European Study Breaks Down Driving Personalities into Seven Categories, Which One Are You?

It's common knowledge that power doesn't change a man's personality, but only enhances it. Stepping at the wheel of a car equals instant power boost - or, as Jeremy Clarkson so controversially put it, when you're driving, you become a knight and the pedestrians are your peasants.
The Seven Types of European Drivers 8 photos
Photo: LSE & Goodyear
The AvoiderThe CompetitorThe EscapeeThe Know-it-allThe PhilosopherThe PunisherThe Teacher
A recent study conducted by London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) together with tire manufacturer Goodyear wants to see what happens when two knights cross each other's paths.

Their endeavor is still ongoing, but the have recently released some findings based on a series of focus groups and thorough interviews conducted on European drivers. According to their findings, there are seven types of personalities that have emerged as the most commonly manifested among drivers.

We'll give you a rundown of the seven and also throw in some hints on how to deal with them in traffic.

#1 The teacher

This person essentially wants everybody to drive by the book and if he sees somebody misbehave, he's there to tell them about it. But he's not happy with just that - no, he also expects some recognition for this ad-hoc driving theory lesson he's so kindly given you.
What to do: just nod and say "yes" and it should be over soon.

#2 The know-it-all

This guy (they're usually guys) thinks he's better than you. Hell, he thinks he's better than everybody. Therefore, he's constantly looking down on everybody and speaking condescendingly, sometimes even shouting. He's not a nice guy, but he's mostly harmless.
What to do: find a "teacher" and let them contradict until thei either fight or fall asleep.

#3 The competitor

We've all seen this poor guy who, in his mind, is racing everyone around him even though the others are completely oblivious and indifferent to his actions. But once somebody responds, it's on. His life has just gotten a purpose and that is to get to a certain point ahead of the other guy. If he does, he'll go search for another victim. If not, he'll go home, hide under the sink and cry.
What to do: just ignore him and leave him in his petty little world. If you think you can "defeat" him, though, by all means, go for it. It's always nice to see them suffer.

#4 The punisher

He's a "teacher" who also lifted some weights, so he's more physical about his approach. He wants to punish other drivers who misbehave and he's very likely to get out of the car for a direct confrontation.
What to do: try not to misbehave. If you can't help it, avoid eye contact and stay in the car, he'll cool down eventually.

#5 The philosopher

He's the nicest guy around, at least for those outside his car. He easily accepts other drivers' mistakes and tries to find rational explanations for them.
What to do: nothing, you won't even know he's there. If you're a passenger in his car, remember the next time he asks to (slowly) take you somewhere.

#6 The avoider

He acts as if those misbehaving do not even exists and considers them hazards to be avoided. He runs the risk of driving too cautiously and annoying other around and especially behind him.
What to do: ignore him, you don't want to turn into a "teacher", a "punisher" or a "know-it-all"

#7 The escapee

This is the category most women drivers fall into. They use music, talking on the telephone or simply day-dreaming to distance themselves from those in traffic by choosing with whom and how to interact.
What to do: just keep an eye out for them as they probably don't keep one out for you.

So, which one are you? Personally, I'm a mix of "punisher", "teacher" and "know-it-all", but I'm working on it. When I drive EVs or hybrids, for example, I turn into an "escapee-philosopher", so it also depends on what car you're in, but that's another discussion.

We tried to joke a little with these seven personality types, but the reality is they do exist and, as Goodyear’s EMEA region vice-president Olivier Rousseau notices, they have a direct impact on traffic safety.

"Most of these behaviors can lead to dangerous situations on the road,” he said. “Understanding what type of behavior we exhibit and what situations provoke it is a first step for all of us to better control it, thereby creating a safer driving environment for ourselves and others on the road. Besides effective enforcement of laws against aggressive driving; education and lifelong learning remain the most powerful public strategies to address this social and emotional aspect of driving and to achieve the greatest improvements in road safety.

The final results of the test which will cover 15 European countries are expected sometime around October. Until then, check out the gallery below for some cool illustrations.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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