Survey finds that 76 percent of Americans think they are terrific drivers. They're not.

Record player in car
© Don't play with the record player while you're driving! / Getty Images

It's America, where everyone is above average.

It's like Lake Wobegon where all the kids are above average. It seems all drivers are above average, too! A new survey has found that fully 76 percent of Americans say they are good drivers, but in fact, there is a bit of overconfidence bias happening here. But by any standard they are not good drivers at all, with 93 percent admitting to unsafe behavior.

Insurance company Esurance writes:

After we got a good picture of how safely people think they're driving, we wanted to know how safely people are actually driving. This brought us to our next question: Which of the following do you do while driving? Answer choices included various unsafe driving behaviors such as fiddling with the navigation, eating, speeding, texting, running yellow or red lights, and tailgating.

What is interesting about this is that most people wouldn't consider eating or fiddling with the dashboard record player as unsafe behavior; we are all inveterate multi-taskers. All anyone really hears about these days (and all that is regulated anywhere that I know of) with respect to distracted driving is the phone and the text messaging, but Esurance gives us statistics on the scale of the danger from these other distractions, finding that 57 percent of drivers admit to playing with their radios while eating lunch comes next at 37 percent.

Chart of percentages© Esurance

Esurance has some good suggestions to ensure that every driver is above average:

  • Put your phone on do not disturb or turn it off completely while driving.
  • Plan to eat before or after driving.
  • Create a car playlist with a run-time long enough for your drive, and put it on before you begin driving.
  • Plan your route beforehand to avoid having to change the navigation. If you must change your route, pull over first
  • Store all items that could roll around in your glove compartment or trunk to avoid the need to reach for them.
  • Secure all pets and children in place before you get on the road.

Much of this is a design problem; there is so much distraction inside the car, and every car is different so that people have to re-learn how to operate a car every time they change. I have suggested previously that car makers should have to "simplify and standardize entertainment and navigation systems".

And stop designing cars like rolling living rooms. I never fall asleep on my bike.

Survey finds that 76 percent of Americans think they are terrific drivers. They're not.
It's America, where everyone is above average.

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