Researchers from Goodyear and the London School of Economics have identified seven distinct ways drivers react to the daily stress of navigating the road. Though the study only looked at European drivers, the various reactions may feel familiar to American drivers. To learn where your driving style fits in the group, take a quiz inspired by the study here.
The Seven Types of Stressed Drivers
Driving can be stressful, and personality may influence the way people react to stress, including the stress they experience on the road. To explore how drivers manage this stress, researchers are interviewing more than 8,000 drivers across 15 European countries in an ongoing survey. Drivers answered questions in focus groups and in-depth interviews about how they respond to other drivers, and seven distinct personalities emerged:
- Teachers want to point out to other drivers what they have done wrong and expect recognition of their teaching efforts.
- Know-it-alls believe they are surrounded by incompetent motorists and may shout at other drivers, emboldened by the protection their own cars offer.
- Competitors want to get ahead of other drivers, eagerly accelerating to close gaps and cut in line. They may take risks to prevent other drivers from getting in front of them.
- Punishers want retribution for other drivers’ “bad” behavior and may get out of their cars to approach other drivers.
- Philosophers try to rationally explain the bad driving they experience on the road. They effectively control their emotions behind the wheel of the car.
- Avoiders adopt an impersonal approach, dismissing bad drivers as a hazard.
- Escapees seek escape from the stress of driving by talking on the phone or listening to music. This may enable them to avoid relating to other drivers, but also helps them avoid the frustrations many other drivers experience.
Driving Personality and Danger on the Road
Texas A&M’s 2015 mobility study predicts the average delay time per commuter in a year will grow from 42 hours to 47 hours by 2020. In 2013, there were 30,057 fatal car crashes in the United States, resulting in 32,719 deaths.
- General statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/fatalityfacts/state-by-state-overview
- Multiple driving personalities clash on Europe’s roads [PDF]. (2015, August 13). Brussels: The London School of Economics and Political Science.
- Traffic Gridlock Sets New Records for Traveler Misery. (2015, August 26). Retrieved from http://mobility.tamu.edu/ums/media-information/press-release/
- You auto know: Which driving personality are you? (2015, September 7). Retrieved from http://www.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/news/archives/2015/09/YouAutoKnowWhichDrivingPersonalityAreYou.aspx
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