We think our driving is better than it really is

People often believe themselves to be better drivers than they actually are. This is according to new research from Alex Chaparro, Director of the psychology department at Wichita State University, who found motorists tend to rate their skills behind the wheel very highly, even though their ability on the road is often impacted by distractions.

Mr Chaparro found drivers pose the biggest danger to themselves and other commuters, while some tasks can be more off-putting than others.

It was demonstrated that while listening to a book on tape when at the wheel does not pose any serious threat to an individual's concentration, sending a text message can be highly difficult.

"Thinking about generating a response is perhaps the main source of interference in driving," Mr Chaparro stated.

He explained people who text while driving have the cognitive demands of talking coupled with the physical interaction of pressing buttons on a small device.

Lisa Dorn, a Chartered Psychologist with Cranfield University, commented: "Driving requires the execution of highly complex sets of psychomotor skills coupled with higher level decision making skills based on moment-by-moment unfolding hazards in a dynamic traffic environment. There is simply insufficient spare capacity to text whilst driving and be safe.

"Hazardous events can develop within a second and cognitive interference will reduce the driver's ability to avoid a crash."

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