Flickr user Mike BurnsEnlarge Photo
For years, we’ve said that most drivers overestimate their own abilities, and now we have scientific proof to back up our theory. According to a recent study by Allstate Insurance, the majority of American drivers surveyed considered their driving knowledge, skills and safe driving habits to be “well above” other drivers on the road.
Almost two-thirds of drivers rated themselves as either “excellent” or “very good” drivers, but didn’t feel the same about their close friends or peers. Only 29 percent rated close friends as equally skilled behind the wheel, and just two percent of respondents felt that others in their age group were equally skilled.
To no one’s surprise, 81 percent of survey participants rated teen drives as either “average” or “poor” drivers, and 70 percent rated elderly motorists in the same categories.
When it comes to dangerous habits behind the wheel, the numbers are sobering. We don’t necessarily equate speeding with dangerous driving (depending upon conditions, of course), but 90 percent of the surveyed drivers admitted to speeding, with 40 percent admitting to “regularly” driving 20 miles per hour over the posted limit. That’s fast, even for us.
Nearly half the respondents admitted to driving while excessively tired, and 15 percent even admitted to driving under the influence. Equally bad, 34 percent admit to texting or e-mailing behind the wheel, with a much higher percentage of younger drivers admitting to this.
You can’t control what others do behind the wheel, and we’ve learned to always expect random acts of driving from other motorists. They may not be better drivers, but they think they are.