As argued by DeBondt and Thaler : “Perhaps the most robust finding in the psychology of judgment is that people are overconfident.”
In the 1960s, two psychiatrists published a study where they asked 50 drivers to rate their own skill, ability, and alertness the last time they were behind the wheel.
About two-thirds of them said that they were at least as competent as usual.
Several of them described themselves being extra good or 100%.
The strange thing was that these interviews were all conducted at a hospital, where these drivers had ended up that day.
In fact, 68% of these drivers were directly responsible for their accidents, 56% had totalled their vehicles, and 44% of them would in fact go on to face criminal charges.
One of the most fundamental characteristics of Homo Sapiens is that we all think we’re better than we really are.
Heikkila et al. (1999) had 20 male stroke patients evaluate their own driving ability. The neurologists evaluated 60% of the stroke patients being unable to drive, but the patients had a clear tendency to overestimate driving ability.
People are confident to be less likely involved in an accident than is the average driver. Such overconfidence has been observed in drivers from Australia (Cairney, 1982; Job, 1990), the United States (Svensen, Fischoff, and MacGregor, 1985), Canada (Matthews and Moran, 1986), Britain (Groeger and Brown, 1989), Sweden (Svenson, 1981), Finland (Näätänen and Summala, 1974), Germany (Sivak, Soler, and Tränkle, 1989a), Spain (Sivak et al., 1989a), Brazil (Sivak et al., 1989), New Zealand (Mc-Cormick et al., 1986), and France (Delhomme, 1991).
The featured image is from https://roadsafetygb.org.uk/news/n-a-3547/