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Overconfidence in driving skills can lead to accidents

Do you think you're a good driver? Are you convinced that you can "multitask" while behind the wheel? Do you judge other drivers who talk on cellphones or text, merge incorrectly or change lanes without signaling?

A recent study reported by USA Today shows that the true measure of someone's driving skills isn't how they feel about their own driving prowess, but instead how they are judged by other drivers. Even if you are convinced that you are the safest, most conscientious driver in the world, your driving habits could be perceived significantly differently by those around you on the road. According to the research, the opinions of those around you is likely a much more accurate representation of your actual skill than your own assumptions.

Getting an objective opinion

Without getting out in traffic and taking a poll of your fellow motorists, it could be difficult to find an objective gauge of your driving abilities. That is where technology can step in. There are apps that can "test" your skill according to certain criteria, including:

  • Obeying speed limits
  • Proper acceleration
  • Using turn signals
  • Phone use while the vehicle is in motion
  • Hard braking
  • Hard cornering

There are also devices that plug directly into your car's diagnostic port that perform similar functions. These have been in use by car insurance companies for a few years now (an example is the Snapshot® tool by Progressive) to give usage-based discounts to objectively safe drivers.

Research shows that some key behaviors are indicative of an increased likelihood of being involved in car accidents:

  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving while fatigued
  • Distracted driving

Of course, even if you yourself are a safe driver, you are potentially surrounded by unsafe ones every time you hit the road. If you've been injured in a car accident because of the negligent or reckless driving of another person, speak with a local personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

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