Moral Reasoning in Driving Behavior

Leon J. James*

Moral Reasoning in Driving Behavior.

Driving has become stressful, dangerous, and demeaning. Drivers report being
stressed out, threatened by each other, exhibit bad moods, terrorize their passengers, and often
fantasize violent acts against other motorists or bicyclists. These serious issues indicate that
there is a strong need for driving psychology and education that can help reverse this trend
and change people’s driving habits.

The recent dramatic spread of violence expressed with vehicles indicates the reluctance of drivers to scrutinize their own conduct, preferring to blame other drivers. Drivers tend to have an inflated self-image of their motoring ability, rating the safety of their own driving as much better than the average motorist’s.

For instance, 2 out of 3 drivers rate themselves as almost perfect in how excellent they are as a driver, while the rest consider themselves above average. Survey polls show that 70% of the drivers
report about being a victim of an aggressive driver, while only 30% admit being aggressive

Interestingly, drivers who consider their own driving to be near perfect, also confess to significantly more aggressiveness than drivers who see themselves as still improving. This reveals the lack of objectivity in self-assessment shown by every 2 out of the 3 drivers. Despite their self-confessed aggressiveness, they still insist on thinking of themselves as near perfect drivers with almost no room to improve.

A recent study, investigated the relationship between socio-moral reasoning and traffic safety among drivers in the Netherlands. The results showed that drivers in stage 1-compliance experienced a higher number of accidents, and drove faster and more aggressively.
Interestingly, this relationship was more pronounced for men than women.

Psychol Cogn Sci Open J. 2017; 3(3): e6-e8. doi: 10.17140/PCSOJ-3-e006