‘I’m OK and you are not OK’ mental state on roads

If we could move to the I'm OK, you are OK state of mind...highway use would be a safer, more pleasant experience

We were exposed to many ideas during training at the RCMP’s Depot Division in Regina.

A lecture that I do recall was presented by a psychologist, who taught us about transactional analysis.

One of the life positions we learned about, I’m OK and you are not OK, seems to be common on our highways.

A person with that outlook is saying that I feel good about myself but I see others as damaged or less than [myself] and it is usually not healthy.

Perhaps this mindset is one of the reasons that drivers disobey the traffic rules and fail to exercise courtesy to other road users.

If we could move to the I’m OK, you are OK state of mind, not only would we be more healthy mentally, highway use would be a safer, more pleasant experience.

Communication between road users that leads to co-operation or sharing the road is an important skill that was not taught to me explicitly when I was first learning to drive. Today, this concept takes up an entire chapter in ICBC’s Learn to Drive Smart manual and is a key point during in car driving lessons.

When all parties communicate fully, we can arrive at an accommodation rather than a confrontation or conflict.

Sometimes I find it difficult stay on track when I am presented with some particularly ill-considered and selfish driving behaviour or I’m in a hurry. I find that it helps to remind myself that I am only lowering myself to their standard if I judge them to be not OK or start setting my own rules when it’s convenient.

I’m not always successful but I try. I hope you will too. Pass it on.

For more information on this topic, visit www.drivesmartbc.ca. Questions or comments are welcome by e-mail to comments@drivesmartbc.ca. Tim Schewe is a retired RCMP constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. His column appears Thursdays.

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