Testing your driving psychology
I get asked driving questions regularly. It almost seems, to many people I come across, that I’ve been regarded as a driving therapist. I’m good with that. I realize that many people who ask me questions want to improve their driving knowledge, confirm their knowledge or find out if they’ve been doing the proper thing all these many years of their driving life. Now I think it’s time to turn the tables. It’s my turn to ask questions. Are you ready? Here we go!
What type of driver will get into most collisions? A) collision-prone drivers B) average drivers C) professional drivers or D) repeat offenders
Would you be surprised if I said average drivers? Here’s why. Most drivers are average. Yup, it’s true. They often do things well, but will make mistakes. Many times when they make a mistake it happens when other vehicles are not near them. For example, when a driver is not paying attention to a red light or stop sign and they go through the intersection without stopping. At that particular time there wasn’t another vehicle going through the intersection so a collision didn’t happen. However, when they do make another error at some point, they do it near someone else and a collision happens.
Let’s try another question. Why do average drivers get into most collisions? Is it because A) poor skill B) poor seeing habits C) not knowing the rules of the road D) poor driving attitude.
I know this could be a tough question. It could seem like they could all apply. In most cases it’s because of B) poor seeing habits. One of the first things someone says after being involved in a collision is “I didn’t see you”. Drivers who crash while going through a stop sign or red light aren’t always going through on purpose. They failed to see the sign or light. They fail to see other vehicles.
Feeling good so far? Here’s the next question. A true test of a good driver is to drive without what happening to them? A) a collision B) being stopped for a driving violation C) needing a violent swerve or emergency stop to escape a collision.
Have you thought about it long enough? The correct answer is C. If the driver tends to brake hard for brake lights or other vehicles, there’s a good chance they missed seeing them early enough. The same can be said for a quick swerve. Good seeing habits means you’ll be able to notice other vehicles and the traffic environment in time to respond early. Keeping space will also mean you’ll have room to respond safely.
Here’s question four. What’s the most important physical function in driving? A) your hands B) your feet C) your eyes D) your voice.
You may get this one. It’s C) your eyes. Your eyes send a message to your brain which, in turn will send a message to the appropriate appendage you need to use to control the situation. For example, when your eyes notice the traffic lights have changed, your eyes tell your brain and your brain tells your foot to go for the brake.
Let’s try one more question for you. What’s the best way to deal with the aggressive drive? A) let them pass B) pull in front of them to slow them down C) speed up to stay ahead of them D) flash your brake lights when they are behind you.
Are you thinking what you may have done in your driving past? The correct answer is A) let them pass. Do whatever it takes to remove the aggressive driver from being close to you. If they tailgate you and you brake even remotely hard, there would be a collision. If your actions create an angry driver, road rage may also happen.
There is a psychology to driving safely. It’s not just about following the rules of the road. It’s about using as many skills as necessary to reduce risks and allow you to reach your destination as safely as possible.