Breathtakingly Stupid Mistakes

I loved this The Psychology of the Breathtakingly Stupid Mistake article. The three kinds:

  1. Dunning-Kruger effect where overconfidence in our skills leads us to encounter an accident. The car accident where the driver who has never driven in a blizzard who thinks “how hard could it be” finds out the hard way.
  2. Impulsive acts where we do things we know are a bad idea but the immediate gain overrides whatever wisdom screams “don’t do it.” Speeding faster than we’d normally drive to pass the someone who is going slower than everyone else probably fits here.
  3. Lapses of attention where we lose track of where we are or what we should be doing. Cell phone usage is a common cause of drivers having this kind of mistake.

All three of the above play a role in why we have so many car accidents. All three are things autonomous cars would not have. And yet, most Americans think they are better drivers than computers. I’m looking forward to the NHTSA’s approval of robot drivers.


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