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Let’s look into drivers’ heads

By T.K. Malhotra

ROAD SAFETY --ATTITUDE PROBLEM

FOR every kilometer you drive, you have to make countless decisions to perform numerous physical tasks. Emotions play an extreme role and can cause problems behind the wheel. Driving is a matter of attitude. If we are angry, excited, worried or upset due to any reasons, our attitude to drive is emotionally affected. Poor driving attitude is not only a problem in India but is recognized worldwide. The psychology departments of several overseas universities regard the poor driving attitude to be the subject of more research and education. The driving attitude generally reflects physical fitness and mental status of a driver. Poor driver attitude reduces alertness, affects clarity of vision and weakens power of judgment. Ability to drive gets worse if the driver is emotionally upset. His attitude to drive also gets affected as his mind is occupied with matters unrelated to the business of driving. It is an established fact that poor attitude of a driver endangers his own safety.

There may be persons who would like to display the ability to drive at an excessive speed. This kind of attitude increases heartbeats and makes others on the road shiver! We must therefore tune our attitude to the characteristics and behaviour of the car and the traffic pattern before accelerating beyond a reasonable speed. Indians who return from overseas do show some higher level of courtesy for sometime in their driving attitude but soon after they become less considerate of others. They are seen lacking maturity and the attitude they developed when driving abroad. Some of us also behave on the roads as if we must win the race at all costs as we should do on the sports field. Perhaps our zeal to be the first is related with our driving attitude. Speed and alcohol are the other elements targeted as the leading ills on our roads. These two problems in themselves attribute to the attitude deficiency.


Anger, frustration and untimely road rage is often created due to poor approach to driving attitude. Aggressive and fast driving, declining the right of way to others, tailgating, hogging the road at low speeds, failing to keep consistency in speed are all part of the poor attitude mix.

Another problem relates with teen drivers. Unfortunately, due to no time for attitude building, they try to live in their own little world of power with deafening music and thunder sound of exhaust pipe when driving. This creates an arrogance problem on city roads but you cannot label it to a driving attitude problem'' exclusively. The same teens would probably play their music system as loud if not more in their living room also. It is not enough to teach driving skills and road rules but we must emphasize that drivers should develop an attitude to promote the notion of tolerance or forgiveness on the road. For the sake of argument it may not be correct only to blame youth for the entire driving attitude problem. Many drivers who are in their 40s-50s were taught by their neighbors and relatives to drive on stray and quiet roads lack attitude to cope with the traffic environment and the road infrastructure of today. These drivers not only picked-up the faults in driving habits of their neighbors and relatives and learned to drive feeling they were the only persons on the road and the only persons that mattered. Their attitude to be coming a skilled driver competent to behave on road could not be easily changed. It takes time to build up an attitude and you simply cannot bring attitudinal change in a hurry.


Many AA Driver Training Schools abroad have a course module on attitude. “It's a met cognitive approach which is about recognizing a reality of risk rather than ignoring it”—says General Manager, Collin Read of New Zealand AA Driver Training. Looking at the exceptional growth of traffic volumes in Delhi, we have to re-think before planning our travel time by a car. It may take more than double the time to make to a destination as compared to what it may have taken an year ago. We have to change our mental outlook behind-the-wheel skill. When it comes to steering, our attitude may be the car's most important safety feature. We have no doubt to look a long way to pro-mote general driving attitude.