Comparative perceptions of driver ability--a confirmation and expansion

Accid Anal Prev. 1986 Jun;18(3):205-8. doi: 10.1016/0001-4575(86)90004-7.


This study aimed to investigate earlier Swedish and United States research which has shown that drivers tend to rate themselves as more skillful and less risky than the average driver, and to extend the range of driver characteristics on which such ratings are made. A total of 178 male and female drivers rated "me as a driver," "an average driver" and "a very good driver" on the following eight relevant bipolar semantic differential scales: foolish-wise, unpredictable-predictable, unreliable-reliable, inconsiderate-considerate, dangerous-safe, tense-relaxed, worthless-valuable, irresponsible-responsible. The results confirmed expectations that a substantial majority of drivers, up to 80%, would rate themselves above average on a number of important characteristics, but also showed that they rated themselves below "a very good driver." The ratings did not vary significantly across demographic categories. Implications for road safety are briefly discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Stereotyping