2.4 – Essential Attitudes


attitudeDrivers must possess a good, healthy attitude when driving a vehicle. This attitude will allow them to safely drive the vehicle in difficult and stressful times, including heavy traffic, bad weather and around drivers that are not paying attention. The attitudes essential to good driving are courtesy, consideration for others, alertness, using good judgment, acting responsibly, and foresight.

Motivation and Readiness

motivationMotivation involves learning the concepts and skills to become a safe driver through driver education and training and to eventually apply what you have learned to actual driving situations. You have to be motivated to have a safe driving attitude.

Readiness involves being mentally prepared for different traffic conditions and the possessing the necessary knowledge and skills to react to these situations. Being ready results in being completely focused to the task at hand.

Analysis of Habit Patterns

  • Young drivers often develop habits that are hard to break, therefore while you are a student you will need to pay close attention to detail. Students are in the learning stages of driving and it is important to develop good driving habits.
  • You should constantly monitor yourself while you are driving to identify poor driving habits and attitudes.
  • Young drivers:
    • Overestimate their capabilities
    • Rate certain traffic situations as less risky than do mid-age and older drivers
    • Tend to underestimate the danger in high-risk situations and to overestimate the danger in low- to medium risk driving situations.
  • Suggestions:

suggestionOnce you have identified a poor driving habit or attitude, you should consciously apply the appropriate behavior and continuously practice until it becomes automatic.

You need to repeatedly practice correct responses to hazards while learning how to drive. Remember that only training and practice can overcome poor driving habits and attitudes.

Learn to be a Defensive Driver


  • Defensive driving is utilizing all the skills taught in your driving courses and watching out for the ‘other guy’.
  • Avoiding confrontations with other drivers or “Road Rage” will insure that you and your passengers arrive safely at your destination.
  • Learn and target good practices and enact them.

Maintenance of Habit Pattern

  • Maintaining a good habit pattern is accomplished by repeating the same steps over and over again until you get it right.
  • You want to make sure that you practice until you perform the maneuver properly to establish good driving habits.
  • Good driving habits will help you be the best driver you can be.

Behavior Variables

Emotional Tension
Driving when you have emotional tension for whatever reason is not a good idea. Others on the road can easily irritate you and cause you to drive irrationally. You might make choices that you wouldn’t normally make in a more calm condition. These choices may be putting others in your vehicle and others on the roadway in an unsafe situation.

Safe driving requires all your concentration.

  • If you are preoccupied with your emotions, you will not be able to focus on the task of driving safely. Therefore, you should not drive if you are under severe tension or emotionally distressed.
  • The best thing for you to do is to NOT drive. Pull the vehicle over and let someone else drive, or wait until you have calmed down.

Environmental Conditions
Environmental conditions both inside and outside your vehicle can also affect your ability to concentrate, be courteous, and drive safely. Allow yourself to breathe and focus.

Examples of environmental factors:

  • Road conditions/constructions
  • Traffic
  • Unfamiliar routes
  • Loud music
  • Doing other things while driving

Driving Traits
Some drivers mimic the same traits of family members. For example, a father is a lead foot, or has erratic driving practices, speeds in and out of slow traffic,and drives unsafely. His son grows up and takes after his father and also drives unsafely, thinking it is okay because “dad does it.” Some parents pass on emotional disorders that affect their child’s driving abilities.

Physical Conditions
Physical conditions can also affect the way a person drives. For example, having a stiff neck or back problems will hamper your ability to look around your vehicle.

tipEstablishing good habit patterns on the roadway are achieved by repeated performance, proper training, paying attention, experience, practice and more practice.

Related Courses