Back in 2016, The Telegraph published a great piece on driver personality types. It’s pretty comprehensive, making use of a survey and a quiz designed by A Proper Scientist. Writer Tim Gibson did a fine job pulling all this together, pointing out that this wasn’t just fun and fluffy. By knowing what driver type you are, he said, you could help improve Britain’s roads.
By contrast, our little piece IS intended to be just fun and fluffy, with no serious purpose.
Our types are based on The Telegraph’s, with a bit of mickey-taking thrown in. We’ve assigned each type a name, so get ready to spot yourself and your family member/workmate/enemy as a Norman, Laura, Harriet, Alan, or Sheila.
Norman has been driving forever, possibly before you were born — if so, he will remind you of this. In his many years on the road, Norman has never had an accident, except possibly one or two that definitely weren’t his fault.
Norman is supremely confident in his driving abilities and judgement. Asked to rate his own abilities, he would unhesistatingly put himself in the top few percent of the UK, and possibly the world. He believes the bulk of the motoring population could reasonably be described as idiots.
Norman does not always obey the motoring laws of the land. After all, these have been put in place for drivers without his superior experience and ability. And as he always has an impeccable sense of what is safe, he’s allowed to break them whenever he likes.
Rating: Annoying; nowhere near as good as he thinks he is.
Laura is easily identified because she’s sitting 0.2mm from your rear bumper on the motorway. Despite the fact that you’re already doing 80mph, it’s imperative that you move over immediately so that Laura can get to her destination. She may be communicating this to you through exasperated or obscene hand signals.
In almost every driving situation, Laura thinks that the designated speed limit is actually a minimum. Not that she’s keen on any sort of driving regulation. After all, she proves every day that she’s perfectly capable of simultaneously drinking a latte, checking her Instagram page, piloting the car through a built-up area and honking her horn at you for being too slow at a junction, you *&$$*! muppet.
Laura firmly believes that 99% of accidents are caused by nervous and diffident drivers like Harriett (see below).
Rating: Literally an accident waiting to happen.
When you get in Harriet’s car, you assume an awesome responsibility. Your role will be roughly equivalent to talking a passenger through landing a jumbo jet after the pilot has passed out. You will need to be instructor, coach and counsellor. You’ll also require nerves of steel to cope with Harriet’s frankly terrible driving manoeuvres and incessant apologising.
Harriet is not confident about her driving. To some extent this is justified, because, to be honest, she can’t drive for toffee. However, Harriet’s nervousness amplifies her lack of ability, creating a positive feedback loop that elevates her to the apex of dithering incompetence.
Harriet tries to mitigate these problems by only ever going on routes she’s familiar with, often setting out at 4 am to avoid the traffic.
Note: Harriet easily unleashes Laura’s psychotic rage.
Rating: more sympathetic than Norman or Laura, but still a nightmare.
It’s 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning, and Alan is driving his family 500 miles back from Scotland. The three-lane motorway is deserted, and driving conditions are perfect. Alan is doing 69.9 mph.
That’s because, regardless of the circumstances, Alan always obeys every driving regulation.
Alan observes driving rules religiously and expects everyone else to as well. He would love to see rule-breakers mercilessly punished, including making mobile phone users eat their own handsets. If he was Transport Minister, Alan would introduce many additional driving laws, such as compulsory annual driving tests, restricting licences to 25-70 year olds, and bans on pedestrians wearing distractingly bright colours.
As Alan’s passenger, you may be required to jot down number plates of rule-breakers, in order to inform the proper authorities. After all, as he endlessly points out, if everyone followed the rules, there would be far fewer accidents.
And of course, he’s right. If only he wasn’t so smug about it.
Rating: Safe, but sanctimonious.
Let’s say you’re commuting into the city and inching forward in nose-to tail traffic. Suddenly, someone tears up the bus lane, illegally bypassing dozens of patiently queuing cars. It’s Laura, of course. “Look at that!” you scream. “Don’t you dare let her in! Do. Not. Let. Her. In.”
But someone already has, waving Laura in with a gentle smile. It’s Sheila, peacemaker and all-round good egg.
As drivers around her rage, fume, sneer or quiver with fear, Sheila floats above it all. Once in her car, she enters a state of Zen-like calm. Her mind roams freely, connecting with a higher universal consciousness and love of all life forms.
All this makes Sheila exasperatingly understanding and forgiving. Cut her up at a roundabout? Well, we all make mistakes. Tailgate her on the motorway? Maybe it’s an emergency. And so on — nothing rattles her metal-and-glass mobile cage.
Sharing a car with Sheila is a bit like watching It’s A Wonderful Life. You’ll want to be a nicer human being for the next three days, then gradually revert back to your own grumpy, impatient ways. Welcome back.
Rating: Nicer than you are, unless you are her.
All types welcome at WVS
Hello Norman. Greetings Laura (please don’t throw your fag down). Come in Harriet, Alan, Sheila. Yes, all driver types are welcome at WVS, where great service and reasonable prices come as standard.
We are an independent garage specialising in the VW group marques, including Audi, Volkswagen, Skoda and SEAT. WVS provides services, repairs and MOTs, delivering a main dealer level of care at affordable prices. To book your vehicle in, or for any enquiries, get in touch.