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5 Surprising Things That Make You a Worse Driver

We have all encountered bad drivers in our lifetimes. Not everyone is a genius but people should have some common sense on the road because they are in control of a two ton vehicle that can hurt or kill people. As time goes on, more and more people are becoming worse drivers. Here are five surprising things that make you a worse driver.

 

1. Being a Celebrity: Fame and Fortune Brings Traffic Citations, Accidents, and DUI’s

Everyone dreams of being a celebrity and being famous but being a celebrity can ruin your driving skills. Celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton are known for their poor driving skills. Lohan and Hilton both got into trouble with the law for DUI offenses.

When you are a celebrity you have a mindset where you cannot go wrong; throw in the paparazzi chasing you all the time with cameras and this is a recipe for disaster. Many celebrities get into car accidents with photographers all the time because they cannot drive properly around Los Angeles and other parts of California. In some instance, innocent bystanders have been hit or run over by celebrities who were trying to out run paparazzi members when they could have just posed for a picture and moved on with their day. They say be careful what you wish for and wishing to be a celebrity may mean that you have to take a taxi instead of drive a car to get around.

 

2. Hormones: Making Men & Women Worse Drivers Since the Wheel Was Invented

Now hormones can really mess with your mind and emotions so they can definitely make your driving skills worse. For example, a woman who is dealing with hormones may cry when she hears a song that was special to her and her ex-boyfriend. This could make her have to blot her eyes to prevent her mascara and make up from running which might make her lose her concentration and become involved in an automobile accident. Some studies show the exact opposite: that estrogen actually improves driving skill.

Not having enough hormones can cause problems as well. “Spatial skills such as map reading and parking may be difficult for some women because they had too little testosterone in the womb.” Researchers from the University of Giessen, Germany found that spatial ability was severely diminished when they had lower than normal testosterone.

But testosterone levels don’t affect only women. We all know that statistically speaking, women are lower risk drivers than their male counterparts. Hormones also impact men because they often become involved in fender bender and other minor accidents because they are staring at beautiful girls; and if you count testosterone + aggressive driving, then you might as well say that most male-caused accidents are hormonally based.

Lots of these accidents happen on beaches or college campuses when a girl walks by a man’s vehicle and he is not paying attention and hits the car in front of him. The next time an accident report is filed, you might just see hormone-crazed driver listed as the cause for the accident. The body is a very interesting thing and hormones are hard to control so they cause many accidents each year and make people worse drivers. Perhaps insurance companies should consider giving drivers discounts for taking hormone-suppressing drugs.

 

3. Video Games: A Joystick Can Mess Up Your Mind and Ruin Your Driving Record

Video games such as “Grand Theft Auto” have become very popular with people especially young men between the ages of 16 and 25. Now as most gamers know, video games are pretty harmless; no more than TV or board games.

Grand Theft Auto 6There are a few studies that show that gamers make better drivers, or even surgeons. According to a study by the University of Rochester, people who played “Call of Duty 2” and “Unreal Tournament,” were able to make decisions about 25% faster than those who played the “The Sims 2.”

According to the “Archives of Surgery” laproscopic surgeons improved their skills by up to 42% (as well as speed) by playing games like Top Gun. So all you hard core Halo experts out there really have some great talent when the time comes to consider a career.

Allstate even publish initial results that showed that 10 hours of game play by older patients basically makes the brain function the equivalent of a brain 10 years younger.

So how can it make a potentially worse driver? Most people have not had their brains rot out of their head from playing them for too many hours. However, a small percentage of us do, and the effect has been studied. The games actually make driving skills worse because you are training your mind to deliberately drive erratically, and in short, take bigger risks. Most people mimic what they see each day so playing video games such as this one will negatively impact how you drive in the future.

Games such as GTA, Need for Speed, and Gran Turismo, etc…. are known for having people drive at top speeds, and sometimes even run people down for fun (hey, it’s just a game) and therefore may help believe you are a better driver in the real-world, or perhaps help your mind justify some of these lower perceived risks. This translates into the reality of your life when you are behind the wheel of your vehicle each day when you are going to school, going to work, or running errands. It is important to remember to separate the reality of life with the fiction of video games so that your driving skills are as consistent as possible.

Now, the study failed to point out what the difference was in the number of pedestrians getting hit, but here are a few of the highest increases: running red lights, filing insurance claims due to accidents, and suffering from road rage in general:

DO DON’T
% stopped by police 22 13
% who use mobile when driving 19 12
% ever made a claim for an accident 30 15
% run a red light in the last 12 months 31 14
% driven wrong way down a 1-way street 13 10
% hit stationary object when parking 22 13
% accidently clipped a car but kept quite 19 11
% take risks (accelerate too quickly, overtake) 44 21
% suffer road rage 45 22
% who speed 25 13
% scare others with their driving 26 11
Attempts before passing test 2 3
No. of prangs to their vehicle in last 12 months 1 2

 

4. Genetics: Blame It on Your DNA

In a recent study of college undergrads, “those with a common genetic variation scored 20% worse in a driving simulator than their counterparts.” Genetics can play a big role in how you drive so the next time that you get into an accident or get a speeding ticket you may want to thank your parents and grandparents for causing you to become a worse driver. Every person is different so they approach driving differently and genetics does play a role in how people look, think, and act.

Driving is a huge responsibility and some people are prone genetically to be better drivers than others. For example, if you have Attention Deficit Disorder then your kids may be more likely to have the medical condition as well. This medical condition causes people to become poor drivers because they have a hard time focusing and concentration on one task at a time so they become hyper which can lead to accidents.

So the next time you get pulled over for a ticket, defend yourself in court with this study, and maybe the judge will let you off easy.

 

5. Steering Wheel Desk: Having Your Hands on This Desk May Hurt You or Others around You

Yes, there are steering wheel desks and they are actually for your steering wheel in your vehicle. Now most people are probably going to be glued to their computer’s search engine looking for this product because a majority of driver have never heard of it. It is basically like a small folded down desk that attaches to a steering wheel. This ends up distracting drivers more than usual. This and cause their hands to be on the steering wheel while their arms are on the desk. This can make it harder for the hands to quickly stop the vehicle in the event that an object or emergency situation appears in front of the person quickly. The steering wheel desk is a bad idea for people, especially younger drivers who have poor or average driving skills to begin with.

The United States has become a country where DUI’s and traffic accidents are too common. Having excellent driving skills is important to keeping the roads as safe as possible. When you get behind the wheel of your vehicle remember these 5 surprising things so that you do not become a worse driver in the future.

 

Sources:

http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=3679
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4202199.stm
http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/10/10/video-games-drivers.html
http://archsurg.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/142/2/181
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/10/genetically-bad-driving/
http://www.conti-online.com/generator/www/uk/en/continental/automobile/themes/press_services/hidden/01-02-2011video-gaming.html
http://www.switched.com/2009/11/23/steering-wheel-desk-guaranteed-to-make-you-a-worse-driver/

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