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Overconfidence and car accidents

A large majority of the people on the road believe themselves to be above average drivers. A psychological phenomenon known as illusory superiority leads people to believe that they are better at a skill than they really are. This is particularly true in the case of a complex action like safe driving. There are as many definitions of good driving as there are drivers on the road. People who speed can simply argue that obeying the speed limit is unimportant for good driving and move on, confident in their belief that they are great drivers.

Signs of poor driving

People looking for an accurate picture of their skills as a driver should look to others, or to objective criteria of good driving, for information. There are evaluation tools available to judge driving ability. Insurance companies and safety groups have developed applications for cell phones or some that connect directly to a vehicle to judge driving skills. Drivers preferring something less formal should consider asking someone to discuss their driving candidly. Perhaps the simplest trick is to consider how other drivers react. Bad drivers are more likely to find themselves the recipients of honking and rude gesturing than other drivers. A driver who is honked at on a regular basis is almost certainly doing something wrong. 

Learn to drive safely

Some causes of poor driving cannot be overcome. There are physical limitations that can make it impossible to drive safely. The majority of drivers, however, could improve their skills if they chose to do so. Attitude can make a tremendous difference.

Aggressive drivers and careless drivers are a danger to others for no reason other than having the wrong attitude about driving. Speeding and distracted driving are responsible for countless car accidents. Drivers who understand that safety is priority number one when operating a motor vehicle do not drive at excessive speeds or use time behind the wheel to multitask.

Some skills, like lane discipline, vehicle control and the proper use of mirrors can be improved with study and repetition. Most drivers received their last formal driving education as teenagers. Drivers should be willing to refresh their understanding of good driving habits as adults. Remember, most drivers believe they are above average. Many of them are wrong.

Source: USA Today, "Are you a good driver? Well, you probably think you are," by Christopher Elliott, 26 March 2017 

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Ben Schmitt

Attorney Ben Schmitt

Mr. Schmitt has over 25 years of legal experience in Missouri and Kansas, and he has been first chair in over 100 jury trials in state and federal courts. He is recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal, Super Lawyers, and Martindale Hubbell as one of the best personal injury lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.