Driver Behaviour

Behaviour describes our observable actions - how we conduct ourselves.

Driving is a complex activity that requires multi-level skilled behaviour.Yet much of our driving behaviour is automatic, developed from experiences and requiring minimal allocations of attention.

This automatic aspect of behaviour is based on mental and psycho-physical programs called schema. We develop schema for our driving over time but in an ad hoc manner based on our perception of driving situations. Schema helps us deal with every day driving occurrences such as negotiating traffic, intersections and road conditions.

In emergency situations our schema or automatic behaviour may not be appropriate and shifting our behaviour more consciously to control such rare events is unlikely to succeed because we do not have effective emergency behaviour or schema, at our disposal. Behaviour will reflect the psychological profile of each individual and the situations the individual is exposed to. Behaviour may be aggressive, passive, distracted, alert, ignorant, confident, timid, skilled, arrogant, tolerant, angry, polite, competent, vindictive or many other descriptions.

Behaviour can change as a result of learning, provided we take up new strategies and practice them until they become new schema. A good example is the Look Up - Stay Back which needs to be an automatic feature of our low risk driving based on an understanding of speed, distance and stopping capability.

Other factors that affect behaviour include our attitudes, awareness and motivation.