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In traffic psychology driving behavior is the controlled operation of a motor vehicle.

Driving skills


Hinomaru Driving School, Japan

Driving in traffic is more than just knowing how to operate the mechanisms which control the vehicle; it requires knowing how to apply the rules of the road (which govern safe and efficient sharing with other users). An effective driver also has an intuitive understanding of the basics of vehicle handling.

Driving as a physical skill

In terms of the basic physical tasks required, a driver must be able to control direction, acceleration, and deceleration. For motor vehicles, the detailed tasks include: [1]

  • Starting the vehicle's engine with the starting system
  • Setting the transmission to the correct gear
  • Depressing the pedals with one's feet to accelerate, slow, and stop the vehicle, and if the vehicle is equipped with a manual transmission, to modulate the clutch
  • Steering the vehicle's direction with the steering wheel
  • Operating other important ancillary devices such as the indicators, headlights, and windshield wipers

Driving as a mental skill

File:Mercedes AMG CLS 55 - Demonstration of drifting 1b.jpg

Demonstration of drifting at the Nürburgring Driving Safety Center

Driver error is an important factor in driving accidents, a primary factor in the deaths of over a million people every year. Avoiding such error involves more than just following the rules of the road literally; defensive driving also involves the cultivation of good habits, maintaining attention and a thoughtful, cooperative attitude.

Avoiding or successfully handling an emergency driving situation can involve the following skills: [2]

  • Making good decisions based on factors such as road and traffic conditions
  • Evasive maneuvering
  • Proper hand placement and seating position
  • Skid control
  • Steering and braking techniques
  • Understanding vehicle dynamics

Distractions can compromise a driver's mental skills. One study on the subject of mobile phones and driving safety concluded that, after controlling for driving difficulty and time on task, drivers talking on a phone exhibited greater impairment than drivers who were suffering from alcohol intoxication. [3]

Another survey indicated that music could affect a driver's concentration.[4]

See also


External links

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