This survey is designed to assess many important affective and cognitive behaviors of drivers. The sub-parts include the following driver personality traits:
Driving with emotional intelligence means having a positive profile on these driver personality components. Drivers are assessed by Distance from a Desirable Driver Profile. This distance may be computed as a Geometric Mean (=sum of squares of differences for each item divided by the number of items, then square rooted). Drivers can rank order themselves on the basis of this Distance Scorestarting with small scores as the best (closest to Desirable Driver Profile) and large scores as the worst (further away from Desirable Driver Profile).
The Desirable Driver Profile, or DDP, is theoretically specifiable but this may not be enough. Further, different ethnic or cultural contexts may require different theoretical predictions. It is necessary therefore to empirically discover what the Desirable Driver Profile is for a specific population and context.
Prior attempts to find a relation between personality traits and accident proneness led to the conclusion that one cannot find correlations higher than .3, which gives a predictive power of less than 10% better than chance (50%). This result has discouraged further research in this area. We take the position that the research community needs to go further with it, not abandon it.
In the ensuing weeks and months, we shall publish here the results of how the items are being filled and how different profiles are related to gender, age, experience, work, and type of car. Check back in a couple of weeks.
AB: Attribution bias in driving exchanges
It's normal to try to figure things out when something happens: what's going on, who is doing it, why, and so on. Typically we assess incoming information and come to a logical conclusion. When it comes to driving, our research has revealed that drivers often ignore telling information and come to an illogical conclusion, or an unfounded one. The following items describe some typical driving situations that all drivers could be exposed to. They ought to be able to agree or disagree with conclusions based on those facts. That's what the percentages represent: how many people or what proportion of respondents picked to agree or disagree. The blue answer is always better than the red answer. By looking at these percentages we can find out how drivers reason about normal situations they may encounter. Consider these items and the results.
|You're driving in the left
lane in heavy traffic and you're trying to switch to the right lane so you can make a
right turn at the next intersection. The driver in the car next to you sees your signal and closes the gap, preventing you from entering the lane. You miss your turn as a
result. What do you think probably happened?
1) The driver is an idiot and wants you to miss your turn.
Yes, I agree with this 46% AB1 No, I do not agree 54% AB1
2) The driver was not being alert and closed the gap by habit, not even realizing it.
Yes, I agree with this 50% AB2 No, I do not agree 50% AB2
3) The driver is power hungry and enjoys denying what you want.
Yes, I agree with this 57% AB3 No, I do not agree 43% AB3
4) The driver needs better training to avoid such errors.
Yes, I agree with this 84% AB4 No, I do not agree 16% AB4
The vast majority of drivers agree that one is not supposed to close the gap and deny entry to another car, and a driver who does that "needs better training to avoid such errors" (item 4) and learn to become "more alert" or cooperative (item 2). About half of the respondents agree with the idea that making such an error turns you into 'a power hungry idiot who enjoys offending others' (items 1 and 3). What conclusions can we draw from this pattern?
If half of the drivers on the road think that the other half are power hungry idiots who enjoy annoying you, then we have a serious problem on our highways. Note that a majority of people disagree with the explanation that the driver who closes the gap does it "by habit, not even realizing it" (item 2). And yet this is answer is more actually more likely, as you yourself can know by observing your own driving more closely. You will find that it's a common thing to do--unconsciously closing the gap when you notice a car wanting to switch to your lane ahead of you. When we asked people to tell us in their own words what they thought of other drivers and the way they drive, we received confirmation of this cynicism. Here are some samples quotations: Listen America, your drivers speak, think, and feel this about one another:
These are just a sample from our collection of how drivers discuss each other. According to the driver personality survey, half of the drivers see nothing wrong with this type of cynicism, while the other half do.
Here are some more results:
|Updated December 2000 The count=1008 respondents.
TEST YOURSELF: ARE YOU AN AUTOMOTIVE VIGILANTE?Dr. Leon James, Prof. of Psychology and
Dr. Diane Nahl, Assoc. Prof. of Information Science
University of Hawaii
1.1. Getting out of a tailgater's way only encourages that behavior.
Yes 42% No 58%
1.2. Bowing down to tailgaters will turn driving into a free for all
Yes 34% No 66%
1.3. You need to retaliate against aggressive drivers in order to maintain law and order on highways
Yes 23% No 77%
1.4. It's justified to resist bad drivers by scaring them a little so they don't think others are unaware or powerless
Yes 28% No 72%
1.5. It's important to prevent aggressive drivers from pushing you and other drivers around, by blocking their way, or giving them a scare
Yes 29% No 71%
1.6. If you see a driver making what you think is a stupid, dangerous mistake, it's your right and duty to teach that driver a lesson
Yes 14% No 86%
1.7. One driver said: "Im neither violent nor aggressive, but when some selfish driver endangers my life and cares little about it, I can get pretty mad at that person."
Yes 86% No 14%
1.8. One driver said: "Everybody has violent feelings at times, due to their frustration and stress inside. Its inevitable that these emotions must come out while you drive. Its just human nature."
Yes 40% No 60%
1.9. One driver said: "When another driver acts selfishly and puts my life in danger, I feel better when I get angry than when I just sit there taking it passively."
Yes 45% No 55%
1.10. Drivers who weave between lanes and know how to get somewhere fast, may be called aggressive drivers, but they are not the cause of accidents. Accidents are caused by unskilled drivers who make mistakes and don't know how to dodge oncoming cars.
Yes 23% No 77%
1.11. One driver said: "The situation on the road is so competitive and aggressive, that sometimes I think of some bad things I can do to some of the idiot drivers that endanger everybody's lives by being too aggressive. Of course I don't do anything about it. It's just a harmless little fantasy."
Yes 46% No 54%
1.12. One driver said: "Some drivers are so foolish and selfish that they need to be taught a lesson by vigilante drivers who look out for the public good by punishing these selfish drivers. After all, we must not let them get away with that kind of stupid driving. We should all be thankful to these vigilante drivers."
Yes 18% No 82%
1.13. There are too many road regulations and speed limits. Driving should be left to drivers to battle it out with each other, and let the best win, and the worst lose.
Yes 12% No 88%
1.14. What are some things that really get you angry when other drivers do them, so angry that you think you should let them know how you feel.
Yes 52% No 48%
1.15. What are some things that really get you angry when other drivers do them, so angry that you think you should let them know how you feel.
Cutting in front me, then slowing down.
Yes 65% No 35%
1.16. What are some things that really get you angry when other drivers do them, so angry that you think you should let them know how you feel.
Dangerously weaving through traffic.
Yes 36% No 64%
1.17. What are some things that really get you angry when other drivers do them, so angry that you think you should let them know how you feel.
Deliberately not making space for me when they see I need it.
Yes 56% No 44%
1.18. What are some things that really get you angry when other drivers do them, so angry that you think you should let them know how you feel. Taking away my parking space even though I saw it first.
Yes 39% No 61%
1.19. What are some things that really get you angry when other drivers do them, so angry that you think you should let them know how you feel.
Going too slow for no reason and blocking my way so I cant pass. YesNo
Yes 60% No 40%
1.20. Aggressive driving cannot be cured. Its part of human nature in a competitive and dangerous situation. We need teach drivers how to be aggressive and safe at the same time."
Yes 37% No 63%
1.21. Driver A tailgates driver B in the passing lane. Driver B notices it but takes a long time to switch over to the right lane. Driver A gets angry and in order to retaliate, he cuts into the right lane just ahead of driver B. Driver B has to slam on the brakes. Driver A was justified in tailgating driver B because driver B was blocking the passing lane and taking too long to switch over to the right lane.
Yes 21% No 79%
1.22. Driver A tailgates driver B in the passing lane. Driver B notices it but takes a long time to switch over to the right lane. Driver A gets angry and in order to retaliate, he cuts into the right lane just ahead of driver B. Driver B has to slam on the brakes.
Driver A was justified in expressing his anger when driver B was blocking his way in the passing lane.
Yes 28% No 82%
1.23. Driver A tailgates driver B in the passing lane. Driver B notices it but takes a long time to switch over to the right lane. Driver A gets angry and in order to retaliate, he cuts into the right lane just ahead of driver B. Driver B has to slam on the brakes.
Driver A was justified in cutting off driver B to let him know that he should not block the passing lane.
Yes 17% No 83%
1.24. One driver said: "When another driver directly insults me in front of others, by yelling at me and making an obscene gesture, I feel deeply violated."
Yes 51% No 49%
1.25. One driver said: "I'm always trying to be courteous except when the other drivers are not courteous to me."
Yes 62% No 38%
1.26. I would use tailgating only as a last resort, when a stubborn or selfish driver simply refuses to let me pass when Im in a hurry and cant afford to lose more time.
Yes 41% No 59%
The following selection of letters gives you a fuller context of how drivers talk about one another. Are you one of them? Perhaps we all need to become more aware of our oppositional mental state behind the wheel. One nice surprise is that even though it feels like a hardship to give up one's automotive cynicism, this sense of hardship is only an appearance. It feels like you're giving up something by not retaliating. There is a certain social pressure to express your righteous indignation to make sure they're not taking advantage of you, or even worse, they don't make you look like a wimp. But these are symbolic events. You don't actually become a wimp and a loser when you choose not to retaliate. Neither is it the case that you're putting yourself in greater danger by allowing this other driver to get away with it. The fact is that you have no control over the mental states of other drivers. Using an oppositional or confrontational approach actually reduces your influence over the situation since you don't know how the other driver is going to respond. You're actually giving up control when you retaliate. In the letters that follow, the writers call the other drivers jerks, idiots, numbskulls, morons, boneheads, and so on. Why do they call them names? Because it's the first step to retaliation.
Here is a detailed explanation and disagreement sent in by a correspondent:
|Date: Mon, 1 May 2000
misunderstanding of the issues and premises never cease to
These aggressive laws are about jobs and dollars.. nothing more. I'll comment on each question:
A significant number (majority) of traffic light are not timed in
accordance with MUTCD guidelines or on the basis of engineering that have
determined the prevailing speed of traffic being regulated.
(equivalent of speed traps)
b) Many red light camera are placed at intersections with low accident
rates, but high volumes and/or other traffic sites with design flaws
where the cameras record significant violations yet have no effect on
accident rates. The cities profit from there in action.
c) AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, the latest AAA study out of Minnesota and a
like one out of England shows that doing an engineering review of an
intersection and bringing the devices up to standards and specifications
(MUTCD) (timing) resulted in accident reductions of up to 50%.
d) Excerpts of another report
"So far I have measured 13 intersections. I take at least 20
readings of amber time at each signal. I measure the
clearance distance also. Where appropriate I measure the
uphill or downhill grade as the case requires. All the data
is then statistically analyzed and calculations specific to
the intersection are made.
Out of the 13 intersections I have measured and analyzed so
far, five (or 38.5%) failed to provide the minimum amber
needed to make a so called safe stop. All 13 (or 100%) failed
to provide the minimum amber time required for a vehicle to
make safe passage and clearance of the intersection, which
happens to be a CODE OF VIRGINIA requirement. "
These citations are always grouped with speeding as a primary component
of aggressive drive laws. Before you jump on this band wagon go look at
the actual data. Here in Nevada, even with urban cities like Las Vegas
and Reno, out of 70,000 accidents last year there were only 5 were caused
by changing lanes without signaling in total, with another 8 as
contributing cause. ZERO on the interstate/open highway with free flowing
traffic, yet it was the most popular secondary citation written here by
the NHP on these classifications of highways.
aggressive driving type of offenses. Normal citation should suffice.
See the study I conducted in Montana. Speed enforcement, as practiced,
has not shown to have any effect on vehicle speeds or accident rates.
Most enforcement occurs when traffic is light, lowest accident frequency
sections of highway, during the times of day when accidents are least
likely to occur, targeting the safest vehicles in the bell curve on roads
that have the limits set well bellow the finding of the engineering
The charts speak for themselves without my commentary. The changes or
fluctuations in the fatality rate had nothing to do speed limit changes.
However, it is interesting to note they recorded there lowest rates ever
when there were no limits whatsoever.
http://nj.npri.org/nj99/03/fedagency.htm <---- this is a sad truth
<---- this is a parody
This type of behavior is unacceptable at all times. Interesting to note
that the Governor of MN vetoed a "slower traffic keep" right bill
primarily at the request of the state patrol - what's up with that. Here
in Nevada I wrote a bill that was signed into law that says you even if
you are exceeding limit , yet impeding traffic, you can be cited.
The number one cause of lose of license is not having the money to pay
for traffic fine. Primary Victims.. those that don't have money and work
from pay check to pay check.
AGGRESSIVE DRIVING??? There are sufficient laws on the books for this
In bridge (transit) states like Nevada the Fed highway monies are not
enough to repair and replace the highways, and there is no funding
available to operate rest stops. Well in excess of 70% the open highway
accidents are single vehicle events. Yet rest areas are virtually
non-existent. NONE on the high accident 15 corridor between Vegas and the
California line... and Casinos do not qualify as rest areas.
Despite all the hype, accidents caused by technology are low and the
benefits from cell phones has been enormous. when accidents do occur,
before the vehicles come to a stopp the 911 centers receive multiple
calls and live reports on the severity and nature of the event.
Furthermore, the idiotic recommendation to pull over to shoulder and stop
to talk is the most dangerous act a motorists can perform. The act of
leaving and entering the stream and dramatic speed differentials creates
an extreme hazard and is never a good idea unless you leave the roadway
at an off ramp.
Technology is here and there is no turning it back... This week the
President lifted the military scrambling of the GPS signals to enhance
transportation electronic device applications and navigation.
As with driving, flying or any other endeavor we will as species adapt.
And our survival and lower accident rates says we aren't doing to bad a
What does this have to do with aggressive driving???
What does this have to do with aggressive driving???
Rare occurrence.. and if vehicles are stopped what does this have to do
with aggressive driving???
What does this have to do with aggressive driving???
6,000 cars an hour traveling at speeds up to and excess of 80 mph are
daily routine on most urban interstates... at less than 1 second
intervals.. What does this have to do with aggressive driving??? I have
the actual Caltrans reports if you would like to see them.
Already against the law in most states... virtually never enforced.
Already against the law in most states... virtually never enforced.
Freedom of speech... seems to come to mind even if offensive.
Freedom of speech... seems to come to mind even if offensive.
Most stop signs have been placed contrary to the MUTCD (no supporting
justification) many could be replaced with yield signs or removed all
together. When rational motorists determine that there is no safety
hazard... they will proceed with caution without coming to a complete
stop. This is why the yield signs in are recommended instead of stop
signs. Save the stop signs for true hazards.
There are many many areas where accident rates could be reduced, the
solutions are not to found in aggressive driving laws, particularly as
they are being enforced. Worse yet, NHTSA has been holding back studies
and field reports from publication that are contrary to their stated
objectives... anyone one can claim success when they withhold
piublication of the projects that failed, alter data and quote out of
Results from a NHTSA study: According to a random national sample of drivers surveyed by telephone in 1998:
"Drivers who felt it was more dangerous to drive now compared to a year ago were asked to elaborate. One driver in five (20%) specifically mentioned careless or inattentive drivers. This was followed by faster drivers or speeders (18%); aggressive, reckless and risky driving (14%); young drivers coming of age (10%); and drivers on alcohol or drugs (10%)."
The above shows that 30% of the nation, or 54 million drivers, thought there was an increase in aggressive driving from 1997 to 1998. Twice as many drivers thought it remained the same.
"Almost two drivers in five (38%) in Region VIII (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming) felt drivers in their area were driving either a lot more aggressively (16%) or somewhat more aggressively (22%) than they were a year ago. One-third (34%) of the drivers in Region X (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington) also felt drivers in their area were more aggressive. Conversely, drivers in Region VII (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska) were the least willing to say drivers in their area were driving either a lot more aggressively (10%) or somewhat more aggressively (14%) than they were last year."
|From EA@Bell.com Wed Mar 4 19:19:01
Date: Wed, 4 Mar 1998 16:36:46 -1000
To: "'email@example.com'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Road Rage
I am by no means a perfect driver, but I do try to be as
|Date: Sun, 20 Oct 1996 07:06:10 -1000
From: "Dr. Edward Jakobovits, Ph.D.
Reminds me of a little skit by George Carlin, the comedian:
I always felt this was a good description of the situation.
|Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998
Subject: My Husband's Road Rage
He doesn't think he was doing anything wrong, just "showing him that he was being a jerk." I said, fine, if you want to do that while you're in the car alone, but not with the rest of the family. We had a 5-year-old and an infant in the back seat. We got into a huge argument over this. I said he didn't know whether flashing his brights at the guy would cause the guy to become angry and start a "road war." My husband said I was being paranoid and he wasn't going to be scared to show his opinion to others just because it might make someone mad. I think, that as a father, he needed to keep the safety of his wife and children in mind, as well as others on the road, and just let the other guy be a jerk. Am I wrong?.
|From email@example.com Tue May 5
Date: Tue, 5 May 1998 15:15:34 -1000
From: Joe Casey firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Your site
|From Chicago@msv.com Fri May 29
Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 14:11:42 -1000
Subject: Re: Aggressive Drivers
Dear Dr. Driving:
|From: "SD" email@example.com Mon Jun 8 11:10:54 1998
Date: Mon, 8 Jun 1998 03:26:59 -1000
To: Leon James <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: teaching kids road rage
Thanks for your reply. I like your comments about teaching kids when they are youngsters. I started thinking about my driving habits and how I call people "jerks" and I would never do that at home.
Mon Jun 8 14:00:27 1998
Date: Mon, 8 Jun 1998 12:44:39 -1000
Subject: Road Rage
It is not the fact that the idiots do these things, it's the fact that NOTHING IS DONE about it. Here in London, there is now an Accident Reporting Center, where one takes one car if it has been involved in an accident. Police are only called for damage over $700 or if there are injuries. If neither exists, police are not called, and both parties report to the center to have the damages assessed and reported for our no-fault insurance program. Doesn't matter if the other guy blew a stop sign and t-boned your car, police are not called, no tickets are given, and no-fault pays for everything. The laws of the land are not being enforced, and those who do make a policy of obeying the law are put in the position of being fools for doing so. Meanwhile the idiot lawbreakers go merrily on their way, oblivious to their stupidity and carelessness. And the rest of us fume......
Drivers and Road Rage
From: "GT" Date: 1997/08/25
Well I have got to put in my two cents worth. I am 45 and feel that I have had ample driving experience with numerous muscle cars and sports cars. Not perfect, do make a mistake now and then, but pretty damn capable. Yes, I am aggressive if that means that I drive a little faster than posted and get irritated over idiots.
There is nothing more irritating than people who are totally inconsiderate. Like the idiot that is merging onto a highway and expects you to move and let him on. Why should I have to adjust for him?
Or the numbnuts that sit through a light. And of course the fool in the left lane going below the speed limit when there is plenty of room in one of the other lanes. Oh WAIT, the one who changes lanes right in front of you or cuts in front of you and then slows down!!!! In my city of Arlington, TX the city council has decided that people like myself who exhibit aggressive driving and road rage are the problem and are taking action against us. Typical liberal thinking, "the poor idiot drivers can't help themselves so we the government must".
Unfortunately the real reason is that there are so many more stupid, inconsiderate, and inattentive people on the road than there are of us that it is easier to attack and penalize the competent. (again liberalism). Thanks for letting me take up your bandwidth and vent.
Which received this answer:
Well Greg, I can sympathize with ya. But one thing is for certain, there will always be more "numbnuts" out there driving than "non-numbnuts" like you and me (the population is growing exponentially), so for your blood pressures sake, get used to it. And since I'm approaching your age I too have a bit of driving experience. I've noticed that when I get pissed at another driver's actions and I let it get to me, I start driving like a jerk, and then I just piss off other drivers, on and on it goes until we all pull off the road and forget what hell even happened to get so pissed... We all have little to no control over what other people do, the only control we have is for our own emotions and actions. The nice thing about having a muscle car is that if I feel like cruising slow, I will, and the hustle and bustle can just go on by. But if someone tailgates me, acts weird, or whatever I just drop the hammer, boom!, I'm outa there. 999 times out of a 1000 they can't keep up with me.
The letters reveal the pattern of thinking of drivers about each other. About half of the population thinks with a negative or oppositional attribution bias, which means that they choose a personally derogatory explanation of another driver's actions when these actions are perceived as threatening. Let's look at the differences between these two types of mental states: one negative and oppositional, the other positive and cooperative. The negative oppositional mode of thinking and emoting is the normal (culturally sanctioned) starting point for a driver's career.
|DRIVING WITH EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE|
Emotionally Intelligent Remedies
Obsessing about slow traffic
|"At this rate well never get there" , "I feel like Im going backwards" , "Now Im stuck behind this slow driver" etc.||Leave earlier; Give up getting there on time; Distract yourself with radio or music; Admire the scenery; Practice yoga breathing|
Feeling combative with self-righteous indignation
|"This jerk 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.||Make funny 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
|"Darn, 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.||Tell yourself 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|
|"Look at 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"||Tell yourself 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.|
Read down the Symptoms column and try to identify the attribution bias. For example in behavior area 4, Being Over-critical, a person might say or think:, Look at that idiot who forgets to turn off his signal. This is not an objective statement. It has two parts. He forgot to turn off the signal, is objective. He is an idiot, is subjective. It is not an explanation but a put down. Its purpose is to insult or punish as a way of retaliation. Similarly with the other statements. Go over each and try to isolate the objective part and the subjective part.
Consider the examples in behavior area 2, Righteous Indignation. Why does a person say, Nobody gives me the finger and gets away with it. The individual feels insulted and wants to retaliate. The justification for the planned punishment is that you need to protect your self-worth which was attacked when the other driver insulted you. This way of thinking is symbolic and subjective, not real or actual. If you ignore the insult, it doesn't mean the other is getting away with it. It only means that you choose to not to respond in kind.
Now let's look at some other symptoms of confrontational thinking behind the wheel. Here are the results for remaining three items for attribution bias:
|5) One driver said:
"If a driver behind me blows his horn and there is no one else around, its
obvious hes blowing his horn at me. Why else would he be honking?"
Yes, I agree with this 48% AB5 No, I do not agree 52% AB5
6) One driver said: "A lot of drivers can see that Im in a hurry. So what do they do? They intentionally try to slow me down or block my way. Thats how they get their kicks."
Yes, I agree with this 22% AB6 No, I do not agree 78% AB6
7) If two drivers start yelling at each other, then one of them gets out of the car and starts a fist fight with other, the driver who got out of the car and started the fist fight is solely responsible. The driver who just yelled and didnt want to get into a fight, is not responsible.
Yes, I agree with this 17% AB7 No, I do not agree 83% AB5
Let's look at number 7. It's evident that the vast majority of drivers can figure out that if you get into a fight you share the blame no matter who started it, as long as it's clear that you had a choice to stay out of it. People understand that if you yell at someone, a fight can start. So it doesn't matter if later you claim you didn't mean to start a fight. Note that 17% still don't understand this--that's 1 in every 6 drivers! They need more training in how to think appropriately about driving situations.
Item 6 is a kind of paranoia to which drivers are vulnerable since driving situations are often unclear. It's possible that a driver might intentionally slow you down and get a kick out of it, but the fact that we think this way every time, or most of the time, is a sure indicator that it is paranoia, not reality. Ask yourself whether you get your kicks by intentionally slowing others down. It's always the other driver who tries to do you in. That's not reality. But I assuming that mental state, it becomes a false reality, that is, a delusion.
Item 5 splits the population down the middle. The logic of the situation is that you don't really know why a driver does something. Keep track of how many times you think a driver is going to do one thing, then does another. It happens often. So the fact is, we're not very good at explaining why a driver has honked (maybe the hand slipped, maybe they saw someone and are trying to catch their attention, maybe they're fooling around with each other inside the car, maybe the horn has a short, etc.).
Type of Driver Intelligence
|Area of Driver Competence||
Caring about the...
of other drivers
of other drivers
toward other drivers
The above Table shows that drivers have three intelligences. First, affective intelligence is the ability to care about the feelings of other drivers and it is called automotive sympathy. It is grounded in one's morality and conscience. Second, cognitive intelligence is the ability to understand the rights and needs of other drivers and is called automotive empathy. Third, sensorimotor intelligence is the ability to act with civility, alertness, and caution towards other drivers and is called automotive excellence. It is grounded in one's sense of safety, happiness and community.
It is important to realize that affective intelligence dominates the other two. When we place ourselves in the mental state called automotive sympathy, we not only care about the feelings of other drivers, but we also understand them better. Affective intelligence, which is the ability to make yourself care, produces the cognitive intelligence called automotive empathy. This is the ability to understand the intentions and feelings of the other drivers. The reverse is also true. Choose to remain in an uncaring mental attitude, such as being cynical and thinking of other drivers as jerks, idiots, and morons, and you will deprive yourself of automotive empathy: the ability to understand the emotions and reactions of other drivers. So the two must go together, like a marriage.
Finally, when the automotive marriage of sympathy and empathy is consummated in the driver's mind, the consequences for the way we drive are truly remarkable. The result is driving with sensorimotor intelligence, which is automotive excellence: driving with safety, happiness, and community feelings. Choose to remain with a lack of caring for other drivers, and you will become vulnerable to all sorts of illusions and delusions about the other driver's intentions, needs, and rights. They will have little rights in your mind and their convenience and safety will take the backseat to your intentions, needs, and rights. The consequences to your driving will be a lack of automotive excellence. This is called aggressive driving and road rage.
So aggressive driving is a consequence of low sensorimotor intelligence (not being alert, taking dangerous risks, and ignoring civility). These bad driving behaviors are the result of false thinking: e.g., attribution bias ( as discussed above), and other delusions about what other drivers are doing (e.g., "cutting me off" instead of "needing to enter my lane"). Finally, these faulty thinking patterns are created to satisfy our automotive cynicism. In other words, if we're willing to enjoy calling a driver jerk and moron, we're conditioning ourselves to faulty thinking about those drivers. The result is aggressive driving. We have a moral choice to make. It starts with automotive sympathy, which is to make ourselves care about the other driver's convenience and feelings. That brings understanding and correct thinking about the driver's intentions and reactions. The two together bring about automotive excellence.
Driving psychology gives us the knowledge by which we can manage our driver personality as the task of driving is becoming increasingly complex making multiple demands on us--legal, economic, social, behavioral, and moral.
Other Survey Results: Aggressive Driving in Relation to Gender, Age, and Type of Car