Amid traffic gloom, a shining moment for Pinoy drivers

The Shell Global Driving Experiment is a groundbreaking study that employed a combination of biometric data from the latest in wearable technology combined with driving, traffic, weather data and a chatbot to truly understand the emotional and external forces that impact drivers on the road


Being the worst country for a driver to be (community-based traffic and navigation-app Waze ranked the Philippines last in its 2017 annual Driver Satisfaction Index) perhaps enabled Filipino drivers to develop a unique mindset that enabled them to score high in a worldwide driving study initiated by oil giant Shell.

Results of the Shell Global Driving Experiment revealed that Filipino drivers are the most efficient—and even enjoyed smoother journeys—compared to their counterparts in Malaysia, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Done in partnership with Goldsmiths, University of London, the Shell Global Driving Experiment collected data from 300 participants from 11 participating countries, including the Philippines.

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

The study explained 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.

A wearable fitness tracker was also provided to every participant, and each was also asked a series of questions via the Chatbot.

Over 300 participants

For the Philippine segment of the study, the over 300 participants who participated logged nearly 2,000 journeys in and around Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao area.

From this experiment, the Philippines earned an average efficiency score of 72 percent while making an average 16.2 km journey distance from these journeys.

The average driving speed logged was 18 kph, while the average journey time was one hour.

Filipino drivers were able to get an average smooth trip score of 98 percent, quite high considering the unpleasant driving conditions in the country. This efficiency score is better than those in Malaysia, Germany, and The Netherlands.

The results of the study also showed that, contrary to a common local stereotype, gender has no significant influence on driving performance, and personality type was the more likely to predict driving style.

Two personalities

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

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.

This type of driver adapts well to any situation in life and exercises caution on the road and contributes to outstanding driver performance scores.

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.

(In other countries like Germany, the study showed that drivers performed better when they were alone in the car.)

The Shell Global Driving Experiment also confirmed that stress is a constant emotion felt by Filipinos on the road.

For example, drivers who were on their way to work were more stressed than those who were on the road for other purposes.

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.

This is also true in other countries. Dutch drivers who hadn’t eaten or were dehydrated were less confident and assertive contributing to a lower driving efficiency scores.

Understanding needs

“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.

Shell initiated the experiment to enable the company to understand the huge range of influences that impact drivers daily, beyond the mechanical function of fuels and engines.

In the end, Shell expects that the insights gained from the study would help them come up with even better product offerings, and at the same time, help everyday drivers understand what impacts their own performance on the road.

Yam added that the experiment will help Shell create better products and services, such as developing new fuels like Shell V-Power with Dynaflex Technology (which features powerful cleaning agents that help maintain the cleanliness of key fuel system components) and expand non-fuel offerings at Shell Select.

“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.

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