Guest Post: The American Driver’s Lack of Confidence

By Sladen West

How many times have you been cut off on the freeway by some person who didn’t check their blind spot? You’ve seen somebody straddle the white, dotted line and come into your lane, too, right? Things like this happen on a daily basis, and they happen all over the United States. The unfortunate fact is, Americans really aren’t that good at driving. Bad drivers are all over the place, and they refuse to recognize the fact that they are bad at driving!
Thanks to the other guy....

The crazy high lack of confidence that Americans have, once they hit the road, is in large part due to the terrible drivers that surround us. We don’t feel safe getting behind the wheel, because we know that are horrendous drivers that are going to do something that will put your safety in jeopardy. Our road laws are strict, but they are followable. When they are followed, we’ll all be safer drivers, too.

A common complaint that I’ve heard throughout the years is, “Why can’t they raise the speed limits? It wouldn’t be that dangerous to raise it another five or ten miles per hour!” What the arguer doesn’t take into account, is the fact that the American driver is constantly distracted, even at extremely high speeds. As a matter of fact, in a road safety study of 28 different European, Asian and North American countries, the U.S.A. tested right in the middle of the group.
Speed is its own reward

On the German autobahn, speeds often surpass 140 MPH. If a cop clocked you going that fast in the U.S., your license would get revoked faster than you could say, “sorry”. The reasons that German speed limits are so lenient, is that the German people obey their laws, and use simple safe driving techniques. Two hands on the wheel, don’t use your cell phone, use your blinkers, etc. The typical American driver hasn’t had two hands on the wheel since their last day of driver’s ed., in their sophomore year of high school.

If everyone follows the law, you would know exactly what every driver was about to do. That’s not the case, in America. The unpredictability of American drivers makes most motorists extremely uneasy, during their travels. The drivers that have been feeling this uneasiness and lack of confidence have been becoming dangerous drivers, too.

Drivers who don’t feel comfortable on the road are less capable of making good driving decisions. Imagine a diffident driver who’s trying to make a left-hand turn, on a really busy road. It’s difficult for them to make a sound decision on when and whether or not they should go. If they don’t go, they start to hold up traffic. If they do go, they’ll have to go quickly and confidently, something that isn’t always easy for shy drivers to do.
Driving can definitely be a scary thing. It takes a lot of multitasking, focus and yes, even confidence. While you can’t control what other drivers do on the road, you can always control what you do. You can obey road laws, you can drive safe and you can regain your driving confidence. It’s not always easy, but it is possible and it will make you a better driver.

Sladen West is a freelance writer dedicated to helping others stay safe through auto safety and defensive driving.