EQ Blog

I chose to change my driving habits for the better.

By: Keith Cunningham
17th May 2017

I’ve always been an aggressive driver: let me state that I have never gotten out of my vehicle to assault, hit or verbally abuse anyone, nor have I used my vehicle as a weapon, as far as I can remember.

My aggressive driving behaviour was:

  • travelling well above the speed limit,
  • being judgemental about other drivers,
  • setting time limits to get to my destination,
  • tailgating and
  • flashing my lights to warn drivers to get out of my way,
  • glaring at drivers who were too slow to do what I perceived as good driving behaviour and
  • wishing calamity and ruin on incompetent drivers in general!

My self talk; you know, that little voice in your head that is asking ‘what’s this self talk he’s talking about’ was generally angry, condescending, probably spiteful and usually very rude. I could hype myself up on a situation or incident and allow it to spoil my mood, and that of my passengers, for miles. I was a stressed and stressful driver.

I had a little bit of awareness about my aggression and I knew that I was a fairly competent functional driver, but I paid no attention to my subconscious behaviours, habits and the triggers that initiated them. Not because I didn’t want to, it was because I didn’t have the self control nor the self-awareness.

My ‘better half’ knew and told me so but I couldn’t listen

Oh yes! She told me often but it’s not that I did not listen; it’s that I couldn’t listen. Her ‘harping’ threatened my manliness, freedom, ability to drive as I chose because I was in charge and anyway she was wrong.

This led to the only place we really argued and got angry with one another; to the extent that I even pulled over and let the smartarse drive. I try not to be a backseat driver but man was it hard!

I wasn’t so unaware that I totally ignored her views or that she was completely wrong. It was that my self-imposed habitual behaviours and limiting beliefs were so strong and so ingrained I couldn’t hear her over my righteous self-talk.

Finding Driver Assess

A colleague and friend of mine asked me if I’d be interested in looking at a driver behaviour profiler; I said sure. As an ex-Safety / Risk Control Manager one of the biggest challenges I had was identifying and quantifying an individual’s propensity for risk i.e. would they put themselves into positions where they would hurt themselves or others. We never had a means of quantifying this.

When I looked at the Driver Assess profiler I realised that for the first time here was a means of not only quantifying whether an individual was a high, medium or low risk driver but it indicated the causes of them being such a driver.

Once they had interpreted the cause(s) they could identify the triggers and resulting behaviours and choose, if they wanted to, to change their high risk or high medium risk behaviours and become safer and lower risk drivers.

Not only could they choose to make changes in their driving behaviour.  They could practice the changes they wanted to make those that were deeply ingrained sub-conscious feeling and behaviours and replace them with their chosen thoughts and behaviours every time they drive their vehicle.

My results

A year later,

  • I am far less aggressive,
  • I rarely speed,
  • I am less judgemental;
  • I can revert to my sub-conscious behaviours but I have the awareness to ‘catch it’ early, breathe and let it go.
  • I am far more willing to press the brake pedal and let the other driver in.
  • I do still think that people who drive with their brights or fog lamps on are inconsiderate and
  • the drivers that use the emergency lane when I am stuck in traffic are disrespectful and are putting accident victims lives at risk;

now though, those inconsiderate behaviours and practices do not make me angry and do not cause me stress or to behave badly towards my fellow road users.

My future driving experience

I still have to learn to behave differently to some of the triggers; such as when a vehicles roars up behind me, flashing their lights and sit’s on my tail wanting me to immediately pull over when it’s just not possible. That causes me a bit of stress because I know that he will not stop in time if I have to brake hard; I wish he’d realise that I will move over as soon as I can and that I am not the sole reason why he’s a #@$%.

Driver Assess put me in charge of the long learnt and acted upon emotions, feelings and behaviours that made me an aggressive driver every time I drove a vehicle. The profiler enabled me to identify the specific root causes and my desire to change enabled me, over a short period of time, to identify the triggers and specific high risk behaviours that I wanted to change.

Driver Assess can change the way South Africans drive and reduce the carnage on our roads as well as the aggressiveness and high stress levels we see every day when we drive.

Best of all, it will create significantly more harmony with your better half, whether they are male or female.

Take charge, know your driving behaviour and make the changes you need to make; for yourself, your family, your passengers and your fellow road users. You’ll thank yourself for it and so will every other driver and member of their families.

The Driver Assessment launches on the 1 August 2017 get in touch with Keith Cunningham to discuss using this tool for yourself, your family, team or your organisation or visit the Driver Assess website.

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