Linear, Lateral and Chaotic…

Linear, Lateral and Chaotic. These are the three styles of driving a car I have noticed and whether you like it or not you are one of them. Don’t worry I am too. I chose these labels because they really do best describe how some people function behind the wheel of a car. It’s the only vehicle on our roads where I’ve witnessed these driving styles. Motorcyclists and truck drivers all seem to fit one style of driving within their vehicles, and yet it is car drivers that have developed these three distinct styles. Let me explain them in more detail shall I?

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Linear Drivers.

Like all things linear these drivers, drive in straight lines… and I’m not talking about the curvature of the road either by the way. Linear drivers by default are rigid in the way in which they interact with the driving experience and are fairly easy to spot on the road. They pick a lane and stay in it, so much so that they’re content to sit in a lane that has stopped rather than venturing into a lane where the traffic has moved on. They are mappers, they work out their directions to their destination and select their turning lanes before they even need to consider moving across. Linear drivers follow the road rules to a fault and can often frustrate Lateral and Chaotic drivers as they hum along under the speed limit. It is rare to spot a Linear driver using a mobile phone or o

ther distracting devices whilst driving, in fact most Linear drivers would rather their passengers didn’t distract them either. They pick safe nondescript cars such as Toyota Camrys and Corollas. The seated position behind the wheel often gives away a Linear driver as they sit erect with two hands gripping at 2 and 11 o’clock on the wheel. They stare ahead and watch the traffic in front of their car. Linear drivers are most likely to be rear-ended or struck in the side by a merging vehicle as their rigidness enhances all of their blind spots. Good Linear drivers can perform technical moves such as parallel parking and 3 point turns rather well when there is no traffic around to confuse their senses. Linear drivers are the least likely of the three style of drivers to notice you when you’re waving at them from another vehicle, the side of the road or from the seat beside them.



Lateral Drivers.

Spacial awareness and interconnectedness is the Lateral driver’s strengths. Like all lateral thinkers these drivers think outside the traffic that they’re sitting in. Lateral drivers can change lanes with ease and are aware of their skill and ability. Most often they understand how their car works and don’t feel the need to “push it to see what she’s got” or the need to “be careful I don’t want to break something”. Road rules are still followed but there is a more consistent flow of movement and not the stop and go motion associated with their Linear driving counterparts. Lateral drivers watch all the traffic as they move through it. They watch the traffic all the way up the line to determine which lane is best and are also aware of what is happening behind them and beside them at all times. Of all the driving styles it is lateral drivers that feel comfortable talking to their passengers, looking out at passing scenery and their position at the wheel is one of relaxed yet alert. You wont see a lateral driver white knuckling the steering wheel. Due to their spacial awareness they find parking and changing road conditions easy to tackle. Lateral drivers are the least likely to have an accident on the road thanks to their “oneness” with the traffic world around them.



Chaotic Drivers.

Of all the driving styles Chaotic drivers are the easiest to spot. These are the drivers weaving in and out of traffic yet never really making headway from Lateral drivers and only making Linear drivers more determined to stay safely in their chosen lane. Chaotic drivers take risks regularly including overtaking in small spaces and tail-gaiting the slower lanes of traffic. Accidents and mishaps are most likely to occur for the Chaotic driver as they try to bend their way through traffic. Seated behind the wheel in a position of recline with often only one hand on the wheel to emphasis their belief that they of all the drivers are the most casual and skilled. The reclined position demonstrates a sense of relaxation yet often these drivers are anything but with many prone to agitation or frustration at the traffic conditions around them. Of all the driving styles it is Chaotic drivers who regularly text, facebook and take photos whilst driving. Chaotic drivers like Lateral drivers will drive anything but due to the nature of their driving style will often opt to replace their back tires with “cheapies” for those moments when rubber needs to be laid, and because of this look it is Chaotic drivers who are most often signaled by police for a random road worthy check. Chaotic drivers operate under the delusion that they are skilled drivers and that they can handle any road condition, but due to their nature they cannot account for the reactions of Linear and Lateral drivers when conditions change.


So which driver are you? Do you recognize these driving styles?


One Response to “Linear, Lateral and Chaotic…”

  1. Interesting post. I drive alot with my job and have treat the roads like it’s a game. You really do have try to figure out what everyone is doing so you can get from point A to point B safely. Otherwise, if you’re in your own world chances are someones going to pop in and give you a scare. On the average day 4-5 people will have almost gave me a near death experience here in Houston. All chaotic drivers. Hard to escape this madness, but, luckily I’ve been able to avoid any serious accidents. It’s most definitely because I’m a lateral driver. Another thing to note we are always on the look out for others who might crash into us or others. Texters who veer over into our lanes, drunk drivers, people playing with radios, mirrors, makeup. We like to anticipate their moves (ie: lane changes without signaling) and watching body language like sudden head turns, shoulder and elbow jerks. We know what you’re going to do whether you tell us or not. We can read you very easily! The others who cannot suffer for this. Chaotic drivers should be forced to drive with a 10 ft thick bumpers to make it harder for them to get around.

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