Employing Techniques to Manage Your Own Emotions and Behaviours While Driving

R: Engr. Tunde Ayangbesan being presented with Appreciation Certificate by Samuel Oloyede Oriowo while CC Yusuf Salami (FRSC Oyo State Sector Commander) looks on at the event

Accidents of various gravities occur every day and we all feel much concerned. We usually blame the drivers for recklessness, over-speeding, wrong overtaking, drunkenness, driving against the traffic, etc. When an accident involves a learned person, a politician or very important person (VTP), the common saying is, “The wicked has done its worst.”

The question to ask is: who is the wicked?

Many a times, we shift the cause(s) to be the highway or the vehicle.

Is it really caused by the highway or the vehicle?

No, it is majorly by the driver who can gently pass through the bad roads. Of course, un-road-worthy vehicles should not ply the roads.

From the topics are deduced two hidden but important sources of many road traffic accidents.

These sources are hot-provoking emotions and misbehaviours.

Techniques of Management:
There is a need to answer the following questions: What method(s) do you adopt to control yourself (your emotions and behaviors) as a professional driver when you are on the steering?

Every one claims to be a good driver but this is not true.

Do you consider your state of mind before you leave home, and before you hold the steering wheel?

You cannot manage or control your emotions when you are restless, angry, fatigued, frustrated, grieving, raged or after taking hard drug.

An average driver does not believe in self composition before he drives. Most commercial vehicles drivers are ready to jump into the vehicle and drive off without considering their state of mind.

Some heavy duty vehicle drivers even drive for between twelve to fifteen hours daily.

Such drivers are prone to road traffic accidents.

Emotions mean a person’s feelings about an environment or a situation or feelings in response to thoughts, remarks and events.

Emotions can be positive or negative depending on the way people make you feel. Positive or pleasant emotions like affection, amusement, contentment, and love usually attract good feelings while negative emotions such as stress, depression, grief, frustration, fear, sorrow and anger always bring unpleasant reactions.

When someone genuinely appreciates you or says something nice to you, you probably have a good feeling that lifts your spirits. You may wish to return the good feeling. A word of encouragement such as, ‘this is a nice job’, your answer confirms that you are an experienced transporter , the method you adopt in teaching us makes us to understand it better or your driving proves that you are skillful and competent.

An individual also may have a mixture of both pleasant and unpleasant emotions.

However, people often try to avoid feeling unpleasant emotions such as loneliness, disgust, worry, and grief.

A few people are sometimes not fully aware of their own emotions.

Having a negative or unpleasant emotion is not abnormal since people cannot help the way one feels, but when the emotions are felt too often, the resulting pain can complicate lives.

Many a times, people react to such emotions in harmful ways that even affect not only themselves, but others as well.

This is an issue to discuss further.

What are your emotions when a Police Man shouts on you?

Which types of behaviour do you put up?

Are you easily upset?

Do you always curse other road users?

Do you abuse or insult them?

Do you abuse, curse or insult your passengers while driving?

Are you always aggressive?

Behavior is the way of a living creaure. It can be positive or negative.

Negative behaviour produces unpleasant result, an action that aggravates a situation. It raises dust and complicates issues. Professional drivers are required to always exhibit good behaviors.

This is the ideal expectations which are very rare in many instances. They seldom exhibit descent driving habits.

Controlling Your Emotions and Behaviours as a Driver:
Accidents do not just happen; they are caused as a result of people’s negative emotions and unpleasant behaviors. A good professional driver must be able to control his emotion so as to have pleasant behaviors.

You must first of all keep calm and slow in your reaction to any unpleasant situation. Whatever may be your feelings due to unexpected circumstances or challenges when it happens is not the issue; the issue which exhibits your maturity is how you manage your emotions.

A lot of traffic accidents happen due to emotional impulse of each driver, like a driver who drives to revenge may hit pedestrian(s), crush a vehicle or a cyclist. Similarly, a law-enforcement agent who pursues a driver may end-up in an accident. A colleague recently crashed his car because of his emotional impulse.

The author’s recent survey revealed that people communicate their emotions by means of words, a variety of others sounds, facial expression and gestures.

Being Humane:
Do you consider what people say when you mismanage your emotions?

Really, negative emotions usually result in misbehaviour and are very difficult to control. They ruin lives if not properly managed.

This is one of the reasons why drivers must not answer phone calls or telephone anybody while driving. Drivers must always concentrate, see and be seen.

How do you react to people’s complaints against you?

How do you behave when you are accused of doing something wrong? Or when you are blamed for driving slowly?

Do you feel insulted when a passenger accosts you for flouting the traffic lights?

Matured mind is always humane with his emotions. He is aware that some behaviours are not acceptable. He discovers that what he does has an effect on others and therefore becomes very conscious of not hurting the other people.

Because of this reason, he strongly considers the decision he makes as an individual in order not to create greater problems for other road users.

Respect and Self-discipline:
A conflict produces series of emotions which are usually unpleasant. The only way out of such a situation is to keep the emotions cool or reduce the level of emotion.

High emotional level may lead to an attack which does not solve the problem. It aggravates it and ends up in fighting when the emotions get out of control. One minute of additional patience solves a huge problem as it can only be resolved when one or both parties are patient i.e. when there is self discipline.

People have the right to their own opinions and right to defend such opinions. When respect crawls in, the words used during an argument reflects the respect each person has for the other.

Permit me to state at this juncture that our culture gave adequate respect to the elderly until some years back when foreign cultures crippled in and eroded ours. Younger people no longer respect the elderly. This act resulted to a lot of misfortune for many individuals in particular and Nigeria youths in general. (Bowo fun baba ati iya re, ki o le dara fun o ati ki iwo o le wa’pe ni aye. Aibowo f’agba ni ko j’aiye o’gun).

In fact, sciences and technology caused some of the lapses.

What is respect? It is having a great regard for somebody or holding someone in high esteem. A self- disciplined person will not insult anybody or use uncomplimentary sentences during an argument or a conflict. He will respect himself and exhibit self-control.

Rudeness, pride and derogatory words such as, you are stupid, a liar, short-up, an idiot, a vagabond or bastard will not be altered. Such an utterance raises the emotional level of the quarrel and gives no room for amicable settlement.

People in many of the personal service occupations such as airline stewardesses, waitresses, bartenders, and such like-are paid to “sell their emotions” showing appropriate behaviours towards their customers.
Emotions in this respect become a commodity. As with all labour, this is subject to management control.

Arguably, more and more work in the Western world is of this type, particularly in those occupations dominated by women.

Bad Driving Habits and Unruly Behaviors of Drivers

Driving Habits: It is unfortunate that some professional drivers (the bad eggs) have earned considerable notoriety for their bad driving habits and unruly behaviors. Such drivers pick up or drop their passengers at points that are very dangerous and which disrupt the smooth-flow of traffic. They flout the traffic signal lights with impunity and even park at wrong places like roundabout, very close to or at pedestrian crossing, make “U” turn at forbidden places, always drive with one hand and drive against the traffic.
Some drivers over-load and over-speed and cut comers. Many cannot differentiate between one type of road and another, fail to use safety belt correctly, refuse to use recommended glasses, use un-road-worthy vehicles, and operate with expired documents.
Safety Slogans: A high percentage of professional drivers especially the young ones are very impatient and over-confident. They are always in a hurry, reckless and carefree. They easily forget the adage “To be late is better than to be the late” and the safety slogans, “Drive carefully to arrive safely, always drive defensively, who is the next accident victim?” Many drivers do not care about these adage and slogans. They underrate the importance and display the bad culture which may result to obstruction, delay and various traffic accidents if the other road users have no self-discipline.

Driving Schools: Some youths believe they can drive without being taught the rudiments of driving and so become potential dangers for other road users. Thank God for the traffic laws which make it mandatory for all learner drivers to attend Approved Driving Schools before being tested.

I wish these traffic laws and regulations will be genuinely and sincerely implemented to all categories of drivers.

Hot emotions lead to misbehaviors which produce provoking/negative result such as chaos, depression, rage, frustration, fear and anger. They often create disaffection amongst the drivers and poor relationship between the drivers, their passengers and the public at large.

Such in the past have resulted into many avoidable fatal accidents causing premature death of several innocent road users.

It is not desirable for anybody to be hot-tempered, more importantly people in the driving professions. I therefore implore every driver to be humane and self-disciplined, and always drive defensively. It is strongly recommended that:

i. Any person with anger, fatigue, restlessness/stress, grief, frustration, rage, sorrow or who has taken alcohols/hard drugs must not drive any vehicle as it aggravates unpleasant emotions.

ii. Every driver must be composed while he drives.

iii. Sales of hot drinks and intoxicating liquors must be banned at and around the motor packs/garages.

iv. Vehicle drivers must be self disciplined.

I appeal to all drivers to practice all we discussed and “sell their emotions” showing appropriate behaviors towards their passengers and other road users.

Finally, I humbly express my heartfelt appreciation to God Almighty, who gave me His grace to present this paper. I thank the organizers: Automobile And Road Safety Initiative for inviting me to deliver this paper, and my colleagues in the driving and allied professions for the great attendants.

I wish you safe motoring!

Thanks for listening!!

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Mrs. Joke Olanireti (Assistant Director, NADDC) read the speech on behalf of her Director General Engr. Tunde Ayangbesan

(A Paper delivered by Engr. Tunde Ayangbesan at the 3rd Annual Auto Tyre Safety Day held at Adamasingba Stadium, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria on Tuesday 29th September, 2015)