Drivers overestimate their skill behind the wheel

It's a quirk of the human mind, apparently, that people think they're better drivers than they are. Whether a person is driving on roads in Georgia or somewhere else in the country, chances are that they think they're an above-average driver. The first study to identify the phenomenon took place more than five decades ago.

Two researchers interviewed 50 people who had just been in car crashes, and the interviews were conducted while the people were still in the hospital. Most of the accidents were categorized as the driver hitting a fixed object at a rate of speed fast enough to cause the vehicle to overturn. Reports made by the police placed the blame on the hospitalized driver in greater than 66 percent of the cases. When asked to rate themselves on a scale from very poor to expert, the drivers gave themselves ratings closer to expert. A second group, made up of people with excellent driving records, rated themselves the same as the group of hospitalized drivers.

Age is an indicator, generally speaking, of safety and skill behind the wheel. The most dangerous drivers on the road are 16-year-olds, who have an accident rate roughly twice that of any other age group and six times the rate of the safest group. The safest group in terms of age is drivers in their 60s.

People may not be very good at objectively viewing their abilities as drivers. It's good to be confident, but overconfidence on the road can lead to motor vehicle accidents. A person who is injured in a car accident might have legal claims for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses or other damages. A lawyer with experience in personal injury law may be able to help in such a case by gathering evidence in preparation for trial or by negotiating settlement with at-fault parties and their insurers.

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