What Is Your Driving Personality?

driving personality know-it-all

Do You Know Your Driving Personality?

Many of us are aware of the supposed four basic personality styles (Analytical, Driver, Amiable, Expressive), and some of us know about Briggs Myer’s 16 personality types. You may have even taken a personality test in school to figure out what category you “belong” too (if you didn’t and you want too, you can take a free test here). Schools and sometimes businesses have a student or an employee take such personality tests in order to help the person understand his or her strengths and weaknesses and how to acclimate those best in the classroom or workplace. These tests are not meant to label people so much as to help them understand their thinking processes so they can, in turn, learn how to improve themselves.

Now there is a personality test for drivers to help discover their knee-jerk reactions to the challenges encountered on the road. Psychologists at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) teamed up with Goodyear and discovered seven types of driving personalities: teacher, know-it-all, competitor, punisher, philosopher, avoider, and escapee.

As with the personality tests mentioned above, knowing how you process information as a driver can make you aware of your strengths and weaknesses which, in turn, can make you a safer driver.Remember, though, most people will have aspects of all seven types, and some may exhibit one dominant type but show traces of other in a low or high-stress situations. The following is a basic description of the seven types of drivers:

The Teacher

Teachers feel the need to, well, teach. They like educating their fellow drivers and then expect said drivers to thanks them for their efforts. Running across a teacher can prove irritating to some and tends to increase road rage.

The Know-it-all

These drivers (think they) know best and will happily scream at others drivers to let them know it. This can lead to aggressive driving and road rage.

The Competitor

These drivers will race you to a red light. Life is their race and they will keep you from switching lanes or hit the gas if you try to pass them. This can also lead to aggressive drivers and road rage.

The Punisher

As the name suggests, these drivers make it a goal of punishing drivers who misbehaved on the road. Some punishers will even chase you down to make sure you receive a proper chastising, which can turn into some dangerous driving.

The Philosopher

A more passive driving personality, philosophers remain calm and collected. Bad driving directed towards them is not taken personally and the driver views the road in a rational manner.

The Avoider

An avoider views other drivers as a hazard to be avoided. Foot hovering over the brake, these defensive drivers say neutral and on guard.

The Escapee

These drivers escape the road’s frustrations through distractions, like cranking up the music or chatting with a hands-free device. This can lead to distracted driving, which has consistently proved dangerous.

What Can We Learn From These Driving Personalities?

While the study focused on European drivers, drivers from all over the world can learn from this experiment. Leading researcher Dr. Chris Tennant said:

“While we may worry about others’ driving, this research suggests that their behavior also depends on what we do. We create the personalities that we don’t like. From a psychological point of view, these different types of personalities represent different outlets that drivers use to deal with their frustrations and strong feelings. We are not always entirely one or the other. Depending on the situation and the interaction with others, most of us will find several of these profiles emerge.”

While PR Manager for Goodyear, Kate Rock, believes:

“Understanding what type of behavior we exhibit and what situations provoke it is a first step for all of us to better control it, thereby creating a safer driving environment for ourselves and others on the road.”

Theories and Findings Regarding Driving Personalities

The results from the research suggests that teen drivers are a growing segment of know-it-alls; some even consider driver’s training pointless. Over 40% of young drivers involved in this research said they take risks while driving as well.

Interestingly, if slightly unrelated, is Dr. Richard Sherry’s “Road rage social media” theory that social networks create a more impersonal and un-empathetic society. Psychologists have even compared road-rage to “Twitter-rage”. The impersonal nature of social media stripes individuals of their humanity and allows users to attack more freely without feelings of guilt. Instead of considering the person behind the post, users judge and then punish the person without mercy. Now psychologists fear for society’s ability to feel empathy, which, consequently, increases aggressive driving. Everyone knows how dangerous texting and driving is, but the social medias themselves may present an equally large threat to society.

That doesn’t mean we should pull the plug, but you should remind yourself of the individual when road rage starts creeping up on you. If you’re stuck in a traffic jam, everyone in the cars around also has somewhere to be and hates being stuck. Consider it a plight shared instead of naming other drivers the enemy.

If you’re interested if discover what your driver personality type is, you can take the test here.

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