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It’s an old statistic, often cited to poke fun at drivers: 93% of Americans surveyed said they are better drivers than average. But when the AAA probed further, questioning U.S. drivers about the specific driving habits they had exhibited in the past 30 days, it found 58.8% admitted to being unsafe drivers. Read on to find out the most common driving safety offenses.

The AAA used statistics to analyze the most common “risky” behaviors that drivers would admit to. Why? Dr. David Yang, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety President and Executive Director said, “Understanding the different types of risky driving behaviors and the characteristics of drivers who engage in them is crucial for developing targeted interventions to achieve safe mobility.”

So here’s how the drivers surveyed by the AAA‘s nonprofit fit into various risky driver categories.

42.1%Safe Drivers
22.7%Speeding Drivers
17.3%Distracted and Aggressive Drivers
15.0%Distracted Drivers
2.4%Most Dangerous Drivers
1.3%Impaired Drivers

Some of these categories are relatively self explanatory: Distracted drivers admitted to behaviors such as reading text messages and texting while driving. The aggressive version also switch lanes rapidly or run red lights. The “Most Dangerous Drivers” category is made of the 2.4% of surveyed drivers who admit to all of the risky behaviors listed.

A pedestrian holds up his hands before being hit by a driver who is being unsafe by texting.
Texting driver | Mokee81 via iStock Photos

I would argue that more than 22.7% of drivers have almost certainly exceeded the speed limit in the past 30 days. And more than 32.3% of drivers have glanced at their phone while behind the wheel during the past 30 days. And considering that DUIs make up 10% of all arrests, I am sad to say that the claim that just 1.3% of drivers have recently operated a vehicle while impaired might be too optimistic.

But remember, these are the numbers of drivers that admitted to risky behaviors for AAA’s survey. I would expect a portion of risky drivers to deny being unsafe. They might also admit to “lesser” mistakes such as glancing at their phone before admitting to driving under the influence.

So while 93% of drivers can’t statistically be “better than average,” 93% could be in some way unsafe. Why do most of us think we are better than the average driver? I expect it’s because we all notice the one car weaving between lanes, they take up a lot of our mental space, and the rest of us think “At least I’m not that guy.”

You can learn more about the AAA’s unsafe driving behavior survey in the video below: