A recent European study has revealed that there are seven different types of drivers on today’s roadways.
Social psychologists from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) teamed up with Goodyear Tires for an ongoing study that examines the social psychology of road safety. As a result, the study has identified different ways that people respond when interacting with other drivers on the road.
By conducting focus groups and in-depth interviews with European drivers, researchers have identified seven different personalities that frequently manifest themselves when people are behind the wheel.
1. The Teacher
The first type of driver is The Teacher, who needs to make sure other drivers know what they’ve done wrong and expects recognition for his or her efforts to teach others.
2. The Know it All
The next type is The Know-it-All, who thinks they are surrounded “by incompetent fools” and often keep themselves happy by shouting condescendingly at other drivers while being protected in their vehicle.
3. The Competitor
The third is The Competitor, who constantly needs to get ahead of other drivers and is constantly annoyed when someone gets in the way. That driver can be identified by the constant need to accelerate when someone tries to overtake them or closing the gap to prevent someone from getting in front of them.
4. The Punisher
Next up is The Punisher, who likes to punish other drivers for any perceived misbehavior. Better known as road ragers, these drivers might end up getting out of their cars to approach other drivers directly.
5. The Philosopher
Then there’s The Philosopher, which accepts misbehavior easily and tries to rationally explain it. Those drivers often manage to control their emotions while inside a car.
6. The Avoider
Sixth on the list is The Avoider, who treats misbehaving other drivers impersonally and dismisses them as a hazard.
7. The Escapee
Last is The Escapee, a driver that likes to listen to music or talks on the phone while behind the wheel. According to the researchers, The Escapee “distracts themselves with selected social relationships so that they do not have to relate to any of the other drivers on the road. It’s also a strategy for not getting frustrated in the first place.”
“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,” said Dr. Chris Tennant, a social psychologist that is leading the research at LSE. “This makes the road a challenging and uncertain social environment. While we may worry about others’ driving, this research suggests that their behavior 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.”