Psychology of Driving

What kind of driver are you?

You may think driving is a systematic task with little variation, but the truth is, our personality, life stresses, and various everyday factors tend to impact the way we behave on the road.  To put it shortly, driving is based purely on behaviour. Perception, cognition, emotion, and social acumen all affect how we process road signs, navigate while steering, and share the road with others.

The road can be a challenging and uncertain social environment, often with a few bumps along the way. To get where you want to be safely, it is important to reflect on yourself and your driving to determine the kind of driver you are on the road. You might not realize just how much of an impact your behaviour could have on pedestrians, other drivers and yourself.

We’ve come up with a list of five different types of drivers who tend to cause danger on the road, often without realizing it.  Which one(s) do you associate yourself with?

  • The nervous driver has their hands gripped tightly around the steering wheel; their knuckles turned white. This driver tends to be indecisive during critical moments, which includes when turning and when determining a speed to stick to. They ensure to keep their eyes straight ahead on the road and often drive under the speed limit, which can just as easily cause dangerous situations as a driver who speeds.

 

  • The “know-it-all” driver is always on the defensive, convinced other drivers are incompetent. This driver is often found shouting at other drivers from the safety of their vehicle. This kind of negative energy on the road can easily catch the people around them off guard, potentially causing them to also lose their focus on the road ahead.

 

  • The competitive driver is the one seen swerving around other vehicles, frequently changing lanes. This driving can be identified with actions like accelerating, honking horns and tailgating other drivers, which often pressures others to drive in a way they are uncomfortable with. In fact, aggressive drivers now face roadside vehicle impoundment, licence suspensions, and upon conviction a fine, up to $10,000 and a jail term of up to six months.

 

  • The distracted driver is seen fiddling with their radio, chatting on the phone, or texting. These drivers pose the greatest threat as they are the number one cause of driving collisions. This has become an extremely serious issue, with a staggering statistic of one person injured every half hour in Ontario due to a distracted-driving collision.

 

  • The road raging driver has violent behaviours that often causes accidents or incidents on the roadways. This driver takes out aggression on other drivers, and is often seen getting out of their vehicle to start confrontations. This type of driver is more common than you would think –  survey in 2015 concluded that one in three Canadians suffer from road rage at least once each month.

These driving profiles represent the various outlets drivers may use to deal with their own emotions, attitude towards driving, and their relations with surrounding drivers. Drivers don’t always fit into the mould of just one profile; different days could bring out different personas. Being conscious of your driving habits and making an effort to correct them can make the roads a safer place for all.