Overwhelmingly, Americans think they’re great drivers. But a few years ago, a safe driving study found that we’re not the highway heroes we think we are.
In fact, while almost two-thirds (a whopping 64%) of drivers ranked themselves as “excellent” or “very good,” many of these same drivers admit to engaging in unsafe driving behaviors. The difference between them and bad drivers? They were lucky – they either didn’t get caught, or their bad behavior didn’t cause an accident. But risky behavior is risky, no matter the outcome.
The moral of the story: Even if you have a good record and even if you’ve never been pulled over and even if you’ve never had an accident, you’re probably not as safe a driver as you think you are. Still not convinced? Take our quiz to determine how safe a driver you really are:
1. Do you drive over the speed limit?
Be honest. Do you ever push the speedometer? Even if you’re the motorist who drives 4 miles over the limit, just within police radar’s margin of error, that’s some risky behavior.
I never speed. (0 points)
I keep it within 5 miles of the speed limit. (5 points)
I probably hit 10 miles over, at least on the highway. (10 points)
I’m the speed demon lapping everyone else. (15 points)
2. Have you ever driven while tired?
You’re not alone; almost half (45%) of American report having driven while excessively tired, some to the point of almost falling asleep at the wheel.
Never. I only drive when well rested. (0 points)
I’ve driven while tired, but never on the verge of falling asleep. (5 points)
Once or twice, I’ve had to crank the a/c to stay awake. (10 points)
Unfortunately, circumstances often require me to drive when very tired. (15 points)
3. Have you ever send a text message while driving?
If you’ve every texted while driving – and that includes while you’re stopped at a red light or in traffic – then you’ve engaged in dangerous driving behavior. Texting is distracting, and even a few seconds looking down at your phone can be a few seconds too many. Even so, 34% of Americans say they text while driving.
I have never, not ever!, texted while sitting in the drivers seat. (0 points)
I text in the car, but only when at a full stop. (5 points)
I sometimes check messages (but never respond) while driving. (10 points)
Yes, fine, I text while driving. (15 points)
4. Do you drink and drive?
Only 15% of Americans admit to driving while intoxicated, but that number climbs if you widen the net to simply driving after drinking. The truth is, just one beer or one glass of wine can slow your reflexes and impair your driving.
I never drink (not even one drink) if I have to drive. (0 points)
I limit myself to just one drink an hour. (5 points)
I’ll drive as long as I don’t feel intoxicated. (10 points)
I have driven while intoxicated. (15 points)
5. Do you drive while nervous?
Anxiety and nerves can create deleterious driving conditions: we’re more concerned, more on edge when we have to drive under uncomfortable conditions like snow (63% report anxiety), heavy traffic (41%), at night (29%) and long bridges (17%).
I avoid anxious driving, usually by rearranging my schedule or taking public transportation. (0 points)
I do my absolute best to avoid these situations, but sometimes they’re unavoidable. (5 points)
I can’t avoid rush hour, but I do my best to steer clear of other nerve-racking conditions. (10 points)
I regularly drive in heavy traffic, inclement weather, and other high-anxiety situations. (15 points)
6. Do you ever experience road rage?
Tailgaters. High beams in your eyes at night. Getting cut off. Road bullies. These driving situations can set off even the most zen driver, inciting road rage and its resulting aggressive behavior – behavior we’d never dream of in a face-to-face kind of situation. This impulsiveness can be extremely dangerous, and yet many drivers are unapologetic or even proud about their road rage levels.
Call me Woo-Sah, because I never get road rage. (0 points)
I feel the rage but I don’t act on it. (5 points)
I might curse or even wave hi with just one finger, but I never use my vehicle aggressively. (10 points)
I am the KING or QUEEN of road rage. (15 points)
7. Have you ever had a near miss?
This is one of the scariest situations for drivers, but also one of the most common: the near miss. Have you ever had an almost accident? A time when you looked up at the last second, swerved at the last possible moment, slammed on the brakes just in time?
No, never. (0 points)
Once or twice. Scariest moment ever! (5 points)
I’ve had this happen a few times. It wasn’t my fault though. (10 points)
This has happened more times than I’d like to admit. (15 points)
0-20 points: Safe Driver
Congrats! You’re a genuinely safe driver.
25-55 points: Not As Safe As You Think
You probably consider yourself a safe driver, but while you’re safer than many on the road, there’s still room for improvement. Look closely at your driving habits, and assess where you can do better.
60-855 points: Refresher Course
You know you’re not the meekest on the road, but you don’t consider yourself dangerous. Consider this a reality check: many of your driving habits are decidedly unsafe. Definitely look at where you can reduce dangers and drive safer.
90-105 points: Hoo Boy!
You probably consider yourself a seasoned road warrior, but know this – if you’ve never had a major accident, you’ve been lucky. Take more precautions.