People will be predisposed to be good or not so good at pretty much every endeavour under the sun.
But it always surprises me how clean is the cleave between those who have some grace or intuition behind the wheel, and those whose every drive is fraught with trepidation, confusion and anger — like instead of driving they were actually engaged in trying to assemble Ikea furniture.
I remember a performance driving instructor once remarking to me that it was difficult to teach “smoothness” to prospective racing car drivers — they sometimes got quicker, but never smoother than the drivers that started out smooth.
In addition to innate physical or neurological differences, you know that personality type also has to figure into the driving equation. For example, overly aggressive types can be awful drivers, as can be overly timid drivers.
My observation is that people are generally decent drivers, regardless of personality or attributes (physical or otherwise), when they bring “anticipation” and “mechanical sympathy” to the task at hand. Thinking a couple of steps ahead keeps you from having sphincter moments, and understanding a bit about the “horse” underneath you will surely help you from getting thrown off.
Trying to accelerate out of a snow bank by immediately nailing the accelerator is always a telltale sign of someone who has absolutely no bond with his horse.
Of course there is, and always has been, some stereotyping about driving capabilities along gender and age lines — something that’s reflected in insurance premiums. For example, teenage boys, who are perceived to be risk takers, pay a lot more than teenage girls.
“I hate that,” says Lee Romanov, of InsuranceHotline.com. “This industry (vehicle insurance) is the only one that still allows for ratings based on stereotyping. No one else does that. You have responsible girls and you have responsible boys — that’s the bottom line. You shouldn’t be quoted based on what they think you might do in the future.”
With tongue in cheek (I think), Romanov notes that the biggest influence over how good a driver you are is actually your Zodiac sign. She examined the driving record of more than 100,000 people with varying Zodiac signs, and said the results were “overwhelmingly” clear: Drivers with certain Zodiac signs seemed destined to have more accidents, while other signs were destined to have more tickets.
Libras are the worst. They’re not good at making snap decisions, and their propensity for creating balance and harmony, makes them politely flag drivers through, which often causes others to rear-end them.
What do you think Mr. or Ms. Libra? Were you born bad, or made bad? Or a victim of a conspiracy theory? Either way, food for thought.
Watch the signs
Insurance Hotline’s Lee Romanov runs a website called carcarma.com that lists driver types according to zodiac signs (tongue firmly in cheek, of course). Here’s the rundown from worst to best:
- LIBRA not good at snap decisions
- AQUARIUS inflexible and rebellious
- ARIES impatient and warrior-like
- PISCES sign of directionally-challenged fish, enjoy daydreaming
- SCORPIO dominating and vengeful
- TAURUS sign of the obstinate Bull, charges red lights
- SAGITTARIUS experienced risk takers
- CAPRICORN goal oriented
- VIRGO attention to detail
- CANCER homebodies, view other motorists as family
- GEMINI original multi-taskers
- LEO Generous, comfortable sharing