Rules Of The Road

Almost half of drivers wouldn't pass re-test

Andy Bolig - April 01, 2013 01:49 PM


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All you have to do is meet another car at a four-way stop to know that most of us leave a lot of that knowledge behind at the DMV commissioned a survey in January 2013 of 500 licensed drivers age 18 and over.

Participants were asked 20 multiple-choice questions. Forty-four percent of the 500 drivers who answered 20 questions that are typically on a driver’s license test scored less than 80 percent, the passing grade in most states. The average score was 75 percent. The most missed questions -- all of which were pulled from state department of motor vehicles practice tests -- involved pedestrians and school buses. Most drivers don’t know when to stop for pedestrians and schoolchildren.

“The rules of the road are meant to reduce uncertainty and risk,” said managing editor Des Toups. “All you have to do is meet another car at a four-way stop to know that most of us leave a lot of that knowledge behind at the DMV.”

Fifty-eight percent missed this question:

Give the right of way to any pedestrian who is:
1. In a marked crosswalk.
2. In any crosswalk or intersection.
3. Crossing any street.
(The correct answer is No. 3.)

Sixty-eight percent missed this question:

You are approaching a school bus that has stopped on the other side of a divided highway.
1. Stop and wait for it to load or unload children.
2. Stop, check for children, then proceed.
3. Stop and wait until the flashing red lights go off.
4. Watch for children and be ready to stop.
(The correct answer is No. 4.)

On the flip side, 93 percent of drivers got this question correct:

When should you use a horn?
1. For warning purposes, such as to alert other drivers to an impending collision.
2. To alert other drivers that they are doing something wrong.
3. Whenever you feel like it.
4. If a driver or bicyclist is going too slow.
(The correct answer is No. 1.)

“We may have great horn skills,” Toups noted, “but we’ve got some work to do otherwise. Not knowing the rules means you spend your time behind the wheel offended or unsure, and neither of those is very safe or productive.”

Women scored somewhat higher than men did, averaging 78 percent compared with 71 percent. Older drivers performed much better than younger drivers did, with those under age 40 scoring an average 67 percent compared with 79 percent for drivers over 40. Three drivers out of 500 scored 100 percent: a woman, age 30, a woman, age 51, and a man, age 64.

Take the 20-question driver’s license test at

The full article about results can be read at