Cleaning out my inbox the other day, I spotted a news release slugged, “Nearly 1 in 5 American Drivers Unfit for the Road,” and it was just too tempting not to follow up. It turns out GMAC Insurance has been conducting a National Drivers Test for seven years now, and 18% of American drivers failed in 2011. Pretty bad, right? Well, 19% of we Pennsylvanians failed the test too. The Keystone State actually ranked 26th according to the GMAC data – a marked improvement from 2010 when PA came in 39th among states.
Looking even more closely at the data, Pennsylvanians’ average score was 77.7% , just a hair below the national average. I had envisioned myself writing this post while boasting a perfect score (but I think 95% is a perfectly acceptable score too). PLEASE, someone tell me you too would be tripped up by this one:
“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
Seriously… B, C, and D are virtually the same thing?!? Despite my complaints, the correct answer remained “B.” GMAC’s chief marketing officer Scott Eckman tells me the question people miss the most is: “How far you should follow somebody.” If you’re taking the test later on, just remember the three-second rule (and not the one that applies when you drop a pretzel in the newsroom).
If you want to brush up on your driving knowledge, the PA driver’s manual is posted online. While I was surfing around looking for it, I came across PennDOT’s own safe driver quiz. I won’t go into details about my score on this one, but I did learn that the fine for failure to yield to a pedestrian is $50-bucks. Also, ‘failure to restrain children up to age four in an appropriate child safety seat’ is apparently a primary violation of the state’s seat belt law (I gave myself a pass on that one since I don’t have kids).
Good luck on those quizzes… and on the highways.