Aussie Drivers Can’t Measure 200m

Aussie Drivers Can’t Measure 200m

As a nation, we pride ourselves on our driving ability, but is that pride misplaced? Survey results suggest that despite our boastful nature, we are actually not that good at measuring distances when driving.

Picture: Philip Capper

The survey was commissioned by Navman — so they’ve got an obvious angle to pitch and are hardly a disinterested party — and suggests that older drivers get more skilled at judging how far away turns and landmarks are, with 73 per cent of drivers aged 65 years and over confident in their ability, while only 40 per cent of those in the 18-24 age bracket had the same confidence. Men are apparently more confident in that ability than women, with a quarter of men surveyed expressing doubts as to their ability, compared to half of the women surveyed.

There is of course a potential gap between confidence and actual ability, and it’s not clear if those surveyed were actually tested on this; a little over-confidence when driving can be far worse than simply using a little caution. Likewise, the release touting the survey results doesn’t supply survey numbers in terms of participants or the way questions were phrased, which is always a bit of an alarm call. Still, it raises some interesting points, especially around age and gender gaps.

What do you reckon? Are older drivers better judges of distance? Is it better to have more or less confidence in your ability to judge long distances when driving?


  • 200m is a long way – twice a football field or 4 times the length of a swimming pool. Probably takes about 3mins to walk it. It would be hard to judge.

  • What does measuring 200M while driving have to do with driving ability?

    My eyesight has been rated better than 20/20, but ask me how many metres away someone is standing from me and I’ll have no idea.

    My vision and driving ability do not care for arbitrary units.

  • lol, I’ve lived in 6 countries on 4 continents in the past 20 years and I can safely say that Australian drivers are easily the most selfish, arrogant, inattentive morons I’ve ever had to share the road with . Any claim that Australians have superior driving abilities must be some kind of sarcastic joke.

    I love this country, but christ there are some amazing delusions of competence going on here.

      • If people would merge properly or get to the speed limit in a reasonable amount of time (if at all), maybe we wouldn’t have so many frustrated/selfish drivers on the road cutting people off.

        • Or maybe if so many people were not insanely impatient asshats all the time and could stand to get to their destination 10 seconds slower now and again we’d have a more civil, enjoyable and less stressful society.

          Dickheaded morons who tailgate anyone not going 10+ km OVER the speed limit, ignorant clowns who switch lanes without indicating, Thoughtless idiots who barrel down merging lanes then barge into traffic.

          Trying to blame people’s rude, arrogant and dangerous behaviour on other people is laughable, these deadshits are responsible for their own actions.

          • Agreed. However at the same time, why should those in a rush be held up by those who aren’t – yet still refuse to go the speed limit, merge within a reasonable amount of time, slam on the brakes at orange lights when they could have made it through etc.

            It goes both ways really, the people who speed and cut everyone off are pricks, and for sure we are all guilty of it at one stage or another. But those who think they can drive around leisurely and hold everybody up are just as bad.

          • FYI. An orange light does not mean you have a few more seconds to cross the intersection before the light turns red. Orange means you may ONLY continue to cross if you are unable to stop safely.

  • The title doesn’t seem to match the article. Were they judging the ability to perceive distance, or the ability to measure out 200m? I can most definitely perceive distance well and would have no problems judging how far I need to go when driving to a landmark or turnoff, I couldn’t show you how far 200m was for crap though.

  • Why do you need to know how far 200m is visually? It’s a measurement of distance, you read that something is 200m away and you think to yourself, ok that’s pretty close, best I get ready to turn. If someone pointed to something in the distance I wouldn’t be able to tell you if it’s 50, 100, 200 meters away, it has no value to me.

  • People in general can’t measure distances to save their lives, as it’s simply not a skill that is taught to most people, so not being able to accurately gauge 200, 400m etc is hardly surprising and certainly not a deficiency limited to either Australians or drivers.
    The football field visualisation is what I was taught in the military, but nowadays most people still don’t know how far that is, because they watch sports on TV only..

    The title might as well have been Aussie Drivers Can’t Juggle Whilst Hopping for all the relevance it had.

  • “As a nation, we pride ourselves on our driving ability, but is that pride misplaced? Survey results suggest that despite our boastful nature, we are actually not that good at measuring distances when driving”……and that Ladies & Gentlemen (as well as lack of concentration – mobile phones etc) is why there are so many rear-end collisions…….AND WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU DOING IN FRONT OF ME ANYWAY???? THIS IS MY ROAD!!!!!!

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