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Can you accept constructive criticism?

Have you ever asked a relative or someone you know to critique your driving? I’ll bet not. I was recently thinking about this and wondering why drivers don’t seem to want to improve their driving skills by requesting helpful criticism from others.

The likely reason just might be because most of us think we are better drivers than the average driver, so why ask for advice or criticism from someone who isn’t as good a driver as you are? Also, we are not really good at accepting advice from someone else that essentially says we’re not doing something right.

This is supported by multiple surveys that ask drivers to rate OTHER drivers as better than average, average or below average. Only 25% rate other drivers as above average, meaning they think most other drivers are only average drivers or worse. But when asked to rate their OWN driving skills, a whopping 90 % rate themselves as above average drivers.

These attitudes are most likely why we, as drivers, don’t ever ask someone else to rate our driving skills. What’s more is that so many drivers aren’t even aware that they are doing something that is either illegal or are exhibiting poor driving skills that just might aggravate other drivers. Rare is the driver who, after getting honked at, realizes they got honked at because they just did something wrong.

Poor driving habits develop over time, as our formal driver training becomes very passe. We don’t even realize that we have developed these bad habits. Unfortunately, there are no requirements for drivers to take periodic refresher courses, although they can opt to take the Driver Improvement, Point Reduction courses, which every driver should do but most chose not to. Not only do you learn things you didn’t know through these courses, but you also receive a 10% reduction on your liability insurance for three years, a fair return on your investment.

For many years now I have been asked to give a traffic safety lesson to each Driver Ed class at Franklin Academy. To every class I ask the students, if they see something they know is wrong or unsafe, to say something. After all, they have just read up on Vehicle and Traffic Law in preparation for their driver test and are receiving expert instruction in their Driver Ed class, so they likely know more about VTL and how to drive correctly via their driving instruction than their parents, aunts and uncles, and for sure more than their grandparents.

One more thing relative to the Driver Ed classes that I address — I always ask the students if they are playing sports, which most of them are. “Do you do the best you can at your sport?” I inquire. They always respond yes, and then I challenge them to be the best driver they can be. We can all improve our driving skills if we try. Will you?

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