On April, 18th, 2010, traffic department of the J&K state cataloged top ten traffic rules violators in which businessmen lead, followed by students, policemen in civvies, political parties’ workers, lawyers and the academicians. Allegations included, like driving without necessary documents, talking on mobile phone while driving, wrong parking, riding bikes without crash helmets, besides for entering into unnecessary arguments (lawyers), over-speeding and over-taking offences. What is it that the motorists, mostly the affluent/elite/educated, do not behave responsibly and create traffic tamashas that are hazardous to their entirety?
Beverly Hills syndrome is a highly contagious ailment that travels faster than the speed of sound and makes you feel that what you own is what you are. Symbolic of a masculine activity that conveys a sense of power and control over a big machine, driving involves adventure, risk-taking, and speeding. Motorists seem to be continuously exposed to numerous stressors and dangers on the outside. On the inside they face the harshness of their own driving personality. The unreformed driving persona, as a comic book character, desires to turn every exchange into an insult and is willing to be exposed to real danger by executing risky and impulsive maneuvers.
Moral reasoning of our child hood divides things up into things we can do without getting punished, and things we can't do because we get punished. Unrelated to a sense of responsibility, we are motivated by the fear of punishment rather than guilt or remorse. This immature orientation in the adulthood makes us feel zero remorse for breaking the law or violating someone's rights and freedom. We therefore coerce other drivers into tailgating (speeding up by riding threateningly on top of them). We speed and weave between lanes, but watch out for cops around us, so as not to get caught.
As adolescents, we are more conformist internally, not just externally. We comply with regulations out of a sense of loyalty to the social order and begin to feel guilty if we hurt others or break their trust in us. We might speed at all times except when traffic police is in evidence though feel ashamed and uncomfortable when other drivers show irritation with some of our maneuvers. These feelings help us stay within the internal bounds of conventional morality and quite often protect us from overstepping the bounds of decency.
As fully mature adults our moral development enters the highest stage that most people will attain for the rest of their lives. As motorists we act out of a sense of inner principle -- responsibility and pride, rather than out of fear of punishment or out of conformity and loyalty to others. We are more discriminating of the situation, and tend to adjust our behavior to circumstances. If speeding is illegal and dangerous we consciously condemn it as bad practice, yet we allow ourselves to go above the law when we feel that it's justified. We feel right for us to speed when there was no traffic since we were not putting anyone in jeopardy.
Morally mature drivers that rely on an inner sense of self-worth as a human being conscience dictate behavior and not the fear of punishment or the desire to dominate. Having nurtured a high moral driving IQ they are more stable, reliable and are less prone to pressure by others. They maintain their own style of driving in which they strongly believe. They value positive exchanges, are not swayed by loyalty or approval and maintain their strong internal convictions. Though they have ‘the right of way’, they may still allow another car to go first. They are involved in the human side of the exchange more than in having to make that green light. Moral drivers have learned to accept the fact that they need to take other people's feelings into account. In addition, they are aware that their behavior can have a positive or negative influence on others.
The widespread legend that male drivers are better, may be changing as more men begin to appreciate less aggressive driving conditions. Men's driving schema in traffic being ‘competitive’ as against ‘participatory’ in women, the female drivers are more careful, take fewer chances and are thus safer and more proficient. Female drivers tend to be more polite to passengers, pedestrians, and other motorists. By contrast, men exhibit rude behavior and a lack of self-control. Women tend to have more respect for authority. They are more obedient and comply with traffic regulations. Men tend to be more opportunistic in their driving; women are more responsible and orderly. Men show a greater lack of awareness of the consequences of their actions in traffic. Women are more motivated to care. Men are more egotistical drivers while women are more altruistic. Since women show a more genuine concern and regard for the welfare of others, they are capable of being better drivers than men. Since female drivers are ordinarily more cooperative and cautious, fewer accidents would result. The entire society would benefit if all motorists would assume the preferred driving style of women. The stereotype of women drivers is blown.
Honest self-witnessing of our driving morality in traffic lets us know the level of our driving persona. We may be carrying on a secret frenzied lifestyle when driving alone, but tone ourselves down to normal when we have passengers who can observe our reactions. This inconsistency could depend on things such as fear of disapproval, rather than on our own internal principles. As to why a motorist tends to drive erratically is due to the interplay of personality factors like, habit or character and driving conditions such as traffic or destination. While trying to get to an appointment in unexpected heavy traffic, we create a driving condition full of stress and impatience. Normally calm and cautious motorists start driving aggressively and take hair-raising risks that are totally out of character with our normal personalities.
With a constant homeostatic balance to achieve in traffic, we tend to be impulsive to take care of Number One in this highway war zone, while we desire to avoid being a non-caring, opportunistic, weasel with hardly any feelings for fellow human beings. If we allow our conventional moral feelings to weaken and wither in traffic, we unleash madness on the highways. If we drive too timidly and without self-confidence, we become a hazard and obstruction to others. A moral balance must be reached between self-interest/our sanity and community support.