June 1, 2011

We were talking about the results of a recent survey of drivers age 16 to 65 that showed that, as the headline implies, 1 in 5 drivers in America would fail the drivers test if they took it today. What this means in Portland is that 1 in 5 of the cars on the road is driven by someone who lacks some fundamental knowledge of the rules of the road. And if that guy doesn’t know what a flashing yellow light means, for example, the chances are good he’ll find himself in a motor vehicle accident some time soon.

We promised to tell you what the safest following distance is, under most weather conditions. The choices were 3 seconds, 10 seconds and 20 seconds.

The answer is 3 seconds. Perhaps coincidentally, it’s the same length of time you can leave food on the floor before it magically becomes unsafe to eat.

While the results showed improvement this year (this was the seventh time the survey was taken), the results are still disappointing. Men may have topped women with their average score of 80.2 percent (versus 74.1 percent), but almost 14 percent of men failed the test altogether. These are licensed drivers.

GMAC Insurance, the sponsor of the National Drivers Test, says they conduct the survey and publish the results every year as a reminder to drivers to refresh their knowledge. If you haven’t taken a drivers test recently, the GMAC survey is offered on the company’s website. You can also go to your library and check out driver’s education materials.

Better safe than sorry.

Source: GMAC Insurance, “7th Annual Survey Shows Kansas Drivers Remain Most Knowledgeable, Washington, D.C. Ranks Last,” 05/26/2011


Categories: Blog