Good Essay On Driver Mentality: Subjective To Experience

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Driving, Drivers, Disaster, Accident, Experience, Road, Drive, Control

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/11/22

Those driving faster than us are often labeled as crazed lunatics while those who are driving slower than us often are encouraged to, “find the gas pedal,” and get off the road. We, the collective driver, or the individual driver, appear to base our driving mentality off our own experiences, as well as our own driving preferences. If other drivers do not match our driving preferences, they are labeled chaotic and insane, or old and slow. There does not appear to be an in between, nor does there appear to be an allowance for the experience or subjectivity of other drivers. It appears, however, that if the subjective experience of other drivers was considered, as well as understood, it would change our mentality on driving, and perhaps alter our experience.
While cautious is one way to drive, another is frenzied and hurried. That is the way thirty-four year old Ronald Seager likes to drive. After describing his driving habits, he appeared to represent everything Mrs. Rosa initially judged, was afraid of when driving. He sped when he believed it was safe, or when he did not think he would be caught. He cut other drivers off in order to get into alternate lanes if he did not think they were driving fast enough. If a light was yellow, to Mr. Seager it meant “drive faster” rather than a warning to slow down. Stop signs were not stop signs, but rather brief pauses in which Mr. Seager checked quickly for pedestrians and other cars before speeding to his destination. He seemed to be in a rush. Similarly to Mrs. Rosa, Mr. Seager judged all other drivers based on his own driving methods. It seems that drivers prone to speeding and quick movements, such as cutting other drivers off in traffic, often assume cautious drivers are too slow, or unfit for driving at all. This typically is grounded on the idea that the judging driver is quick to act, and wants others to be quick to act, as well.
Many drivers on the road often feel like they need to rush, and need to rush other drivers, believing their mentality is the only one that is correct. This may be because they are in a hurry to get to where they are going. I could relate to this feeling because I too was once like this. Initially when I received my license, though I was not a good driver, I wanted to hurry everywhere and anybody who was driving too slowly was immediately assumed old and boring. My mentality was that I was young, had just learned the rules of the road, and was obviously freshly experienced, therefore correct in all that I did. Anybody who was not following my lead was dimwitted and old. Fortunately, I was able to grow out of thinking this way, while it looked as though Mr. Seager was only going to give these thoughts a cursory overview before speeding to his next appointment.
Another mentality, often experienced by drivers, is one wherein caution nor frenzy is the focal point. Rather a complete lack of control takes over. In these situations, an individual is often the passenger in an event that changes their driving mentality. Eighteen-year-old James Harrow represented a different type of driver, not cautious, nor hurrried. Harrow had received his license on time and claimed he was a confident driver until nearly a year ago when he was involved in a car accident. He was not the cause of the accident, nor was he the driver. Unfortunately, Harrow was simply a passenger; a friend was driving and the collision caused him to break his arm. Fortunately, this was the worst of the bodily harm anybody in the accident sustained. However, the incident left its mark on Harrow. When asked what he dislikes most about other driver’s, he too stated recklessness above all else gets under his skin. He was unable to define recklessness though. It emerged, after further questioning, that Harrow could imagine almost every action behind the wheel of a car to be reckless since his accident. It is imaginable that many drivers who were in Harrow’s position would find it difficult to define recklessness, while still judging other drivers on the road. Not being able to define recklessness is sometimes centered off a driver’s inability to understand why they feel a certain way about their own driving, or the driving of others. Because Harrow was not in control of his accident, it would make recklessness hard to define and, therefore, the actions of other drivers difficult to judge.
It can be difficult to relate feelings into words, or even a relatable mentality when one is struggling to regain control over a circumstance as precarious as driving. Drivers such as Harrow may have a more severe inability to see the point of view of other drivers because their mentality is deeply rooted in a traumatic experience. A car accident can be frightening and chaotic. Being a passenger in the accident takes away all control, and even a sense of responsibility. Once the individual begins driving again, their mentality may be very judgmental based on a desire to survive, or at the very least, remain safe from harm. They were not the cause of the accident; every other driver harmed them. In their mind, therefore, every other driver may be inept when behind the wheel. They have been a victim of bad driving and may feel as though they know better. In Harrow’s case, though he could not define reckless driving specifically, he was aware that he was not comfortable with many other drivers, possibly because he did not trust them.
The interviews were varied, and supposed to show that mentality is based on perspective, while perspective is sometimes based on experience. If we understand that, sometimes we can change our mentality. While I tried to bring to all three interviewee’s attention the mentality of other driver’s, Mrs. Rosa was the only truly receptive party. She understood that her views were based on her own mentality, and that she was judging others on what she thought was right. However, she was able to separate what she wanted for everybody on the road against what they wanted, comprehending that it did not mean either one was inherently wrong, but simply different. The mentality of her versus the other drivers challenged Mrs. Rosa’s view of them and she parted my interview process even saying she would attempt to be less judgmental. Mr. Seager and Harrow, on the other hand, were less receptive. Mr. Seager understood that not everybody saw his mentality, or thought like him. That was the problem though. He wanted everybody to think like him because he believed if they did, slow drivers would get off the road, and all that would be left were drivers “competent” enough to speed, cut people off, and pull out as quickly as possible in an effort to rush everywhere. Harrow looked traumatized from his incident. He was able to understand other drivers had a different mentality, but given that fact that his accident occurred under such minor conditions, and he still was hospitalized, the mentality of other driver’s did little to change his mentality. To my other two interviewees, their mentalities painted all other drivers as slow and old, or maniacal.
In sum, it is clear our judgment of other drivers, as well as the driving experience is subjective to our personal mentality. We shape how we want to drive as indidivuals and base our judgment of other drivers off that mentality. Previous experiences driving, how we are taught, or our general personalities may help shape the types of drivers we are, thus defining how we expect others to drive. Our way is the right way; sometimes we believe it is the only way. While few drivers are receptive to different mentalities and less prone to judgment after such understanding, most drivers insist they know what they are doing, and all other drivers are inept. Mrs. Rosa, for example, was open to understanding the mentalities of other drivers, though she did not think it made them right. Mr. Seager and Harrow, however, are two set in their ways or two scared to admit other mentalities might be correct; they believe their way is the only way, proving that there are a sufficient number of driving mentalities all born out of different circumstances, and they are all subjective.

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