More than just a sweet lover

CHANDA ROMERO and other cast members of the 1970’s movie film dubbed as: “Basta Driver, Sweet Lover” may not be the only inspiration for Filipino drivers today left to boost our morale. Despite the travails of everyday grind on our local roads, a recent study conducted by oil giant Shell revealed that drivers of our proud race are the most efficient—thus, even enjoyed smoother journeys compared to other countries.

Our unique mindset may have enabled us to score high in a worldwide driving study based from the Shell Global Driving Experiment results.

In Photo: Shell V-Power Brand Manager Mark Malabanan (from left), Goldsmiths, University of London analyst Cleary Ahern, health and diet guru Nadine Tengco, award-winning race car driver Michele Bumgarner, and actor and motoring enthusiast Jericho Rosales

“This may be attributed to a combination of acceleration and braking technique behind the wheel in addition to the time you can cover an X distance,” explained Goldsmiths University of London analyst Cleary Ahern when Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. held a press conference at White Space in Makati City.

“It takes years of research in what actually impacts this,” she added.

According to her, they collected data from 300 participants from 11 participating countries which included the Philippines.

Through the use of an app, the drivers’ performances were scored by measuring speed, acceleration, and frequency of engaging the brakes.

It was divulged that when there were instances of harsh acceleration or harsh braking, participants got lower scores. A smooth drive, on the other hand, gave higher scores to participants.

To thoroughly conduct the experiment, a portable fitness tracker was also provided to every participant, which they had to wear for two weeks. Each of them was also asked a series of questions via the Chatbot.

For the Philippine’s participation, the study disclosed that the over 300 participants logged nearly 2,000 journeys in and around Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao area.

Here, the Filipinos earned an average efficiency score of 72 percent while making a mean of 16.2 km distance from these journeys.

Their speed was 18 kph, while the journey time was one hour on average.

With this, this writer learned that Filipino drivers were able to get an average smooth trip score of 98 percent—quite surprisingly high considering the unfriendly driving conditions in the country. This was, in fact, better than those in Malaysia, Germany, and The Netherlands.

Battle of the sexes

Ahern, one of the female analysts in their university and also a psychologist by profession even shed some light that the results of the study showed that, contrary to common belief, gender has no significant influence on driving performance.

“It was the personality of the drivers that more likely to predict their driving style,” she said.

From the study, two high-performing personality types were revealed among Filipino driver participants: the so-called Modern Man and the Gamma Woman.

For them, the Modern Man is a type of driver that possesses unique combination of sensitive and ambitious personality traits, leading to their ability to maintain a well-balanced emotional state of mind while behind the wheel.

The Gamma Woman, on the other hand, is known for her openness and emotional stability both on and off the road, contributing to exceptional driving performance scores. The study also acknowledged that the presence of children and additional passengers in the vehicle usually led to better driving performance.

The Shell Global Driving Experiment also confirmed that stress is a constant emotion felt by Filipinos on the road. Even food played a role in the driving performance of Filipinos. Participants of the study who reported feeling hungry during their journey ended up with lower driver performance scores. The presence of actor Jericho Rosales, female racing icon Michelle Bumgarner and diet guru Nadine Tengco even enliven the discussion as they shared their own experiences on the road.

“It’s advisable to bring water and a few snacks when one goes on a trip to their various destinations within Metro Manila and going through traffic,” said Tengco, in which the two amiably also agreed.

This also holds true in other countries. Dutch drivers, for one, who hadn’t eaten or were dehydrated were less confident and assertive which contributed to lower driving efficiency scores.

To make life’s journeys better

“This driving experiment was part of Shell’s effort to understand the needs of its customers. Looking at these behaviors would help us create better products and services,” explained Anthony Lawrence Yam, VP for Retail of Pilipinas Shell in a separate occasion.

“Our aim is to use the findings from this study to develop and design products, services, and initiatives that respond to our customers’ needs and make life’s journeys better,” Yam said.

In the end, Shell expects that the insights gained from the study would be used to help them come up with even better product offerings, whilst help everyday drivers around the world understand what impacts their own performance on the road.

Image Credits: Ronald Rey M. de los Reyes

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Turning Points 2018