The ability to group and separate things easily is a very basic human tendency. We are psychologically hardwired, constantly differentiating and grouping everything – people, habits, situations, outcomes.Psychology categorizes and groups people based on their traits into personalities. A combination of a lot of our smaller traits becomes our personality type and often there are some bits which are more prominent than the other, and are responsible for adding an extra dimension to the personality. A categorization and personality theory popularly accepted is the Big Five Factor theory which talks about human personality being made up of five dimensions: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.
Not surprisingly, it isn’t difficult to see how traits associated with these dimensions & traits are conspicuous when a person is on the road – behind the wheel or otherwise. For instance, people high on Openness are more curious and tend to be risky on the road while those high on Conscientiousness will exhibit more adherence to rules. Risk taking and showing off will be more obvious in drivers with high Extraversion while Agreeableness denotes the likelihood that the driver will be compassionate and co-operative with fellow drivers on the road. The last but probably the most relevant to driving is Neuroticism, the neuroticism scale covers ranges from apprehension-where drivers in the category are less likely to display anger and emotional sensitivity – to security, where drivers will be displaying positivity and confidence.
Not limited to this research has also looked at many other ways of classifying and coming up with Types of Drivers on the road. A particular survey on European drivers, conducted by LSE and Goodyear, found seven identifiable profiles. And while the study consisted primarily of just European drivers, the situations will seem familiar to drivers from other regions too. Here’s what they have:
- The Teacher. This is the driver who feels the need to ensure others know what they have done wrong – and expects to be acknowledged for their efforts.
- The Know-it-all. They think that they’re surrounded by incompetent fools, so shout condescendingly at other drivers while safely cocooned in their own car. No getting down for this one, just roll down the window and let your voice (and air) out.
- The Competitor. They need to get ahead of other road users and become annoyed when someone gets in their way. They often accelerate when someone tries to overtake them or close a gap to prevent anyone from getting in front of them. Also often termed by fellow drivers as a wannabe F1 racer.
- The Punisher. These motorists want to punish other drivers for any perceived transgressions – and sometimes even get out of their car or approach other drivers to remonstrate with them. (Probably the most common type found on Delhi roads).
- The Philosopher. They accept the actions of other drivers easily and try to rationally explain them away. They also manage to control their feelings in the car. I have to admit they sound like the Zen drivers (pun intended).
- The Avoider. They consider the misbehaviour of other drivers impersonally and merely dismiss them as a hazard.
- The Escapee. They listen to music or talk on the phone to insulate themselves, distracting themselves so that they don’t have to relate to other road users. This strategy also helps avoid getting frustrated in the first place. Guess who views traffic as catch up time or have normal blood pressures? Them.
This categorisation of people based on their driving styles actually goes on to show how stress leads to errors in judgements on the road and how we ourselves, often become the people we hate on the road. Important to note that we might not always belong to one profile and switch between different profile based on different situations. Each of these profiles represents a different outlet for us to express the frustration and stress we experience on the road.
Knowledge and awareness of our own driving profile or style can probably help us to remember that we too, are sharing the road with others and our safety is as much our responsibility as theirs.
Want to know what your driving personality is or if after reading the above ones you feel you fit in one and want to check, go ahead and take this test http://www.playbuzz.com/goodyear10/which-driving-personality-are-you. Keen for a deeper, more expanded understanding of the connection between your personality and driving styles – head over to this test https://www.psychologytoday.com/tests/personality/driving-personality-test which covers attitudes and situational questions. We personally recommend it for the thorough way in which it explains your score and gives you an option to buy your full analysis. There are also some fun tests that just have a few questions and operate more on popular psychology to explain your personality through your driving style, give it a shot at https://www.littlethings.com/driving-style-personality-quiz/. and get to know your driving personality.
So what sort of a personality are you?