Enough of that... I wanted to share some thoughts with you on the conference's keynote address that was given by Tom Vanderbilt, journalist and New York Times best-selling author of Traffic or Why We Drive the Way We Do and What it Says About Us. To tell you where this is going, a New York Times review stated that a good alternate name for the book would be Idiots. Tom shared many anecdotes from the book, which focuses on the psychology of human behavior behind the wheel.
We have all sat in a traffic lane and watched the other lane move along briskly, only to switch lanes and find the moving lane is at a complete standstill. No, you are not just unlucky - this feeling is attributed to the belief that humans feel losses more powerfully than gains. Some of our driving behavior has to do with our culture. Sweden, which is the safest country in the world for driving, has much more of a consensus-building culture and driving styles that tend to be much more collaborative than U.S. styles. And some of it is just our own personalities - do you tend to merge early if a lane is ending or do you wait until the last moment to make that move? Scientific evidence states that we would be better to remain in our lanes, use the available space and take turns merging into the ongoing lane when needed. As for me - sorry, once an early merger, always an early merger.
Tom also spoke about the number of illusions we deal with while driving. These illusions influence our decisions and can lead us, so to speak, down the wrong road. Also, check out www.theinvisiblegorilla.com for more information on how you perceive and handle visual clues.
Overall, a great keynote that helped me see the psychology behind my own driving behavior. If you'd like to learn more about your driving style and the style of that darn idiot driving next to you, check out Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt - I plan to do the same.