Driving style. Is it my personality or The Highway code

Read this and you will think again about your own driving habits and better understand when you notice some strange antics of others drivers. This could be another dimension to the highway code!

 

Drivers do not normally factor in their personality when they think of their attitude to driving. They most often refer to driving in the third party, “Too many hog the middle lane,” “Too many pointers”, “People just use the outside lane as a race track.”

But I purport that experience and skill are not the only factors which will determine your driving ability. I am a Head Hunter and Career Coach and from my research and experience of interviewing over 25,000 candidates have discovered 4 distinct personality types: The Influencer, Supporter, Analyst and Creative.

The Influencer is very aware of social status. If they can afford it they will buy a prestigious badge with all the ‘pigs and whistles’. They are showy and competitive and will rarely be seen on the inside lane keeping pace with the trucks. Tanking it in the outside lane and flashing the slowcoach in front is more their style. “Make way I’m coming through in my 3 litre, top of the range!” is their driving persona. Changing lane and constantly undertaking in queues is synonymous with their impatient personality. Mistakes are never their fault and they frequently use their lights and horn to chastise the other road ‘idiots’.

The Supporter is a people person, sensitive and caring. If driving alone they will enjoy using their hands-free mobile for social chat rather than business catch up. They are not speeders and will hold back to let drivers join their queue rather than the Influencer who will be sniffing closely at the bumper in front to give the message there is no room here or this is not your turn.

Supporters are moody drivers and if the social chat is the sudden conduit of bad or exciting news they will become distracted and their driving style will change. They will make a slow response at traffic lights and the news will be their dominant preoccupation not the driving conditions. They may be driving something a bit ” long in the tooth ” which they will have closely bonded with and given it a name like Susie. They are not bothered about all the dents and see them as adding character to dear Susie.

Supporters have a positive listening style and are receptive to learning from instructors. They are compliant with good road manners and have no truck with variable speed limits.

The Analyst is a conformist in terms of road signs. They are pragmatic and though they may not agree with the 40 mph sign on the traffic-free for miles dual carriageway they will philosophically comply. They will not react emotionally to the Influence’s flashing lights but will continue to overtake on the outside at their safe speed, pulling in when there is a sufficient gap to let ‘that lunatic’ through.

The Analyst is not into small talk and if they are using the hands-free it will be only in response to an important business call. They may call their wife or partner just to inform them as to their ETA but any conversational development such as ” whats for supper ” or “how are the children?” or “did you have a nice day” is more the domain of the Supporter.

The Creative is also a non-people person. Similar to the Analyst their thinking construct has predominantly an analytical or deductive focus. The Creative will buy the satnav which looks smart in terms of design as well as functionality. They may be driving a small, quirky, around town job which has a rather ostentatious shape and colour.

The Creative is not ego-driven and will drive in accordance with the rules of the road rather than the traffic flow. They are patient and not influenced by status. Similar to the Supporter they will establish a personal bond with their car and though it might be getting on for 15 years old they are happy to hang on to it as they feel safe in it and “it has never let me own”.  Unlike the Analyst who may change their car for a newer version as their scientific knowledge tells them that the’ big end’ or something else big is about to go.

The Influencer would not be ” seen dead ” in such an old crock and afford it or not they will grab one of those extravagant financial deals whereby you pay very little upfront and the future will look after itself.

The Creative will find the light flashing and horn blowing strange as they are driving roughly in compliance with the highway code which they learned years ago.

We might sum up the individual and dominant idiosyncrasies of the 4 Personality Types as:

Influencer:  car – big and flashy

style – I’m coming through!  Flash flash.

hands-free – I’m talking about me and you should listen.

Supporter:  car – long in the tooth. I’ll call it Susie.

style – patient, unselfish, goes with the flow.   Will only speed  due to                                      external influence – meeting/bad news etc

hands-free – Did you have a good day? Any gossip?

Analyst:      car – functional, within budget, not too old

style – per the rules and traffic conditions, not a speeder

hands-free – only when I have to

Creative:             car -personal, not for public preference. May keep it for a long time

style – per the rules. Will adjust speed if running late etc

hands-free – business and pleasure but no small talk

Being aware of personality types and how this might relate to driving styles can promote more toleration in what can sometimes be seen as a very aggressive, competitive activity.

I thought I was a very good driver and decided to take the Advanced Driving Test 46 years ago.  The experience helped me depersonalise situations and to develop a more collective focus incorporating road  conditions traffic volumes and driving behaviours. The Institute of Advanced Motorists maxim focuses also on my responsibility to respect others and to use my skills at all times.

So when someone flashes their lights or waves as a positive acknowledgement or perhaps gives me a very rude hand gesture I might metaphorically pull out my Institute of Advanced Motorists card and, with a placatory wave, wish them luck.

 

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