At risk of ro­ad ra­ge? find out...

George Herald - Auto Dealer - - News -

South A­fri­ca has so­me a­lar­ming ro­ad ac­ci­dent s­ta­tis­ti­cs. Mo­re than 18 000 pe­op­le die on South A­fri­can ro­ads e­ach y­e­ar, mo­re than 150 000 pe­op­le are se­ver­e­ly in­ju­red and 8 500 pe­op­le are pa­ra­ly­sed. The cost to the na­ti­on is es­ti­ma­ted to be mo­re than R300-bil­li­on per an­num.

But the big­ge­st dan­ger is that most South A­fri­can dri­vers be­lie­ve t­hey are not part of the pro­blem and that the mo­re than a mil­li­on tra­gic cras­hes e­very y­e­ar hap­pen to so­meo­ne el­se. This is the o­pi­ni­on of Keith Cun­ning­ham, he­ad of D­ri­ver As­sess, a Dur­ban-ba­sed dri­ving a­na­lyst.

Cun­ning­ham ad­mits that he had a less than i­de­al mind­set in the past. With sub­stan­ti­al ex­pe­rien­ce in occu­pa­ti­o­nal he­alth, sa­fe­ty and risk and ha­ving wor­ked in the bu­si­ness co­a­ching field fo­cu­sing on e­mo­ti­o­nal in­tel­li­gen­ce, he re­gar­ded him­self as a well-ad­jus­ted per­son and a good d­ri­ver.

Li­ke most lo­cal dri­vers, he be­lie­ved that he cer­tain­ly wa­sn't reckless and de­fi­ni­te­ly wa­sn't pro­ne to ro­ad ra­ge.

"Ro­ad ra­ge can be de­fi­ned as sud­den acce­le­ra­ti­on, bra­king and c­lo­se tail­ga­ting, cut­ting ot­hers off in a la­ne or de­li­be­ra­te­ly pre­ven­ting so­meo­ne from mer­ging in­to a la­ne. At worst, the­se sorts of dri­vers ac­tu­al­ly cha­se ot­her mo­to­ris­ts, flash their lig­hts or hoot ex­ces­si­ve­ly, y­ell or be­ha­ve dis­rup­ti­ve­ly at ro­ad­s­i­de es­ta­blishments. This can e­ven le­ad to phy­si­cal fig­hts or de­ath," he ex­plains.

TRIGGERS

He re­a­li­sed that the­re we­re cer­tain triggers which s­par­ked si­mi­lar be­ha­vi­our in most pe­op­le. If e­ach d­ri­ver was a­wa­re of po­ten­ti­al we­ak­nes­ses and triggers, t­hey could con­t­rol acti­ons that could re­sult in let­hal si­tu­a­ti­ons.

Most pe­op­le ap­pro­ach dri­ving as t­hey do e­ver­y­day cho­res and o­pe­ra­te sub-con­s­ci­ous­ly, he says. "Most of us dri­ve on au­to­pi­lot. If t­hey are a­wa­re of w­he­re their own po­ten­ti­al ris­ks are, t­hey can ta­ke back con­t­rol. By paying at­ten­ti­on to w­hat t­hey are doing, t­hey can ta­ke acti­on. That is how pe­op­le can chan­ge be­ha­vi­our." Dra­wing on his risk con­t­rol back­ground, Cun­ning­ham cre­a­ted D­ri­ver As­sess, an on­li­ne pro­fi­ler that cre­a­tes a d­ri­ver pro­fi­le to e­ach d­ri­ver that ta­kes the test. The­re is a free short quiz to com­ple­te and gain so­me in­sig­ht in­to one's at­ti­tu­de at https:// dri­ver­as­ses­sli­ve.com.

For a no­mi­nal a­mount, a d­ri­ver can then com­ple­te a de­tailed on­li­ne que­s­ti­on­nai­re and re­cei­ve back a com­pre­hen­si­ve as­ses­sment.

The re­port me­a­su­res 14 dif­fe­rent di­men­si­ons of hu­man be­ha­vi­our and com­pu­tes the re­sults in­to a for­mat that can be u­sed to de­ter­mi­ne a d­ri­ver's li­ke­ly be­ha­vi­our.

"For the first ti­me, you will be a­ble to de­ter­mi­ne your li­ke­ly be­ha­vi­our be­hind the w­heel. You can i­den­ti­fy trig­ger e­vents that i­ni­ti­a­te the e­mo­ti­ons that re­sult in high risk dri­ving. You can spot and un­der­stand the me­a­ning you subcon­s­ci­ous­ly at­tach to the­se trig­ger e­vents. On­ce you are a­wa­re of them and ha­ve paid them so­me at­ten­ti­on, you are in a po­si­ti­on to chan­ge the­se ris­ky be­ha­vi­ours in­to tho­se that be­ne­fit you and ot­her ro­ad u­sers," he ex­plains. You can do this e­very ti­me you dri­ve.

TA­KE BACK CON­T­ROL

To sum up, this me­ans ta­king back con­t­rol of your dri­ving and acti­ve­ly mo­ni­to­ring your self-talk and e­mo­ti­ons and re­spon­ses. You can con­s­ci­ous­ly choo­se your dri­ving s­to­ry rat­her than let your subcon­s­ci­ous wri­te one you ha­ve no a­wa­re­ness of, nor con­t­rol o­ver.

The pro­fi­le that Cun­ning­ham cre­a­ted w­hen he set up D­ri­ver As­sess ne­ar­ly two y­e­ars ago was de­ve­lo­ped for South A­fri­can dri­ving con­di­ti­ons. It has been stan­dar­di­sed for ma­le and fe­ma­le, mi­ni­bus, pas­sen­ger vehi­cle and truck dri­vers. In ad­di­ti­on to hel­ping in­di­vi­du­al mo­to­ris­ts im­pro­ve their dri­ving, it al­so has wi­de­spre­ad ap­pli­ca­ti­ons in the com­mer­ci­al wor­ld - all the mo­re im­por­tant gi­ven that the vast ma­jo­ri­ty of goods in South A­fri­ca are trans­por­ted by ro­ad.

Be­si­des rai­sing an in­di­vi­du­al's a­wa­re­ness a­bout his or her ris­ky ro­ad be­ha­vi­our, it helps pro­vi­de cla­ri­ty on po­ten­ti­al new re­cruits who would be re­qui­red to o­pe­ra­te a com­pa­ny's vehi­cles.

The D­ri­ver As­sess be­ha­vi­our pro­fi­ler can al­so com­ple­ment ex­is­ting d­ri­ver re­cruit trai­ning pro­gram­mes by i­den­ti­fying spe­ci­fic e­du­ca­ti­on stra­te­gies for dif­fe­rent dri­vers.

INVESTIGATIONS

It can al­so be an im­por­tant tool in vehi­cle ac­ci­dent investigations.

Cun­ning­ham says he practi­ses w­hat he pre­a­ches and now dri­ves con­s­ci­ous­ly with mo­di­fied be­ha­vi­our.

"At D­ri­ver As­sess, we be­lie­ve that the high num­ber of South A­fri­can ro­ad ac­ci­dents af­fects us all. The in­ju­ries and fa­ta­li­ties are un­ne­ces­sa­ry and this is so­mething con­s­ci­ous dri­vers can chan­ge. By u­sing our pro­fi­ler to help in­di­vi­du­als be­co­me mo­re self-a­wa­re and e­mo­ti­o­nal­ly a­lert, we be­lie­ve the ro­ads will be­co­me sa­fer and the num­ber of ac­ci­dents will be re­du­ced," he con­clu­des.

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