Posted by: safedriver | February 26, 2010

Are you a crash test dummy?

Human nature is a funny thing. We all have a few quirks that make people look at us and wonder what’s going on inside our head. I get that each time I do a different looking maneuver while driving. What appears to be wrong is only different. Have you ever noticed a driver do something annoying or odd and then feel the urge to pass them and look over to them to find out what they look like? What are you expecting to see?

Each time I’m out with a new student, we practice their right and left turns each lesson, but because they’re new at it, they sometimes go a little slower than other drivers. Each time we make a left turn at a traffic light, we get looked at by the driver who was directly behind us as they pass. What were they expecting to see? If someone typically drives slowly, should they have a sign on their forehead that says “slow”? I think my students look pretty normal and I think I’m not that scary looking, so did we meet their expectations? Did we shock them that we looked like normal people?

I’ve had this thought for quite some time though; what if I wore a “crash test dummy” mask while driving? Would that make the other drivers think twice about driving close to me? I’m sure it would give them something to talk about at the dinner table! I’ve also thought about having the crash test dummy mask on and stopping to pick up a hitchhiker. I don’t think they would want to get into my car. Would you?

Seriously, I wouldn’t do those things because it may lead to distracting other drivers. We should however stop looking at other drivers as we pass them, so as not to pass judgment on what type of person they are. They just may be a nervous or an inexperienced driver. Besides, taking your eyes off the road ahead while you stared at the driver you were passing would allow you to miss the real dangers you’re approaching; which would make you the real crash test dummy!



  1. This is a great idea. Make up inflatable ‘crash test dummies’ to put in the seat next to you. Maybe the ‘crazies on the phone’ would sit up and pay attention and stay away from you (& me). Any idea where/how to get these made?

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