Tricounty News

Do drivers overestimate their skills?



Dear Trooper Kathy: I'm working on a story about driving safety. I thought you might have some input from the State Patrol's perspective. We recently posted a poll on our web site asking people to rate their driving skills. Sixty-six percent said they were above average to one degree or another. Do you think drivers overestimate their driving skills?

TROOPER KATHY SAYS: Yes, I believe people GREATLY overestimate their driving skills. Instead let's ask them some questions.

SEATBELTS: 1 point for each yes

Do You ALWAYS wear your seatbelt?

Do you wear it correctly?

Do you wear it, even when you only have a couple of blocks to go?

Do you require (not request) everyone in your vehicle to wear their safety belts, all the time?

DRIVING LAWS: 1 point for each yes

Do you always obey the speed limit? (Or do you drive a "FEW" miles an hour over the limit?

Do You STOP COMPLETELY at all stop signs?

Do you leave 5-6 stripes between your vehicle and the car in front of you when traveling at highway speeds?

Do you leave 2-3 stripes between your vehicle and the car in front of you when traveling "in Town"?

DRIVING BEHAVIORS: 1 point for each no

Do you ever talk on the cell phone while driving?

Do you study your GPS while driving?

Do you put on your make-up or shave while driving?

Do you ever drive after having one or two drinks?

Have you ever driven when you felt "impaired"?

TRAFFIC STOPS: 1 point for each no

Have you ever been stopped by law enforcement and received a ticket or a warning for your driving behavior?

Have you ever lied to law enforcement?

Do you know the law enforcement officers by their first name? (unless it is from positive meetings!)

TRAFFIC CRASHES: 1 point for each no

Have you ever been involved in a "minor" property damage traffic crash (fender bender)?

Have you ever been involved in a traffic crash which resulted in a personal injury?

Have you ever been involved in a traffic crash that resulted in a traffic death?

0-5 pointsÐYou are definitely a POOR driver. Consider signing up for some driving improvement classes or walking.

6-10 points-You are a below average driver. There is LOTS of room for improvement. Perhaps a bicycle is in your future.

11-15 points-You are an average driver. Make an effort to change a few of your bad habits. You show signs of becoming a GOOD DRIVER.

16-19 points-You are a GREAT DRIVER! You are in the minority. Feel free to give your spouse and friends TIPS on "how to drive!

If you have any questions regarding traffic safety and/or traffic laws, please e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Sgt. Pederson will not offer advice on specific situations or real events, which involve law enforcement.