Top Three Driving Mistakes
Each year, millions of Americans fail the GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test. Looking back, what are the most common mistakes folks make? To a great number of drivers, it seems that yellow lights, yellow lines and knowing the safe following distance when driving behind another vehicle are the topics in the most difficult questions on the National Drivers Test. Below are the three questions most often answered incorrectly each year. Take this mini-test and see how you’d do…
1. Under most conditions what is a safe following distance?
A. 3 seconds
B. 10 seconds
C. 20 seconds
2. A solid yellow line, on your side of the center line, means:
A. Reduce speed
B. Traffic light ahead
C. Do not pass
3. When you approach a traffic signal displaying a steady yellow light, you must:
A. Go through the intersection before it turns red
B. Stop if it is safe to do so
C. Be prepared to stop
D. Slow down and proceed with caution
Answer key is listed below.
How’d you do? GMAC Insurance hopes this mini-test helped you refresh your driving credentials so that you will be a safer driver.
Look for more emails to follow and get ready to test your driving knowledge!
1. A. 3 seconds
2. C. Do not pass
3. B. Stop if it is safe to do so
Drivers Test: Could You Pass It Now?
Next time you are stuck in commute traffic, take a look around: One in five of the drivers nearby don’t know enough about the rules of the road to pass a written DMV test.
In broad testing, GMAC insurance found that about 18% of drivers could not pass a written drivers test. The sample included 5,130 licensed drivers from 16 to 65 in all 50 states; if the ratio holds up at larger scale, that suggests a total of 37 million failing drivers nationwide. Yikes.
The 20 questions were taken from actual DMV tests in various states. Among the questions most likely to stump respondents: Eighty-five percent of those surveyed did not know what to do when approaching a steady yellow light, and 75% did not know safe following distances.
Here are some highlights of the test results:
- Older drivers did better. With an average score of 80.3%, drivers 60 to 65 scored better than other age groups. Apparently years of observing the rules of the road count, even on written tests.
- Men scored higher. Males seemed to know the rules better, with an average test score of 80.2 % vs. 74.1% for women. Among female test takers, 27.2% failed, scoring below 70; 13.6% of men got a failing grade.
- Heartland drivers know more. The Midwest had the highest average score, with 77.5%. The Northeast was the worst, with 74.9%. Kansas had the highest state score, with an 82.9% average, while the District of Columbia was last with 71.8%.
Now of course, we know that you are smarter than the average driver. But keep in mind these guidelines for safe driving — not all of which are in the drivers test:
Avoid distractions. Increasingly, police are finding drivers in accidents were distracted by cell phone calls or texting. But less obvious hazards that take your eyes off the road may involve changing the music player, talking to passengers or dealing with children. If you have voice commands or steering wheel buttons that control your radio or iPod, use them. Concentrate on driving.
Don’t speed. Sticking strictly to the speed limit is a matter for you and the Highway Patrol. But for sure avoid going faster than the general flow of traffic. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety says that speeding contributes to one-third of all accidents, including some 11,675 traffic deaths a year.
Don’t tailgate. Sticking on the bumper of the car ahead gives you little room to react if something happens. Keep several car lengths back. (Need more convincing? Tailgating also tends to cut your gas mileage because you are constantly hitting the brakes and then speeding up again.)
Pay attention to weather conditions. Any prudent driver will slow down on icy or snowy roads. But even a light rain can make roads slick. Slow down if roads are wet, and be careful not to go through turns too fast.
What to Do at a Yellow Light? And Other Things American Drivers Don’t Know
If required to take a written drivers’ test today, nearly one in five licensed drivers would not pass, according to results of the 2011 GMAC Insurance National Driver’s Test. This translates to 36.9 million American drivers, or 18 percent of the country’s total licensed motorists, who lack knowledge of some basic rules of the road — a conclusion that probably won’t surprise many drivers.
When asked what a motorist should do when approaching a steady yellow traffic light, 85 percent could not identify the correct action. Meanwhile, according to the survey, only 25 percent of respondents understood the concept of a safe following distance.
This is the seventh annual survey by GMAC, one of the largest automobile insurers in the United States. What little good news the survey bore was modest. The average survey score of all drivers increased from 76.2 percent in 2010 to 77.9 percent this year.
While many New Yorkers would contest this finding, the Empire State no longer ranks last, moving to 45th place after three consecutive years as the lowest performer on the survey, scoring a cumulative 75.3 percent. The District of Columbia now carries the dubious distinction, scoring 71.8 percent. Still, there’s precious room at the bottom: one out of three of all drivers in New York and Washington failed the test.
Men also performed better than women on the survey, earning an average score of 80.2 percent, while women recorded 74.1 percent.
This year’s survey polled 5,130 licensed drivers ages 16-65, from 50 states and the District of Columbia, and gauged driver knowledge by administering 20 questions taken from state Department of Motor Vehicles exams.
Nearly 1 in 5 American Drivers Unfit for the Road
Today, the 2011 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test results revealed that nearly 1 in 5 drivers on the road today cannot meet the basic requirements to get a driver’s license, meaning that 36.9 million American drivers – roughly 18 percent – would not pass the written drivers test if taken today. Kansas continued their reign in first place (82.9 percent average score), while New York was bumped from last by Washington, D.C. (71.8 percent average score). Take the test and view the full results at www.gmacinsurance.com.
“The GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test has become the benchmark for America’s driving IQ,” said Scott Eckman, chief marketing officer, GMAC Insurance. ”All drivers need a refresher course when it comes to rules of the road and it begins with education. We’re hoping this year’s GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test results will inspire drivers to arm themselves with the knowledge they need to stay safe.”
The average score of all drivers increased from 76.2 percent in 2010 to 77.9 percent this year, but results suggest that a great number of people on the road still lack basic driving knowledge, which can lead to dangerous driving habits. Eighty-five percent could not identify the correct action to take when approaching a steady yellow traffic light, and only a quarter were aware of safe following distances.
Without critical driving comprehension, many drivers run the risk of increased accidents or near accidents, where they often come to the realization of their lack of knowledge on rules of the road. The GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test sets out to remind drivers to re-up their credentials before such events occur.
The seventh annual survey polled 5,130 licensed drivers ages 16-65, from 50 states and the District of Columbia. The 2011 test gauged driver knowledge by administering 20 questions taken from state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) exams. The test was administered online by TNS, the world’s largest custom research agency. National data was weighted to percentage of state population, age, gender and ethnicity.
GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test Highlights
- Males are better drivers? If driving knowledge is any indication of driving habits, men are better drivers than women. 1 in 4 women failed the test (27.2 percent versus 13.6 percent for male). Overall, males out-performed females with an average score of 80.2 percent versus 74.1 percent for females.
- Northeast is worst driving region with average scoring at 74.9 percent. Midwest is best driving region with average scoring at 77.5 percent.
- The older the wiser. Oldest drivers tested, ages 60-65, continued to have the highest average test scores at 80.3 percent.
- Be careful in the Empire State and Beltway: 1 of 3 (34 percent) of all drivers in New York and Washington, D.C. failed the test. The state with the lowest percentage of failures is Wyoming, with only 1 of 20 (4.5 percent) failing the test.
- New York no longer last: New York moves to 45th after placing last three years in a row with a score of 75.3 percent
- Biggest gains and losses: After ranking 24th place in 2010, Colorado moves to third place with an 82 percent average score. Alaska plummeted 30 spots from tenth place in 2010 to 40th place this year. Their average test score decreased from a 79.8 percent average to a 76 percent average.
Drivers test proves difficult for younger adult drivers
According to the GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test, 4 out of 10 young adult drivers, ages 18-24, would fail the driver’s test if they took it today. While the youngest group proved to be the least knowledgeable when it comes to safe driving, 32% of 25-34 year old drivers would also fail the driver’s test if they took it today. Almost 1 in 3 drivers ages 25-34 failed the National Drivers Test—a five percent increase in their failure rate since 2009 (27%). These age groups make up a big portion of the 36.9 million estimated people deemed unfit for the roads based on the results of the GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test.
All the news about younger drivers wasn’t so bad. In fact, 4 out of 5 of the youngest drivers who took the National Drivers Test, those aged 16-17, proved they would pass the test if they took the driver’s test today. That’s good news for the rest of us on the roads and for parents who have teenagers in the family that are beginning to get behind the wheel.
One finding of the 7th Annual GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test was that older drivers knew more about safe-driving. Older drivers did achieve higher test scores than younger drivers. Older drivers, ages 45-59 (16%) and 60-65 (13%), received the lowest failure rates of all age groups. Older drivers are safer drivers, on average.
Looks Like Driver’s Ed May Not Be Enough
Should people have to take the driver’s test every few years in order to keep their driver’s licenses?
If the results of the 2011 GMAC Insurance National Drivers test are any indication of how well drivers know the rules of the road, then close to 37 million drivers need to retake a driver’s education course. According to the study, nearly 37 million U.S. drivers are unable to pass a written driver’s test. That means millions of people are driving with their own rules for the road. According to driving expert Officer Robert Kidd of Ohio, education and testing are essential when it comes to increasing safe driving knowledge and reducing road rage and accidents.
What questions did drivers struggle with the most?
According to the National Drivers Test, only 15% of respondents knew to stop, if it is safe to do so, at a traffic light displaying a steady yellow signal. And, only 27% of participants knew that the safe distance to follow other drivers in most conditions is three seconds. These are the two questions that drivers struggled with the most in the 7th Annual National Drivers Test from GMAC Insurance.
When asked about whether or not taking the driver’s test would make a difference on the roads, Officer Kidd, who is currently a traffic safety instructor, said, “If each driver were required to take a written test each time they renewed their license, there would be a substantial reduction in road rage and accidents.” Kidd explained, “The most common response I get from drivers after I explain a driving rule or law is, I didn’t know that.” While there was a slight increase in the overall average test score compared to 2010, many American drivers are still unfit for the road, according to the 7th Annual GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test.