Most drivers in the UK think they are “above average” but we can’t all be right, can we? What is an average driver? We can easily work out average/above average/below average for things like height, weight, intelligence and income. But how is a drivers “ability” worked out?
How come so many think they’re “above average”?
We don’t know the answer. We are not sure anyone does. However, based on our experience of training many thousands of drivers, we have tried our best to answer this question…
We Notice “Bad Driving”
It’s easy to see bad driving. Really easy. When someone cuts you up, tailgates you, pulls out in front of you, you probably assume that driver is bad. Below average, certainly not as good as you. But what if that driver had a momentary lapse in concentration, and is generally good? It doesn’t matter, the fact is you’ve made a judgement of that driver, possibly the first and last time you’ll ever see them.
First impressions count….
If you were that “bad” driver who had just pulled out, cut someone up, tailgated them, how would you feel if someone regarded you as a “bad driver”? Chances are you would say you had a lapse in concentration, the other driver was driving too slow, they changed lanes at the last minute…
We’re often all too eager to present mitigating facts.
We Don’t Notice “Good Driving” (as much):
A good driver is aware of their environment, and other drivers. They observe, anticipate and plan. They avoid “reacting” last minute to things, instead they anticipate and often know what another driver is going to possibly do, even before that other driver knows themselves.
Nothing generally “all of a sudden” happens with a good driver, most of the time. As a result good driving mostly goes undetected.
Were you aware that driver in front had realised you were driving too close, and so increased their distance from the vehicle in front to compensate? Were you aware that the driver at that blind junction took a little longer to look, and so avoid pulling out in front of you? What about that driver on the motorway who did a blind spot check and saw you sat there – and so didn’t pull out in front of you?
The fact is we don’t see most of the good stuff – it’s just happens.
Making A Judgement Based on Good vs Bad:
We feel most drivers make a (totally wrong) judgement call as to their driving ability, based on these distorted observations of good vs bad driving. We see bad driving and don’t “see” good driving (as much). This in itself is what possibly leads people to say they are “above average”.
In this article we have generalised to get some key point across. There are drivers who know they are below average, others who are greatly above average. However, for the majority who say they are “above average” chances are they are basing it on distorted observations.