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Driving Personalities

Posted Oct 06 2009 10:01pm

Purely Personalities with Shonda Savage Whitworth

I've been driving in the rush hour traffic a lot more these days since both my son and I returned to school this fall. During this time, I've observed various driving styles. As I thought about it, driving styles could possibly reveal a person's personality type (at least the personality trait being displayed at that very moment as most of us have personality blends ). The early morning and afternoon traffic times creates pressure on people when they're driving. I can now differentiate those drivers who are prepared to those who are not. Let's explore some of the possibilities of personalities while driving.

The Sanguine Driver

driver talking on cell phone The sanguine personality likes to talk—a lot. She will find ways to talk even when alone, so that means using the cellular phone. While cruising along in traffic, I may be able to spot a sanguine driver as she converses on her cell phone. If she has an ear piece or hands free device you'll see her head moving around and one of her hands flailing about the vehicle. Then she'll realize at the last moment she wanted to turn right and she's in the left lane. Quickly she'll turn her head to check for traffic, turn on her blinker, and if fairly safe, dart across the traffic to execute her turn. Another sanguine driver may not be talking on her cell phone at the moment, but rushing because she already returned home to retrieve an item she forgot that she needed for the day. I know that person because I AM that person. Or I'll check to make sure I have everything I need five times before I leave causing me to leave later than planned.

The Choleric Driver

the hurried driver wants to go around I estimate the choleric driver is the type that demands that all other drivers move out of his way because he is on a mission! My husband is a choleric driver. He would like to be recognized as an emergency vehicle with all the other automobiles on the road pulling over so he can pass them even though there is not an actual emergency. Like the sanguine driver who is running late and in a rush, the choleric is a rush, not because he's late, but he has a purpose to fulfill. Sometimes if a choleric driver is behind me at a traffic light, I can hear him revving his engine once the light turned green, but the traffic has yet to move forward. One Saturday morning while driving along a two-lane highway to a cross country meet, a probable choleric driver sped up to pass our vehicle, maneuvered in front of us, and then suddenly slowed down to make a right turn. He was hurrying, but what difference does four seconds make? Typically, when the choleric wants something done, he wants it done—NOW.

The Melancholy Driver

Turn signal used by the perfect drivers The melancholy personality likes to have things done to perfection. They typically follow all the rules. Therefore, this is the driver on the road that is driving the speed limit although all other traffic is cruising along five miles per hour over. She has both hands on the steering wheel, always signals appropriately, wearing her seat-belt and, of course, she left in sufficient time to dodge the rushed sanguine and the hurried choleric. The melancholy driver is probably enjoying her quiet time on the road as she has time to think and meditate on her thoughts, lay out her plans for the day, and mentally prepare for the next item on her to-do list. If music is on the radio, she's playing it softly. The drive alone to work or school in the mornings may be a favorite time of day for the melancholy driver as they enjoy solitude.

The Phlegmatic Driver

Everyone passes the laid back driver The phlegmatic personality is the most laid back, easy-going personality. This type of person generally never worries or frets about issues. I see this type of personality on the road as the Sunday afternoon driver on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in rush hour traffic. The fact that everyone else is in a hurry does not bother him. He'll just wave as everyone all the others pass him on their way. He's most likely the type of driver that will let you in front of him when you motion that you need to move into his lane. He's probably not inclined to worry if he left on time to be on time, as that is not a priority to him as long as he's close. My oldest son is a phlegmatic driver. He prefers not to wear a seat belt because it is uncomfortable and a phlegmatic is all about comfort. As his Mom, I remind him that in this situation safety and the law trumps comfort.

Recognizing and understanding personalities as we drive will help us to adjust to other driving styles. If we see a person chatting away on the cell, she may not be paying as much attention and we need to be aware of her sudden movements. If we notice a person in a hurry, it's only four or five seconds perhaps we can let him pass us so he feels he has control of the road. If we see the perfect driver, we can appreciate his promptness and allow him his space. If we see the phlegmatic, we can pass him and signal him to put on his seat-belt (if necessary). Drive safely!

  Shonda Savage Whitworth

© 2009 Shonda Savage Whitworth

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