Many Drivers Lack Basic Driving Knowledge

Texans Rank 35th in Nationwide Survey

The results of the 2010 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test are in, and Texas drivers are now ranked 35 out of the 51 jurisdictions (the 50 states and the District of Columbia) polled. While the test scores (and corresponding knowledge) actually improved by nearly two points, the state fell 10 spots in the rankings.

This test, an annual survey conducted by GMAC Insurance, asked more than 5,200 licensed drivers from across the country 20 questions seen on exams administered by Departments of Motor Vehicles and then other general questions about driving habits. The findings are discouraging to industry experts: nearly 80 percent of American vehicle operators lack at least some vital knowledge of the rules of the road, and this year’s survey confirms that more and more drivers are taking to the streets without the most basic information needed to operate their vehicles safely.

Also troublesome, about a quarter of participants admitted to participating in distracting activities, such as texting, talking on a cell phone, changing the radio station, eating, applying make-up, reading or shaving, while behind the wheel.

What Kinds of Questions Were Asked?

The survey’s questions were derived from a GMAC examination of driver licensing exams around the country, but any state-specific information was removed. The questions covered general, “driver’s education-type” topics as well as more specific issues like distracted driving. Some questions stumped a majority of polled drivers. These include:

  • Identifying a safe following distance
  • Driving in adverse weather conditions
  • When it is or when it is not appropriate to pass another driver
  • What to do at a solid yellow traffic signal (stop if it is safe – most people assume it is proper to speed up and try to make it through before the light turns red)

It is important for all drivers to operate their vehicles in manner that is as safe as possible for themselves, their passengers and others on the road. If proper steps are not taken, accidents occur and, tragically, people can die. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, seek treatment immediately. As soon as you can, though, contact a skilled personal injury attorney in your area to protect your rights and learn more about your legal options.