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Studies show drivers are often overconfident

Research shows that most drivers tend to overestimate their driving abilities. This is true of drivers all over the world, but it is especially true of those in West Virginia and around the country.

The phenomenon of driver overconfidence was first discovered during a classic study conducted in the 1960s. For the study, researchers asked two groups of American motorists to rate their driving skills on a 9-point scale. The first group of drivers was interviewed while in the hospital after crashing their car. Police reports indicate that more than two-thirds of these drivers were to blame for their crashes. Meanwhile, the second group of drivers was interviewed because their demographics matched the first group of drivers and because they had excellent driving records. Researchers found that both groups rated their driving skills highly.

Over the years, many other studies have repeated the findings of the original study. For example, a Swedish study found that Swedish drivers also tend to overestimate their abilities behind the wheel. However, another U.S. study found that American drivers are even more overconfident than their Swedish counterparts, with 93 percent stating their driving skills are better than average. Of course, common sense and basic facts dictate that many people are not good drivers. For example, statistics show that teenage drivers are more dangerous than any other age group on the road. Meanwhile, studies have found that drivers in certain states, including South Carolina, Kentucky and Mississippi, have higher crash rates than drivers in other parts of the country.

Car crashes can be caused by a number of factors, including overconfidence, speeding, and driving while distracted or impaired. People who have been harmed by the negligence of another motorist might want to enlist the aid of an attorney when seeking appropriate financial damages.

Source: AL, "You think you're a pretty good driver, don't you?", Steven Austad, Sept. 15, 2018

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