What’s the word for when you overestimate your capabilities?

Maybe I’m just thinking about hubris, but I think there’s a better term for this…


Let’s just agree that there are places you shouldn’t take an ordinary road car. And that you can sometimes find one of those places without notice.

This guy’s day probably went from “pretty nice” to “Oh, shit” pretty abruptly.


I actually met this guy, shortly after his little oopsie. He’d already called for help, and really really didn’t want to talk about…


…how he screwed up and made Greta Thunberg cry.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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8 Responses to What’s the word for when you overestimate your capabilities?

  1. Robert says:

    What’s the word for when you overestimate your capabilities?
    A learning opportunity. Or, the last thing you ever did.

  2. Mike says:

    An ordinary road car will go a lot more places than anyone would think. Just look at the vehicles used in over-land exploring back in the 1930s.

    The biggest factor is not the vehicle’s capability but the skill set of the guy behind the steering wheel and the equipment he has to get out of any messes he gets into.

    I’m curious, what kind of car was this person driving and what did he do?

  3. Joel says:

    It was a little Toyota, and he didn’t notice that little washout until he was into it and jouncing onto the rocks. Tore out his oil pan, from the looks of the spill.

  4. Richard the Elder says:

    As Dirty Harry sez, “A man has to know his limitations”.

  5. Terrapod says:

    Sadly, most drivers nowadays go down the road with zero situational awareness, likely zoned out on the radio or cell phone.

    I’m with Mike on this. I have taken 1960’s and 1970’s station wagons (heavy tanks) down many a dirt road or logging path without getting into trouble, but it takes full attention to the path and judicious avoidance of obstacles,

    Even drove across SW England on sheep paths (they are marked on Ordnance Survey maps as viable roads, the operational word is “barely”.. The sheep have the right of way too.

  6. Cederq says:

    Same as you Terrapod, Big wagons, I love and use to take them hunting and fishing out of the way places in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Northern California and never had problems because of situational awareness. Now, I have dug many approaches and inclines by hand so I could continue or remove myself from areas.

  7. Mike says:

    “didn’t notice that little washout until he was into it and jouncing onto the rocks”

    It sounds like he forgot the first rule of driving on back roads: “When you are on unfamiliar terrain in an area you don’t know, the first step is to slow down and give yourself more time to react.” I think that if the guy drove to his abilities and focused on what he was doing, he would have been fine.

  8. Kentucky says:

    “Driving to one’s abilities” requires “knowing one’s limitations” . . . and accepting them. 😉

To the stake with the heretic!