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Driver's Seat
Study: Who we are is how we drive
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We reveal who we are in several ways: how we speak, what we eat, our styles of dress, what we laugh at, what makes us angry or happy, and so on.

Also, how we drive our cars. Or so says Emanuel W. Ricochet, Ph.D., director of the Final Skidoo Research Institute of Elkins, Ky. He has studied thousands of motorists, trying to link their personalities and backgrounds to the way they operate their motor vehicles under varied situations.

For example, Dr. Ricochet says he has learned that red-haired women with dimples tend to flirt with other motorists more frequently than non-dimpled women with dark hair. When asked why this is true, Dr. Ricochet said, “It has something to do with genetics as it relates to the Big Bang and the invention of the hydramatic shift by Olds or Ford by one of those guys. One of their wives was red-haired and dimpled, and things just sort of went out of control from that point.”

Other findings of the FSRI are as follows:

Presbyterians aged 50 and over seldom check their rear-view and side mirrors before passing other cars. The FSRI report said, “These normally well-mannered folks eventually get tired of straggling along behind the other guy. When this happens they suddenly pull out and give it the gas. Our best guess is that Presbyterians believe in pre-destination, which says when your time is up there’s not much you can do about it. So why waste time looking out for other cars?”

Motorists who text while driving are usually lousy spellers. Researchers learned this by examining the cellphones of drivers who were killed or seriously injured in highway crashes. The low level of the drivers’ intelligence was indicated not only by their texting while driving, but also by their inability to correctly spell such common words as “awesome” and “Miley Cyrus.”

Drivers who engage in cosmetic behavior, such as shaving or putting on makeup while underway, tend to have shorter life spans than persons who pay close attention to recommended safety measures. An FSRI report said, “Motorists who persist in checking their facial appearance in the rear-view mirror are usually self-centered, narcissistic and frequently dead.”

Michigan residents who move to Florida tend to believe that Florida has the worst drivers in the nation. Florida motorists feel the same way about Canadian motorists. Fewer than 6 percent of drivers in any state believe that local drivers are competent and trustworthy.

An unusually high percentage of male drivers arrested for road-rage behavior were found to possess active prescriptions for Viagra, Cialis and other erectile dysfunction drugs. FSRI physicians said, “Although we cannot prove any necessary connection between road rage and sexual frustration, we suspect that one exists. If Sigmund Freud were still alive we’re sure he would see the link between a flaccid schwantstucher and its angry owner flipping the bird at other drivers.”

When interviewed, 44 percent of Pinellas County motorists said they did not realize that the left lane is the recommended one for passing another motorist. A typical response was, “If I’m in the left lane and going too slow, the other guy still has the right-hand lane to pass me, doesn’t he? So what’s the problem?”

Another local finding was that long-time Pinellas motorists often become confused while driving on Tyrone Boulevard and the few other “hypotenuse” streets that are found here. These are the streets that are not part of the standard north-south and east-west grid. The FSRI said, “When these drivers suddenly realize they are traveling northwest or southeast, they become disoriented and afraid that they have been somehow transported to Boston or other cities with street plans designed by drunken madmen.”

According to the FSRI research, politically conservative drivers and liberal drivers are not much different from each other when it comes to safety, road courtesy, and obeying traffic laws. However, some contrasts do exist. Conservatives have better hearing, because they choose to listen to gospel music and Rush Limbaugh broadcasts, which can be performed at a lower volume. Many liberals – especially those under age 25 – are slightly deaf from playing rock music so loudly that the resulting vibrations loosen dental fillings of motorists in nearby cars.

Dr. Ricochet said he looks forward to an upcoming study in which motorists will be asked about their attitudes toward car manufacturers. He said, “We want to find motorists’ reaction to recent news stories in which General Motors and Toyota were revealed as callous, profit-hungry and contemptuous of their customers’ safety. In the face of these findings, motorists who persist in driving GM and Toyota vehicles are likely to score high on our ‘naive’ and ‘downright stupid’ scales. Or perhaps we’ll just call them ‘adventurous risk-takers.’”

Bob Driver is a former columnist for the Clearwater Sun. His email address is
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