...is also true. Always a good intellectual game to play, as it reveals much.
For the fifth time, I am teaching a son to drive. - we haven't gotten to driving a standard yet, but that will come. Tonight I saw the first overconfidence. Only briefly, because on most things Kyle remains properly uncertain and cautious. But he is now overrunning his headlights. He doesn't know that. He gets embarrassed at leaving his brights on and having to be reminded, so he increasingly leaves them off. It's an unlit back road with little traffic. He knows what the allowable speed limit is, and tries to stay up near that. So soon, finding the dangerous to be normal. Speed limits really should drop 10 mph after sunset - an enormous percentage of drivers overrun their headlight visibility. That's why animals mostly get hit at night, and pedestrians have to wear reflective clothing.
We try to impress upon the young how dangerous it is to steer a ton of metal at high speeds, hoping to get them to take it all seriously. But it's not the dangerousness of driving that kills people - it's the safety of it. It is such an essentially safe and simple operation that we very quickly learn to take chances: we go too fast, we drink too much, we adjust the radio and heat, we look at the scenery, and engage in all manner of dangerous additions. Texting is the big news item now, but eating while driving is more dangerous, and no politician is crusading against that.
Here's the problem: We still make it safely home a ridiculously high percentage of the time. So we become overconfident, teaching ourselves to believe, in spite of our best judgement that drinking, driving too fast, and not paying attention really aren't that dangerous after all. If we didn't do all those overconfident things, traffic fatalities would be virtually nonexistent, because it is an essentially easy and safe endeavor. So easy and safe that we don't take it seriously, and make it dangerous.