How I Learned How to Drive

4 April 2017

We all learn different skills throughout our lives, the one skill that I learned is a very common one, driving. At some point in our lives we have learned to develop this skill. It’s one of the most involved things to do, yet the simplest to do without thinking about. Of course you’re thinking, driving, no problem I could do it in my sleep. But have you ever thought about, how do I know how to drive? I know I haven’t. But now as I think about it, I have been developing this skill since I was young. It’s a little thing called learning. How do we learn?

Well, “we learn by association” (Locke and Hume, p. 313). There are some different ways for learning, for example “In observational learning, we learn by watching others’ experiences and examples” (Myers, 2007, p. 315). So my parents have been a huge impact on the way I drive, by observing them I learned that my foot should go on the gas pedal to make it go, on the brake to stop and that my hands go on the wheel to keep control the vehicle.

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“This process of observing and imitating a specific behavior is often called modeling” (p. 341).

Classical conditioning is another way of learning, it is “a basic form of learning by which all organisms adapt to their environment” (p. 316). This form of learning allowed me to understand why I tense up when people suddenly slam on their brakes at red lights. You see, one time while driving the car in front of me didn’t want to run a red light so he slammed on his brakes causing me to slam on mine and well the car behind me wasn’t paying attention and ran into me. So now every time I’m at a red light I tense up when I see a car behind me because I am afraid he/she won’t stop.

Another form of learning that was involved in me learning how to drive is operant learning. This type of learning allowed me to become a better driver because I was rewarded for doing something right and punished for doing some wrong. As I was driving around with my dad he always hit my shoulder if I was speeding and told me to slow down, he would say if I didn’t then he wouldn’t take me to get my license. So I would automatically slow down because I wanted my license. This is also known as “negative punishment” (p. 332).

As a German philosopher once said “important ideas are first ridiculed, then attacked, and finally taken for granted” (Schopenhauer, p. 322). You see the simple things we do while driving are taken for granted because we no longer need to think about them when doing them, we just kind of do it out of habit. Which leads me to the consciousness levels of driving, “driving a car – consciousness focuses our concentration on the car and the traffic” (Myers, 2007, p. 271). But of course we all tend to do more then one thing while driving. Awareness varies with our attentional spotlight” (p. 271). Since I have been driving for about three years now and have had some practice, driving no longer requires my undivided attention which allows me to focus on other things (p. 271). When I drive I am more then likely doing something else other then concentrating on my how I am driving. The most common thing I do while driving is talk on my cell phone. Yes, I know this is bad to do and that it is the reason for many accidents but I do it without thinking about it.

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