driving and the new paradigm of the acceptance of the idea that driver never stops
throughout the career of the driver.
Driver training never stops because the complexity of driving continues to increase. It
doesn't just stay put. Your driving skills must be continuously updated and confirmed.
First, because of how the automotive environment advances and evolves:
longer and more crowded commutes
a greater diversity of drivers and why they are on the road
multi-tasking behind the wheel (phone, radio, GPS, voice e-mail, mobile office, etc.).
Second, because of the declining physical functions with age, and
the tendency to slide back into the savagery of the old paradigm driving ("reptilian
The AARP sponsored program known nationally as 55+ Alive has met with success and approval
by insurance companies who offer drivers premium reductions for attending the 6-hour
course. My suggestion would be to use the structure of this organization that's already in
place to encourage graduates of 55+ Alive to join QDCs on a permanent basis.
(end of letter)
THE CURRENT COST OF THE DRIVING PROBLEM
The following table summarizes the cost/benefit analysis of the old and new paradigm in
driving. These are the factors that will determine the rate of acceptance of lifelong
driver training and universal QDC participation.
THE COST TO SOCIETY OF REPTILIAN DRIVING PROBLEM
(500,000 per decade)
- injuries (25 million per
billion per year)
- long-term loss of health
stress levels in daily life (hassles and concerns)
- fear and threat on streets and
- weakening of our moral IQ
(condoning cynicism and aggressiveness)
- lowering of our
- promotion of learned negativity
in public places leading to automotive vigilantism and widely
deployed electronic surveillance systems
- lowered productivity when arriving at work mad and exhausted
- learned cynicism (aggressive
driving norms and disrespect for regulations) leading to alienation and disunion among
pollution caused by the emotional
use of the gas pedal ( getting less gas per mileage)
- breeding the next generation of
aggressive drivers, continuing the cultural cycle (our children in the car imbibing our
cynicism and aggressiveness
The transformation that needs to take place from negative driving to positive driving
is illustrated by the following 10 driver competence skills. People in the negative
driving mode are stuck in negative mental quagmire we can call "reptilian
driving" because the person behind the wheel is acting out a symbolic image of the
cave man mentality. Positive driving is emotionally intelligent because when motorists are
in that mental state, they operate more rationally and with greater self-control.
Please note that the actual words in these examples may not fit your style of
thinking-to-yourself, but try to figure out what each example stands for, and see if you
can think of the exact words you would use when in that frame of mind.ALTERNATIVES TO REGULAR QDCs
Not everyone wants to join a Regular QDC. There are workable and creative alternatives.
Virtual QDCs (Asynchronous) do not involve face-to-face contact and they increase the
variety and distance of possible groups one can belong to. People can belong to both
Face-to-Face QDCs and Virtual QDCs, if they so wish. You can also belong to more than one
Dyadic QDCs, like long term Partnership Driving, are easy to set up between the driver
and regular passengers.
Family QDC is an excellent and powerful alternative.
Individual QDC. People can also do most of the QDC curriculum exercises on their own.
However, doing them alone requires an unusual degree of self-motivated supervision to
overcome loss of interest or resistance to change. Meeting in a group context empowers the
members to each other's motivational involvement. Involvement is partially contagious.
Involved members try to persuade less involved members to stick out.
Court mandated QDCs may be powerful methods for motivating and supervising problem
School QDCs allow the grouping of younger and older children together so that there may
be a positive generational influence and connection. They also prepare the next generation
of drivers to accept and support QDCs. See also CARR: Children Agianst Road Rage.
Professional QDCs for drivers of trucks, police and emergency vehicles, race cars,
Senior QDCs for the elder drivers.
Aggressive vs. Supportive Driving
-- How to Switch
Driver Competence Skills
What would be
your words here?
on self vs. blaming others or the situation
traffic is impossibly slow. Whats wrong with these jerks. Theyre driving like
feeling very impatient today. Everything seems to tick me off."
Understanding how feelings and thoughts act together
"Im angry, scared, outraged. How can they do this to me."
angry, scared, outraged when I think about what could have happened."
that anger is something we choose vs. thinking it is provoked
me so mad when they do that."
myself so mad when they do that."
concerned about consequences vs. giving in to impulse
want to give this driver a piece of my mind. I just want him to know how I feel."
respond to this provocation I lose control over the situation. Its not worth
respect for others and their rights vs. thinking only of oneself
"They better stay out of my way. Im in no mood for putting up with them. Out of
my way folks."
"I wish there was no traffic but its not up to me. These people have to get to
their destination too."
traffic as collective team work vs. seeing it as individual competition
is about getting ahead. I get a jolt out of beating a red light or finding the fastest
lane. Its me vs. everybody else."
"I try to
keep pace with the traffic realizing that my movements can slow others downlike
switching lanes to try to get ahead."
Recognizing the diversity of drivers and their needs and styles vs. blaming them for what
they choose to do
they be so stupid? Theyre talking on the phone instead of paying attention to the
"I need to
be extra careful around drivers using a hand held cellular phone since they may be
Practicing positive role models vs. negative
buddy, speed up or Ill be on your tail. Go, go. Whats wrong with you.
Theres no one ahead."
driver is going slower than my desires. Now I can practice the art of patience and respect
for the next few minutes."
Learning to inhibit the impulse to criticize by developing a sense of driving humor
cant stand all these idiots on the road. They slow down when they should speed up.
They gawk, they crawl, anything but drive."
angry, Im mad
Therefore Ill act calm, Ill smile and not compete. Already I feel
better. Be my guest, enter ahead."
driving seriously by becoming aware of ones mistakes and correcting them
an excellent driver, assertive and competent, with a clean accident recordjust a few
tickets here and there."
myself as a driver and keep a driving log of my mistakes. I think its important to
include thoughts and feelings, not just the overt acts."
See Other TEE
DRIVING WITH EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Remedies For 5 Common Symptoms
Obsessing about slow traffic
rate well never get there" , "I feel like Im going backwards" ,
"Now Im stuck behind this slow driver" etc.
Give up getting there on time; Distract yourself with radio or music; Admire the scenery;
Practice yoga breathing
Feeling combative with self-righteous
just cut me offgotta give him a piece of my mind" , "I dont deserve
to be pushed around" , "Nobody gives me the finger and gets away with it"
"Nobody should fool with me and get away with it"; etc.
animal sounds; Make up some possible excuses for that
driver; Think about your parents and children who might do the same thing; Think
about being a saint
Feeling excessively competitive
that guy made the light and I didnt" , "How come that lane is faster than
this one" , "Those pedestrians better watch outIm coming
through" , etc.
its just a habit from childhood to feel anxious about not winning, or being left
behind; Remind yourself it feels good to be civil and helpful
that idiot who forgets to turn off his signal" , "I cant stand it the way
he slows down and speeds up, slows down and speeds up" , "How can he pay
attention to the road if hes babbling on the phone"
its human to make mistakes; Recall to yourself your own mistakes; Remind yourself
that patience is a virtue; Try to maneuver your car away from that car
Love of risk taking
"I like to
go fast, but Im careful" , "I can make this light if I speed up" ,
"I can squeeze into that opening if I time it right" , "I can insult that
driver cause I can get away fast" , etc.
Think of your
loved ones and how they would feel if something happened to you; Tell yourself you prefer
to be a mature and prudent person
Other TEE Cards
Hawaii Students of Dr. Leon James
Discussions in Quality Driving Circles
I heard the news last
night about a road rage encounter that resulted in the a different type
of altercation. One of the persons involved reached into the other
driver's car, pulled his/her dog out and threw it into traffic. The dog
was killed by oncoming cars. I tried to locate more information from
KITV's web page, but it was not available in their archive.
My opinion is one that is obvious. Road Rage is not only on an incline I
feel it is out of control. I know many people who view do not view their
pets as pets. Many feel that they are family members. I wonder how far
people will go and how much longer our society will allow us to go in
how we behave when we give into road rage. I looked at the ASPCA to see
how they would handle this. They have a "Felony Animal Cruelty" for
"aggravated cruelty", but it did not say what type of punishment
(if any) doing this carries. The dog owner will probably resort
to filing a lawsuit. In any case this is a sad situation and
unfortunately I don't see relief coming anytime soon.
-- Larry Lemm honked at
J.C. Edgar King's car because it was stopped in the middle of 1300 West.
That honk led to an altercation that has left Lemm partly disabled and
the elderly King with a criminal conviction on his otherwise clean
record. The altercation occurred Labor Day weekend 1995, and Lemm is
still fighting with King. ``You wonder when he's going to take
responsibility for it,'' said Lemm, who has sued for damages in the
incident, which left him with two injured knees requiring surgery.
This scenario resulting from road rage demonstrates once again the
damage that can come from giving into our anger. This situation could
have been avoided if Lemm did not honk his horn at King for being
stopped. Lemm could have been practiced charitable thought with King's
circumstances that might have explained his being stopped. King could
have let the honking go or at least tried to explain the situation to
Lemm instead of having an altercation. This report is an example of
emotional high jacking where one heated event led to another heated
event and ultimately to injury. This event took place back in 1995 and
the two are still fighting. Lemm is suing King for the injury. I was
surprised to read that Lemm wants King to take responsibility, however,
he has failed to take responsibility of his action that initiated this
situation. I am sure that Lemm feels his honking of the horn was minor
compared to King's reaction, however it was this simple act (honking)
that brought on this domino effect of emotion. This anger is still
building and will continue to build until both persons stop "acting out"
towards each other (Lemm's suing and wanting King to take
This ties into the Goleman's Emotional Intelligence chapter on Passion's
Slave (p 56-77) and on Transpersonal practice of being in the moment.
Everything we do in this moment gives rise to the next moment, therefore
it is important that we are aware of our emotions in order to avoid the
triggering of emotional intelligence.
Imagine Lemm's life would be without injury and medical bills if he
hadn't honked his horn and given into the altercation with King. King's
record would not be tarnished and he would not be sued if he had not let
the horn honking erupt into the altercation.
I am one of those people
that think of themselves as an excellent driver. If something bad
happens, it is always the other persons fault and not my own. I guess
that I have never really looked at what my weaknesses are while driving,
which is probably why I think of myself as an excellent driver. I think
that if I really pay attention to what I do when I drive, I will find a
few things that I need to improve on. There are some times when I
realize that I am being aggressive or irrational when I drive. As soon
as i realize what I am doing, I try to stop and to just relax and think
about something else. The tee card says that we tend to drive like our
parents. I disagree with that statement because I a make it a point to
not drive like my parents. My mom drives too jerky and I always end up
getting sick in the car and my dad drives too slow. I drive the complete
opposite of my parents. I try to drive a smooth as possible without
going too slow or too fast. I feel that as soon as I become aware of the
bad habit that I have while driving, I will be able to modify them all.
I don't think that it will be easy to modify those behaviors because I
have been driving the same way for years. But I think that with a little
patience and persistence, I can modify my bad habits and become a better
I think that one of the
hardest steps of a Driving Personality Makeover would be for people to
actually acknowledge the way they drive. I know of a lot of people that
would be really insulted if anyone even brought up the issue of their
driving abilities. I think that all people do not want to be thought of
as a bad driver. In fact, I think that people never really want to be
thought of as bad in anything. So if someone accused them of being an
aggressive driver, most people would probably not believe it. They'd
probably just blame the other drivers and say that it is because other
people don't know how to drive. No one ever
wants to take responsibility for their own actions. I think that if
people can feel more comfortable analyzing themselves, doing a driving
personality makeover would be much easier and more successful.
I am very happy for your
recent success and I hope you continue in your efforts in becoming a
better driver. I know that changing a behavior is a hard thing to do
because the behavior we want to change has become automatic in our
everyday life. I think the key in changing our behavior is consistency.
We can't just keep on changing our behavior on the way we feel that
particular day but have to stick with a behavior that we want to portray
everyday. I think this aspect is the hardest for me. Some days I'll be
really conscious of my driving and other days I could care less. I think
once I develop a system where I will always be conscious of my behaviors
while I'm driving will I see the greatest results. By doing this, not
only do I create a safer environment for myself but for others as well.
It is very encouraging to hear that someone else is
making gains in an area that I myself could use some help in. I tend to
shovel out a few colorful metaphors at some drivers, and I do it to
release some aggression. I do realize that it is not really a
comfortable situation for my passenger's, so I try to keep the metaphors
clean...if anything. In my humble opinion, if it helps to restrain and
diminish your anger and hostile feelings, then do say what you want. It
is better to be a calm driver than a pent up one.
The great thing about
your driving personality makeover is not only that you, yourself are a
much safer driver and don't upset others on the road or your passengers,
but also you are modeling great behavior for your sister. Hopefully, by
seeing what a change your driving behavior has gone through and
realizing that it is better to be more calm and in control, she too will
want to take on those good driving traits. We sometimes don't realize
what an influence our actions and behaviors have on others, especially
those who look up to us and try to model our behaviors.
My driving makeover
really began with SWR #4 in which another person rates your driving. I
was pretty shocked to realize that I am verbally aggressive behind the
wheel. This was my first realization that I had a problem. I have made a
conscious effort to remain calm and more aware of the situation rather
than just blow up. For me this seems to be the biggest problem. I think
it puts me in a negative mood as well as my passengers. I have been
trying to maintain an awareness of other drivers and the situation, but
it’s a little difficult at times. The good thing is that I am trying.
And my sister, the person who pointed out this bad behavior in SWR #4,
noticed it yesterday while we were driving home. At an intersection a
car made a right turn which situated him right in front of me. He then
proceeded to slow down to approximately 14 miles an hour in a 35-MPH
area. There were no cars behind me and I wondered why this person felt
the need to enter my lane so immediately and then slow down. I simply
stated, “Hmm…I wonder what this person is doing,” rather than my usual
“What the #$%@ is this idiot doing?” It was at this point that my sister
commented that she has noticed I seem to be trying to modify my driving
behavior. I know that I am far from perfect but I am pretty proud of my
One of the bad habits
that I often have when driving is the need to get in front of other
drivers who i feel are just going too slow. The first thing I did was to
acknowledge that indeed this is a problem and realize that my actions
were making the roads much more dangerous because I tend to change lanes
excessively to overtake the other drivers. This past week as I was out
on the road, I did what Ryan did, and attempted to just stay behind one
driver no matter what speed he or she went out. I found that it really
wasn't all that bad. The only real thing that was making the situation
so horrible was my emotional reaction to it, which was extremely useless
and unnecessary. Most people do drive at least at speed limit and it
isn't going to take me that much longer to get from my house to work
even if I follow them all.
I also have the same
habit. I get really frustrated when I am behind someone who id driving
too slow. (They're like going 15mph in a 35 mph zone) =( I think that I
should also try to stay behind a certain driver no matter how slow they
are going. (Unless I realy need to be somewhere in a hurry). I think
that I will also find out that it is just my emotional intelligence that
makes me become frustrated with slow drivers and not the drivers
themselves. I agree that people becoming extremely irritated or
frustrated with other drivers just because of the speed they are going
is useless and unnecessary. Hopefully one day everyone who drives will
also understand that.
As I read your posting it
made me realize how I behaved as a driver in the past. I used to feel an
urge to get ahead of the slower car. The car would usually be traveling
below the posted speed limit and I was eager to be on my way. I often
wondered why the person was driving so slowly. Now I just relax, and
enjoy the ride. There’s no need to rush.
I agree that sometimes
driving behind people can feel like you're not moving at all and when
you change lanes and increase your speed, even if only by a few miles
per hour, sometimes it seems to make a huge difference. I try to avoid
changing in and out of lanes unless I absolutely can't take it. But I
seem to be able to relate to your emotional state when you can't change
lanes. I feel like that quite often while driving, but about different
things. I usually get more annoyed with people turning in front of me or
blocking the intersections as opposed to driving behind a slow mover. At
least we're taking this class and learning how to deal with our
I was driving around town
the other day and I was in no rush to get anywhere. So I naturally just
drove slightly above the speed limit. The street I was on had only one
lane. Then another car was approaching me from behind. I noticed that he
wasn't speeding, but was going slightly faster than I was. He maintained
a respectable distance from me but I could tell that he obviously wanted
me to go faster. Just because I felt bad for slowing down the car behind
me I speed up. I'm not exactly sure but I was probably going at least
ten miles over the speed limit. I continued this speed until the road
opened up into two lanes, then he proceeded to pass me.
My comment is that he did not tailgate me or yell at me or beep his horn
at me. But since I was driving at a legal speed I felt bad for slowing
him down. This caused me to speed. I feel like this form of speeding is
not aggressive because I wasn't trying to cut anyone off or hang turns
or run red lights. Am I still being an emotionally unintelligent driver?
I don't think so, but I was curious as to what others believe. I
personally hate to be that one car which causes a line of cars to form
Ok, as step 1 of Dr.
Driving's 3 step program instructs, I admit that I am an aggressive
driver. This does not occur all the time, but nevertheless, there are
times when I admit that I am guilty of weaving in and out of traffic and
tailgating drivers who cut me off. I have been driving like this for
many years now, and this driving style was probably reinforced by me
watching my friends and other family members drive (we're just all a
bunch of aggressive drivers!) Anyway, I understand that in order to
change, I have to try and change one bad habit at a time. Right now, I'm
having a hard time with this because there are times when I am not aware
of my aggressive driving until its too late. However, good news is, I
think I am beginning to make some improvements.
For example, on Sat., while I was driving on Moanalua Freeway, A van was
going really fast and began to tailgate me. I was looking in my rear
view mirror and was surprised to see him driving that close. Usually, I
would have probably reacted by slowing down to piss him off, or perhaps
even retaliating with a "friendly" hand gesture (not the shaka sign.)
Anyway, I remained cool, and did nothing. Shortly after, he changed lane
and was far away from me. I was happy to see that I reacted in what is
perhaps the right thing to do in a situation like that. Nevertheless, I
feel that I still need a lot of practice in controlling my emotions on
Sounds like your on your
way to improving yourself as a driver. I actually feel the same way
because I used to often yell at people or drive very aggressively.
Nowadays, I just cruise it and don't cause trouble even when other
drivers are trying to aggravate me. I had a similar experience to yours
when I was driving home from Hickam AFB this weekend. I was just leaving
the base and some older Caucasian woman was following me. I wasn't
speeding because I always drive speed limit on base (strict rules!) Well
anyways, she was tailing me and she could have easily changed lanes. My
first reaction was "what the f*ck!," then I thought "who cares." I had
just finished a long day and just wanted to get home okay. So i just let
it go and she proceeded to pass me then cut in front of me. I found it
funny because she seemed very hostile.
I feel as if I am a more emotionally intelligent driver nowadays. I
don't worry about getting revenge anymore. My only problem is to not
speed when I drive to work in rush hour. Besides driving to work I drive
a lot safer.
Wow, it's really good to
hear that there are some non-agressive drivers on the road. I guess
you're one of the lucky ones who actually had "good" driving role
models. As for myself, I find that I also learned my driving habits from
my parents. However, I think my friends, and also co-workers at one
point, might have also had an influence on my aggressive driving habits.
The funny thing is, while growing up during my high school years, I
always felt this strong sense of stereotypical male driving behavior.
Somehow, it was ok for me to drive a little aggressive, because if not,
I would have appeared like a pansy to my friends. This is probably why I
have been driving aggressively for so long. I guess social factors
really have a strong influence on driving styles.
I drove to Hawaii Kai
this weekend with these three Driving Personality Makeovers in mind. I
first had to think of a bad habit that I had. It wasn't hard seeing as
how I am almost always guilty of committing this one when I'm driving on
Kalanianole Hwy. My bad habit is that I always try to find the fastest
lane to drive in. This is something that I
don't always so. It's just when I'm driving on this particular stretch
of road I just have to always be moving. So the first thing that I did
was acknowledge my problem. I alerted the passenger I had in the car
with me and told her what my assignment was for this week. I think that
she's getting used to evaluating my driving because he does it even when
it's not necessary for this class. The next step was to witness my own
errors and transgressions. It didn't take long before I was changing
My passenger alerted me
to my bad habit and I turned back into my lane. That sounds like I could
have an an accident but rest assured I did check again as I was
returning to my own lane. So I witnessed it. I have to say that even
though I was just talking about it and thinking about it I
proceeded to do that same bad action. I didn't realize how diffucult
this exercise was really going to be. On to the next step of behavior
modification. I forced myself to follow this one driver all the way from
Kalani High School to Lunalilo. It doesn't sound like it would be a
difficult thing to do but I have to admit it was close to mental torture
for me. The good thing is that I made it through. The funny thing that I
learned from this exercise it that changing lanes doesn't necessarily
get me to my destination any faster. For all of that increase in blood
pressure and decrease in gas that it costs me to drive around what I
deemed to be "slow drivers" it didn't take me a noticeably longer time
to get to my destination.
I totally can empathize
with you. I, too, am guilty at times of trying to be in the fastest
lane. Especially when I'm trying to drive back home (in Manoa) which I
swear has some of the slowest drivers in the world! Like you I also
realized that I really didn't get to my destination that much faster and
thus, it was pretty pointless to get so emotional distraught over the
situation. I think it's great that your "bad habit" has now been
somewhat modified and you realize that it really isn't helping you at
all to keep changing lanes. I can't believe you actually managed to stay
driving behind one person the whole time . . . I think I'm going to have
to try that and see how that works for me too! This class makes you
realize a lot of things, mostly that there are many myths that we have
made up in our heads about driving that turn out to be really false when
we sit back and analyze the situation without letting our emotions take
I agree that, although the suggestions make sense,
it is difficult to live by them and apply them in every day life. I
wonder if, after having finished this class, will I stick with some of
the techniques that I have learned or practiced. I'm sure some things
will stick, but others will soon be forgotten. It's seems like too much
effort to be constantly thinking about different steps and methods every
time I get in the car.
Like some of the others
in the class I have found myself being very aggressive at times, as well
as being supportive and helpful too. However I think that the aggressive
outweighs the supportive. I find myself driving
aggressively/competitively when there is a lot of traffic. It is almost
like a game to me... try and see if you can outsmart the traffic -by
recognizing the patterns and the flow of the traffic and beating
everyone to the open spaces in the lanes. This is a bad thing to get
into. The main reason is that it's impossible to do without being
aggressive, or aggravated. Since I have been taking this class I have
noticed that I haven't been playing the game as much, but really
focusing on supporting the other drivers around me.
I was recently driving on
the North Shore, and I caught myself not wearing my seat belt. In town I
always wear it. However, I think that because the driving environment is
a bit more relaxed on the North Shore, I tend to feel safer. I know that
this is a bad theory. It seems to me that on shorter trips I tend to not
wear my seat belt. For example: when I am driving to the store-just down
the road from my house, I find myself just going... without reaching for
the strap. I decided that the only way to fix this problem is to put my
belt on before I start the engine.
I agree that it seems
unnecessary to put on a seatbelt when it is a short trip or if your in
the country, and I used to not wear one. However, that's where the
problems come in, when I wasn't wearing a seatbelt "every once in a
while", it soon became, "every time I went ot the store" then, "every
short trip", then I would just forget, more and more often. I never even
noticed that I hardly wore one until a friend asked me, "how come you
don't wear a seatbelt?" That made me think more about it, and be more
conscious to wear one. I try to put one on before I even start the car.
News and Email on QDCs
Some road warriors find peace in long commutes,
By Alan Sipress / Washington Post
WASHINGTON -- Keith Brown likes to sit in traffic. On a typically bad day along the
Washington Beltway, it takes him an hour each way to travel between Temple Hills, Md., and
his job in Reston, Va. It's an hour-and-a-half on a worse day. He's done it for eight
years, and he's not ready to give it up. "As strange as it sounds, I'd rather have an
hour-plus commute than a five-minute commute," said Brown, 42, a seemingly sensible
computer programer. "In the morning, it gives me a chance to work through what I'm
going to do for the day. And it's my decompression time." Some road warriors may
question his sanity.
Yet others immediately understand Brown's affection for the peace and solitude offered
by the journey between a job crammed with deadlines and a home where his 4-year-old son
often lies in wait with his own computer frustrations. Indeed, research indicates that a
significant portion of commuters actually welcome the time they spend in their cars. The
time offers many drivers a rare space over which they have total control, a breather in
the breathless pace of work and home, phones and the Internet. In a survey of drivers
across the country for American Demographics magazine, 45 percent agreed that
"driving is my time to think and enjoy being alone."
Steve Barnett, an advertising executive who has tracked the behavior of commuters,
calls it "road Zen." Sandwiched between escalating job pressures and the demands
of domestic life, commuters often exploit their drive time to settle into a relaxed mental
state, according to Barnett, a senior partner at OgilvyOne. "It centers them. It's
just the opposite of road rage." Some experts say this attitude helps explain why
many motorists would be unwilling to pay tolls that could relieve congestion and shorten
their hours on the road. No doubt many commuters in congested metropolitan areas such as
Washington see only exasperation, grief from the boss and late fees at day care when they
get caught in traffic. But even in this region, a considerable number of drivers cherish
"the chance to be quiet and meditative" provided by their daily trips, said Brad
Edmondson, a former editor of American Demographics. "A lot of people enjoy driving
alone, particularly those who live in households with at least two people and work in
offices with a fairly large number of people. It's only between two hectic situations that
you find some breathing space," said Edmondson, who introduced the survey results
during his keynote address at a recent conference of the Transportation Research Board, an
arm of the National Research Council.
The findings showed that equal proportions of men and women enjoy their time alone in
the car but that distaste for driving increases with age. Although more than half the
respondents ages 18 to 34 said they enjoyed the solitude of their drive time, only
one-third of those older than 55 did. When the workday ends for Julie Koontz, 33, she is
grateful for the drive home from Reston to Warrenton, Va., though it takes an hour.
"At the end of the day," she said, "I'm pretty stressed, and it gives me a
chance to leave work behind."
The proposition that commuting is not universally reviled has won further support from
economists Clifford Winston, of the Brookings Institution, and John Calfee, of the
American Enterprise Institute. In a study to determine how much drivers would pay in tolls
to alleviate traffic and thus reduce their commute, the researchers concluded that
motorists are far less negative about the time they spend in the car than experts had
rage’ is learned, expert says
'Driver education starts in
kindergarten and before,' says Leon James
By Susan Kreifels, Star-Bulletin
Mom and dad, watch your behavior in
the car. If you're guilty of "road rage," your kids are likely to
take after you when they get behind the wheel.
That is one of the most significant
findings by "Dr. Driving" -- Hawaii's own Leon James, a professor of
psychology at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.
"Those who remember parents as more
aggressive drivers are more aggressive themselves, like swearing and
tailgating," James said.
"It's not as some people describe it
-- something happened and they snapped, or other drivers push them
to be hostile. We've been taught to do it."
James, an expert on road rage
who testified last year before Congress, just completed analyzing
e-mail questionnaires filed by
1,095 respondents across the nation in December and January.
That followed a survey of 1,040
drivers done four months earlier.
Sgt. Clyde Yamashiro, with the
Honolulu Police Department's Traffic Division, said people who
display road rage give all kinds of excuses for their behavior. But
Yamashiro said he "semi-agrees" with James.
"It could be considered learned
behavior," Yamashiro said.
James said schools should start
teaching children from their first day about how drivers and
passengers should behave on the road and how to manage anger.
He wants to start a new organization
called CARR: Children Against Road Rage.
"Driver education starts in
kindergarten and before, when they start riding with parents in cars
and observing them," he said.
Adults also need "serious
self-training," James said, and to support one another in "quality
James believes adults would take time
out from their busy lives to join such activities if they knew the
risks they drive by every day: About 5 million Americans have been
involved in collisions for each of the last few years, and 40,000 to
44,000 of them died.
"Every year, we're killing on our
roads as many (U.S.) soldiers as died in the Vietnam War."
In 1997, Hawaii saw 131 auto deaths,
"We are undergoing amazing risks we
don't realize," James said. "Driving has become too serious and
dangerous an activity that we do every day. You don't want your
children to grow up and be like you.
"You want to reduce your driving
stress, switching from an aggressive driver to a supportive driver.
Then, suddenly, driving becomes a pleasure again instead of
frustrating, plus it reduces risk."
Original story here
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 1999 11:37:31 -1000
From: Leon James email@example.com
Subject: Is road rage real?
Mr. D, thank you for mailing me the copy of an article by
Washington Post writers Patricia Davis and Leef Smith titled "A Crisis That May Not
Exist Is All the Rage" (November 27, 1998). I will be happy to comment on it, and
it's very thoughtful of you to send it. I agree with the basic history line the article
depicts, but I do not agree with the conclusion that road rage may not be real.
The Washington Post article is posted here:
The main problem with the article is that it doesn't make the connection between road
rage and aggressive driving. Let me look at the issue from both their and my perspective.
From their perspective, if you are focusing EXCLUSIVELY on road rage batteries and
shootings, though these violent acts have been on the increase (12% per year -- but
estimates are disputed), nevertheless the absolute number of such events, or about 1,200
annually throughout the nation, is miniscule compared to the number of drivers on the road
every day (125 million). It is extremely small even when compared to the number of
injuries per year (about 4 million), and small compared to the number of fatalities per
year (around 40,000). From this perspective, and looking only at the 1,200 road rage
shootings and batteries, there is no "epidemic" and there is no big change from
before. That's the point of the article, as I read it.
From my perspective, this view is less informative and real when considering that what
people have been complaining about (over 50% of the drivers surveyed) is not violent road
rage shootings and batteries. Instead, people have been complaining about aggressive
driving habits of drivers in congested traffic environments. My road rage survey on the
Web indicates high percentages of drivers admitting to forms of behavior that are both
illegal and intimidating and dangerous to others: running red lights, tailgating, cutting
off, yelling and making obscene gestures, and generally not cooperating with one another
and not feeling any compassion for one another. This is the problem of aggressive driving
and this has gotten worse, as shown by many surveys, and many different types of surveys,
as well as by law enforcement records around the country.
Is road rage an overused term? I don't think so, though some people do. I think road
rage is fine because it accurately expresses how drivers feel. Their emotions are angry,
hostile, intense, impulsive, and irrational. This is common for drivers of our generation,
and we are breeding the next generation of aggressive drivers right now, as our children
riding with us, observe us and imbibe our attitude behind the wheel. When they get to sit
behind the wheel, they will just start where their parents left off. Aggressive driving
laws have been passed and more are being introduced every month somewhere, which include
definitions of aggressive driving. One Bill now in the Washington State Senate provides
jail term and fines for "the aggressive driving crime," defined as three
infractions within 5 miles, as observed by a police officer.
In my view, law enforcement is necessary and useful, but not sufficient to take care of
the aggressive driving problem. In my expert testimony to Congress in July 1997, I
proposed a socio-cultural solution under the title Lifelong Driver Education. Since in
real life driver education starts when we are infants being driven around, it's important
to teach affective skills to children early:: what highway attitudes they should have, how
to behave on streets and parking lots so we don't infringe upon the rights of others, and
how to be good passengers when being driven around. Then in intermediate school, they can
move on to cognitive issues of driving: judgment, map reading, predictability, signs, lane
switching, communication among drivers, yielding, and so on. Finally, in high school, they
get hands on sensorimotor training on maneuvering a vehicle safely. After getting the
graduated license, all drivers can join small groups called QDCs or Quality Driving
Circles in which they encourage and supervise each other's driving personality makeovers
and lifelong self-improvement activities for drivers. A more detailed plan of the Lifelong
Driver Education program I propose, and a description of its content, is given in the
article available here.
Those who don't wish to join such groups (either neighborhood based, or workplace
related, or private, etc.) may do the activities on their own, or through other techniques
such as Partnership Driving and Children Against Road Rage and Youth Against Road Rage
organizations. QDCs for older drivers would focus on their problems, and so on. QDCs will
also teach drivers how to acquire new skills needed as more and more gadgets are
introduced in the car as part of normal driving: car phones, GPS displays, voice e-mail,
office dictation, and other gadgets and tasks drivers are going to be involved in the new
century ahead. QDCs are excellent vehicles for such new self-training activities.
Along with Lifelong driver education and QDCs, we also need to focus on media
portrayals of driving. One proposal is to develop DBB ratings (Drivers Behaving Badly) to
focus people's attention on this potential source of aggressive norms where violence and
recklessness are condoned, even minimized as to risk and morality.
So, I think we need to recognize driving as a major social problem of our generation.
Only a socio-cultural and generational society-wide attack on the problem can solve it.
What a challenge! But I think that the solution will be beneficial to our society as a
whole, since it will make us into a more compassionate, less violent society.
Other Articles by Dr. Leon