I think we all know there are a lot of different types of drivers on the road. However, social psychologists from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Goodyear Tyres have come together to create a study on social psychology and road use and safety. The study has identified several different ways in which people respond with other drivers on the road. Focus groups and in depth interviews identified seven different personality types among drivers.
Chris Tennant, who is leading the research at LSE said: “Much of the time we can sit happily in the comfortable bubble of our car, but around any corner we may have to interact with other drivers, … This makes the road a challenging and uncertain social environment. While we may worry about others’ driving, this research suggests that their behaviour also depends on what we do. We create the personalities that we don’t like. From a psychological point of view, these different types of personalities represent different outlets that drivers use to deal with their frustrations and strong feelings. We are not always entirely one or the other. Depending on the situation and the interaction with others, most of us will find several of these profiles emerge.”
Here at Breakeryard.com we took these seven personalities and identified a few more:
Mr/Miss Nice Guy:
The one who will always let someone else pull in front of them and lets everyone else go first. Totally oblivious to the queue building up behind them.
The frustrated rock/hip hop star:
Plays their music so loud that they deafen everyone within a 15 mile radius. Bang their hands along to the music and try to ‘sing’ along to the words.
The road rager:
Swears, shouts and cuts everyone else up, uses their horn and is extremely potty mouthed. They have no patience and will take great offence at even the most minor mistake or any perceived errors by others they regard as needing to go back to driving school.
Has to go very fast and likes to slam on their brakes, very likely to have flashy wheel trims and a noisy souped up exhaust. Terrifying to be a passenger in their car. They would love to drive a Ferrari or Lambo but just don’t have the money so drive a BMW or low end Mercedes.
Due to their age other road users are very forgiving but declining sight, hearing and slower reflexes can make them a danger on the road. They drive really slow and hunched up at the wheel convinced it makes them see better. Other users approach them with care and breathe a sigh of relief when they turn off. No one will admit that though!
The Learner is slow and overly cautious, they are probably the only road user who still remembers to abide by the Highway Code and actually follows all the rules of the road. They will signal and do so properly, they will approach junctions with care and stick to the speed limit.
I just passed my test:
Displays their P symbol with pride. Drives with great caution and care but is very nervous so they hesitate to make quick judgements which annoy other drivers. They will drive at the speed limit and be wary of accelerating to merge with other traffic and make mistakes going around roundabouts. Without the L plate the newbie driver is more likely to incur the wrath of other motorists whose favourite expression is “how the hell did you pass the test?” These impatient people are probably the worst culprits on the roads.
She’ll put those horrible eyelashes on her headlamps, something pink and fluffy somewhere inside (likely to be a steering wheel cover) and drive a small dinky car like a Fiat.
The Multi Tasker:
My personal pet peeve. Despite it being illegal to use a mobile in their hands at the wheel they still do so. They will text, chat to passengers, berate naughty back seat children or change CDs over or apply make up using the rear view mirror. Likely to move into your lane without signalling as they are doing something else at the same time. Distracted drivers are dangerous drivers!
The car dweller:
These people probably do a lot of travelling in their jobs and possibly spend half their day in the car as a result. So expect to find empty junk food boxes and wrappers, empty drink cans, sweet wrappers, clothes, CDs and chargers. You won’t want a lift from them as you would be sitting in a bin.
Mr I Own the Road:
He will hog the lane he is in and will think nothing of changing lane abruptly and expect to own that lane right away. He (or she) will expect everyone else to get out of their way and be able to second guess their manoeuvres without any indications on their part. If you don’t move as soon as the lights turn amber you will feel the heat from his horn. Speeding, cutting up, overtaking, undertaking, tailgating and parking inconsiderately are just some of their skills.
Who doesn’t hate them? Get stuck behind them and you’ll never get anywhere. Plus they throw up dirt, rain and mist on your windscreen making driving more hazardous.
Let’s face it human curiosity is such that any time we see an incident we have to slow down and have a good gawp. We’re all guilty of this one.
Middle lane hoggers:
They get fined now. Enough said!
The professional driver:
Or at least they think they are. They really do think they could give the Stig a run for his money. Problem is that they are never as good as they think they are. Their over confidence is a big danger in itself. When things go wrong, their reactions are often mistimed as their arrogance means they can’t think quickly.
The Real Deal:
This driver is the most rare of creatures. He or she abides by the rules of the road, uses the Highway Code, abides by speed limits, doesn’t abuse other drivers, doesn’t tailgate or hog middle lanes. They park considerately and show patience and kindness but don’t overdo the Good Samaritan bit. They will indicate properly and not overtake or undertake. Sadly, there are too few of them on the roads
The Bad Merger:
Another of my pet peeves, this happens when two lanes merge into one. This driver will either merge too quickly as they panic about getting ahead and doing this can cause bottle necks. Or else they carry on into the ending lane and cut in at the last moment, infuriating everyone else.
The parking spot hunter:
Who hasn’t met one of these on a Saturday morning at the local supermarket? They prowl around the car park at zero speed to find that unattainable thing called “the best parking spot”. Not in the disabled bays, near enough so that they don’t have to walk too far but not so congested that they can’t get in and out easily. They will slow down at give way points so they can hunt out the best spot, totally oblivious to anyone behind them.
To find out what kind of driver you are take the LSE test here: