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Does the way you drive reflect who you are?

March 28, 2008

Last night as we were driving back from dinner, two cars came within inches of mine as they zipped past. They must be doing about 160 on a semi-congested road. Snaking in and out of traffic, they were out of sight in seconds. Ah a race. Lets see if something comes out in the morning papers, I thought.

If I could picture who the Speed Demons were, I think they’d be in their 20’s, rebels with huge egos, avid smokers/drinkers, sports kakis (most likely soccer), groupish, rich parents. Its a pissing contest where the winner gets bragging rights for a couple of weeks. Ok, maybe I am stereotyping but heck, I was a petrolhead once and you could say I’ve been there, done that.

Then there’s the Lets-Drive-Slow-On-The-Fast-Lane types who think nothing of backing up traffic for kilometres. Blur and clueless, they’d be busy yakking on the phone or thinking of what to eat, totally oblivious to how their actions affect other people. If you’re lucky you’ll find one who stops dead on the highway to reverse because he/she just missed the exit. These people are cut from the same cloth as the speed demons. Both are self-obsessed to the point of being clueless of how their actions affect others. Their only difference is speed.

Then there’s the Tailgaters, honking their horn or flashing their headlights to pass even though there’s ample overtaking space. They are just irked that you are directly in their path and insist its you who should move aside, not they. Meet the controllers, impatient people bursting with self-importance who believe the world should operate according to their rules.

Then there’s the Rulebook Follower who observes speed limits, never cuts queue and never temps the orange lights. That is, until they’re convinced there’s no traffic police around and all hell breaks loose. These are the repressed types. Rule-abiding by day and unbridled hacks by night, they will try to get away with anything if they think they can get away with it. That includes bagging the cream and sugar sachets at McDonald’s when no one’s looking.

Then there’s the Rational Driver who, while reasonably sticking to the rules (just enought to avoid pesky tickets), takes all shortcuts he can think of to get ahead. Such people are like sand poured into a bottle of pebbles, preferring to get around traffic than force their way through it. Meet the opportunist who strategizes his way forward. Seldom complaining, he’s always scanning what’s around him. He’s never afraid of being unconventional like travelling a bit further to reach there faster – something that has led to many an argument between couples.

The rulebook follower and rational driver may appear similar but they’re not. The rulebook follower’s habits change depending on who’s looking whereas the rational driver takes the middle path and behaves consistently regardless.

I think I’m like the rational driver. You?

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