Unconscious desires and the need for pleasure, as discussed by psychoanalysts such as Sigmund Freud, can explain many of the unsafe actions of drivers in modern times.

Psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud and his followers had a large impact on western society in the mid-20th century. One can point to many movies, “The Seven Year Itch” with Marilyn Monroe, as an example of the public’s preoccupation with its unconscious intentions and triggers. A key tenant of Psychoanalysis was that human personality was affected by the combination of the Id, Superego and the Ego. The Id can be likened to the devil within us, the Superego is the little white angel which reminds us to do no wrong, and the Ego is that middle-ground where the well-adjusted human’s behaviour should reside. While Psychoanalysis is well past passe its observations can  be helpful in understanding driver behaviour in modern times.

The Id within us is that portion of our functioning that is governed by the constant search to achieve pleasure and gratification. We could eat chocolate cake once in a while but the Id within us would force us to eat chocolate cake everyday, every minute, if it had its way. There are many examples of this kind of functioning in our transportation environment.

Our Id tells us that we need fast cars. No, not just fast cars, but ones that can accelerate at enormous rates. Like chocolate cake, we cannot get enough acceleration. We need to have a car that can accelerate faster than the other Id-controlled fella next to us in the other lane.

Our Id tells us we need noise. No mufflers. The louder the better because this attracts others to us. It produces the attention that we desperately need. (Notwithstanding that we do not realize that most persons simply think “look at that brainless idiot in the loud car”).

Our Id tells us that we need constant stimulation. We need to talk to our passenger while we drive. We need to have the radio on as loud as possible (for more of that attention that we desperately need). And while talking to our passenger and listening to our loud radio we need to be looking at the latest text message our our small-phone while we consider what will be our witty response.

Our Id tells us we need to have very large and heavy pick-up trucks with high suspensions. The higher the better. Not that we ever ride cross-country in some wilderness, it is the image that counts… and more of that attention that we need so badly.

Our Id tells us we need various drugs. Alcohol and cannabis. The more the better. And it is even more pleasurable if we can ride high and not get caught. Because we can post various video clips of our dangerous acts on our U-tube and gain more attention.

Yes, Psychoanalysis is well past its prime, and much-forgotten except by those Psychologists and Psychiatrists who need their PhDs & med degrees.  But it used to be helpful, in some ways, in directing attention to what mechanisms lead to our serious injuries and death. And it goes well beyond to understanding so many ills of our society.