If you were honest for a minute, would you admit that, at least to a certain extent, you’ve thought everybody else on the road must be a complete idiot because of something you’ve witnessed (or been a victim of)? For a long time, I’ve held this theory that (I’ve kept to myself until now) pretty much all drivers tend to think they are the only sensible people on the road. A recent survey taken by Allstate, confirms this theory.
The survey is very interesting to say the least and reveals a marked schism in the perception of our driving abilities and knowledge versus our actual driving behavior. Get this: although 64 percent of drivers surveyed rated their own skills as “excellent” or “very good,” they only gave 29 percent of other drivers the same score.
So, theoretically, you could say that most drivers think their own safe driving skills, judgment, and driving abilities are twice as good as everyone else’s. That’s a big schism in perception when you also factor in that 89 percent admit to speeding, and that 40 percent of those surveyed say they’ve driven more than 20 miles per hour over the limit.
But, according to the survey, Americans’ bad driving habits don’t stop at speeding:
- Almost half (45 percent) say they have driven while excessively tired – to the point of almost falling asleep.
- Fifteen percent say they have driven while intoxicated, with men almost four times more likely than women to have done so (23 percent of men versus six percent of women).
- More than one-third (34 percent) have sent a text-message or email while driving, but the prevalence of the practice changes by age group. Those 18-29 years of age are the most likely to text while driving (63 percent) with drivers ages 30-44 not far behind (58 percent). Texting while driving decreases with older age groups; only 25 percent of those 45-54, six percent of those 55-64, and two percent of those over 65 admit to the practice.
Here are some other interesting tidbits: among all drivers surveyed, men are more likely to rate themselves as “excellent” than women (36 percent versus 26 percent), as are college-educated drivers (35 percent) compared to those with no degree (28 percent). Republicans also rate themselves higher (70 percent) than Democrats (61 percent) or Independents (61 percent).
What’s most telling is that 56 percent of American drivers say they have been involved in an accident, but only 28 percent of them say the accident was their own fault.
And we wonder why insurance companies just split the difference and back their own drivers’ stories nowadays. As an aside, if you get into an accident, good luck trying to get the other insurance company to agree that their driver was at fault. Those waters are murky at best.