The importance of assessing our own driving abilities

While most of us would like to think we are capable of being objective when it comes to assessing our driving abilities, it might prove to be a more difficult exercise than we imagine. That's because not only are we inherently defensive when it comes to this issue -- when is the last time anyone admitted to being a bad driver? -- but perceptions of what is acceptable behavior behind the wheel varies from person to person.

The good news is that there are certain avenues through which we can find out once and for all whether we can be confident in our driving judgment and abilities, or whether we need to think about making some changes.

The first, and perhaps simplest, way to do this is to openly assess whether you engage in any of the following behaviors, long identified as being among the most risky:

  • Speeding: Surveys how show that as many as 35 percent of drivers admit to exceeding the posted speed limit, greatly increasing the risk of a serious crash.
  • Drowsy driving: As we discussed in a previous post, the accident risk for drivers who get between four to five hours of sleep is 4.3 times higher.
  • Impaired driving: This includes not just driving with a blood alcohol limit of .08 or higher, but driving while "buzzed" or under the influence of drugs.

In the event you question your ability to accurate assess your driving or would like further -- and less subjective -- proof, experts indicate that there is another way and, perhaps not surprisingly, it's related to our smartphones. Specifically, there are now many apps available designed to measure driving performance.  

By way of example, consider the HighwayHero app developed and offered by insurance giant Liberty Mutual. It's designed to track a driver's performance (acceleration, speeding, phone use, hard braking, hard cornering, etc.), score them against other drivers and offer constructive feedback.

What all of this really underscores is that it's important for us to sometimes examine our own behaviors to ensure that we're continuing to help make the road safe through good driving habits and not subconsciously adopting the bad behaviors of our fellow motorists.

Always remember, however, that if you've been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a car accident caused by the recklessness of another to consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your options for seeking justice. 

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