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CNN.com/AOL.com article: 36 million drivers would flunk drivers tests

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CNN.com/AOL.com article: 36 million drivers would flunk drivers tests

Old 11-16-07, 11:07 AM
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Itsjustb
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CNN.com/AOL.com article: 36 million drivers would flunk drivers tests

https://www.cnn.com/2007/LIVING/wayof...pid/index.html

From the article:

"The results were pretty eye-opening to us," says Gary Kusumi, president and CEO of GMAC Insurance Personal Lines. "Not only did they indicate that there are wide differences in terms of state scores, but there were significant trends that demonstrated the general public might have forgotten must-know items from when they first took their driver's test."

That's not news to us.

and one of my pet peeves as both a cyclist and a driver:

Fifty-five percent of the respondents didn't know how many feet before making a left or right turn to activate their turn signals

That's because most drivers don't use them. Ever.

And finally, if North Carolina placed 13th overall, God or whoever-is-in-charge help all of you who ride in states 14-50.
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Old 11-16-07, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Itsjustb View Post
https://www.cnn.com/2007/LIVING/wayof...pid/index.html

• Fifty-five percent of the respondents didn't know how many feet before making a left or right turn to activate their turn signals

That's because most drivers don't use them. Ever.
Well, I admit that I had to look this one up. 100 ft? 200ft? In a car, I always use my blinker well before I turn or make a lane change. I just flip my blinker when it feels right to do so.

In CA, it's 100 ft. I would have guessed 200 ft. Does that make me unsafe? I don't think so.

On a bike, I signal for a LH turn, but rarely for a slow/stop or RH turn, unless I'm in a group.

Shoot, last time I went to the DMV for a renewal, there were no English language Driver's Handbooks! I used the Spanish version and did the best I could.

I passed.

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Old 11-16-07, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Itsjustb View Post
Fifty-five percent of the respondents didn't know how many feet before making a left or right turn to activate their turn signals.
Sure it's 100ft legally required (in AZ), but there are times when it is much safer to activate the turn signal much less than 100ft before the turn. Knowing the legal distance exactly is not important except for passing tests, knowing when to use the signal for optimized safety and best communication is.

Al
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Old 11-16-07, 01:01 PM
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Agreed, 100 ft, 200 ft, not the real point. The real issue is using them! (but like I said, this is a pet peeve of mine).

Originally Posted by eubi View Post
Shoot, last time I went to the DMV for a renewal, there were no English language Driver's Handbooks! I used the Spanish version and did the best I could.
Had a JAM tell me this morning that he'd just moved here to NC and had "read the law" and "passed a driver's test." When I asked him what it said concerning how far right cyclists should ride, he said, "All the way to the right."

Apparently he was reading it in Spanish too, because that ain't what it says.
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Old 11-16-07, 02:25 PM
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For almost a year I have been pondering a change: moving up to a motorcycle. But, invariably, on the days I travel as a motorist I see some sort of stunt by another motorist that makes me wonder about their qualifications to be on the road.

When I went through Drivers' Ed it was stressed that driving was a priviledge - offered to the compentent and the qualified.

At some point in the not-to-distant past, driving became a Constitutional Right. It is offered to anyone: regardless of age, skill, or temperament.

Needless to say, I have rejected the motorcycle purchase. I just don't want to be in the traffic flow with these people. I would rather be off to the right - traveling in a measured way - and let the crazies go on ahead.
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Old 11-16-07, 02:48 PM
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The test is available online here. Might be fun to see how everybody does. I got 100% with one lucky guess, but that doesn't make me a perfect driver.
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Old 11-16-07, 02:58 PM
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95%.

I made a mental imaging error on question #10. Picking the answer for the image I saw in my mind when I saw the word diamond. Doh.

Al
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Old 11-16-07, 03:03 PM
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I scored 100% - and I've never had a DL. I had to guess at a few car-specific questions, but apparently common sense worked.
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Old 11-16-07, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
Sure it's 100ft legally required (in AZ), but there are times when it is much safer to activate the turn signal much less than 100ft before the turn. Knowing the legal distance exactly is not important except for passing tests, knowing when to use the signal for optimized safety and best communication is.

Al


It's very important to differentiate the letter of the law - knowing the details with exactness that has no practical value while actually driving - from knowing and understanding the underlying principles upon which all traffic law is based. In this case, the underlying principle is to be predictable - signal early enough so that others know what you're doing. That's what's important, not how many feet. Who the heck even guesstimates the actual number of feet they are from the intersection before they signal anyway?
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Old 11-16-07, 03:15 PM
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Bizarre. One thing I do know, being able to remember the rules doesn't make anyone a good driver, tho' it does help. On the other hand, a driving test should be a proper test, with an examiner, on the road. If many of your various states' tests are like Florida's, they are a joke and a deadly one, at that.

Memory is not judgement and emotional issues regarding cyclists seem to get in the way of many drivers' attitude towards them in a seriously negative, not to mention ignorant, way.
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Old 11-16-07, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
I made a mental imaging error on question #10. Picking the answer for the image I saw in my mind when I saw the word diamond.
I started with the same mental image on that one, but I paused and double-checked my reading comprehension on each question before proceeding. My brain sometimes inserts the word I want to read in place of the one actually there.

So by being careful, I easily scored 100% on the first try. I wonder whether low scores could be attributed to hurrying at the test rather than actual lack of knowledge. Were the test-takers motivated at all to do well?
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Old 11-16-07, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Pete Fagerlin View Post
That's good to know!

I'm going to see about getting my ten year old a license so he can drive himself and a few buddies to school.

How exactly do you propose testing for temperament and how would you restrict licenses based upon temperament?
How about MUCH more severe penalties for road rage incidents???
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Old 11-16-07, 03:35 PM
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95%

Huh... for all the talk in A&S about passing on the right... it's funny that the question I missed says it's perfectly legal to do so on a multi-lane road. *shrugs*
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Old 11-16-07, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by sggoodri View Post
I started with the same mental image on that one, but I paused and double-checked my reading comprehension on each question before proceeding. My brain sometimes inserts the word I want to read in place of the one actually there.

So by being careful, I easily scored 100% on the first try. I wonder whether low scores could be attributed to hurrying at the test rather than actual lack of knowledge. Were the test-takers motivated at all to do well?
I wonder why about the mental image. I clearly & vividly saw a full color yield sign in my minds-eye when I read the question. Maybe because yield is the word right below diamond? Maybe as diamond and 'upside down' triangles are similar in shape or gemstone diamonds are often depicted as upside down triangles? I don't even recall reading the answer option beyond 'stop' as I was so certain.

I did rush thru, click, read, click, read. Mainly as I didn't care that much as to result, as you suggest, near zero motivation.

Al
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Old 11-16-07, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Itsjustb View Post
• Fifty-five percent of the respondents didn't know how many feet before making a left or right turn to activate their turn signals

That's because most drivers don't use them. Ever.
I am not sure you are being fair here.

After cars pull up behind me at a red light, the motorist will often turn their right turn signal on to indicate I should move out of their way. Thereby allowing them to make a right turn on red.
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Old 11-16-07, 03:49 PM
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my favorites are those who wait until they are upon the intersection or actually beginning their turn to signal. it like they are trying to "pin" you down until they do whatever it is they plan.
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Old 11-16-07, 09:19 PM
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Shoot -- just 90%; although the two questions I missed were erred on the side of safety.

I'd hate to see the answers that people gave when they flunked, though.
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Old 11-16-07, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807 View Post
95%

Huh... for all the talk in A&S about passing on the right... it's funny that the question I missed says it's perfectly legal to do so on a multi-lane road. *shrugs*
It's legal or not depending on the jurisdiction; I think that MD is trying to make it illegal to pass on the right.

It's odd, though, because there are times when the slowest driver within a couple miles is holding up traffic in the left lane, not the right..
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Old 11-16-07, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
It's very important to differentiate the letter of the law - knowing the details with exactness that has no practical value while actually driving - from knowing and understanding the underlying principles upon which all traffic law is based. In this case, the underlying principle is to be predictable - signal early enough so that others know what you're doing. That's what's important, not how many feet. Who the heck even guesstimates the actual number of feet they are from the intersection before they signal anyway?
Yeah -- the only question I missed on my last actual written driver's test (this was... sheesh, almost 20 years ago!) was about when you should activate the turn signal.

It had a picture of a rural two-lane road -- straight, no turns for miles -- coming to a four-way intersection without a stop sign. These kinds of roads saw speeds of 60-ish mph; usually more, sometimes a little less. The question asked how far from the intersection should the driver signal a turn, and the choices given were 300', 100', and 50'.

Okay. Going at high speed means that I'd have to start braking some ways back, and if there's anyone at all behind me, I should brake gradually enough that I won't surprise them and risk getting rear-ended. I should also flick my turn signal on as soon as it's easy to see which intersection I'll be turning into, and since there was nothing between the camera's location and the pictured intersection (that is, no driveways, parking lot entrances, more cross streets, or whatever), it would actually work out best if I use the signal before I start braking. That would inform a driver to the rear that I'm planning to turn; if I just start braking without signaling, they'll wonder if I'm doing it to avoid hitting an object in the road, or turning in an UNspecified direction, or because my car's breaking down or is suffering a flat tire, or any other kind of problem. But, if I signal first, they know what to expect and can make other decisions (pass to the side, maybe?) before they have to deal with me slowing down.

So. Going at 60 mph and using easy braking at maybe 25% effort means that I could easily spend up to 300' with my brake lights on. 300' is ONLY one football field, and I've spent enough time on football fields to know that, in terms of cars going at highway speeds, they're really not very big. Then, since I could activate the turn signal before I start braking, I'd end up with my turn signal flashing by the 300' mark.

Naturally, 300' was the wrong answer.
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Old 11-16-07, 10:25 PM
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When we moved to Ohio we had to take a test to get our drivers license. The test was basically a list of 25 questions of the sort "What is the following distance from a fire truck?"

In every case where the answer was not obvious I choose the answer which was the most conservative given. Basically the way I drive anyway. Besides I would be hard pressed to tell you without a measuring tape the difference between 400 and 500 ft. Much less to sit in a moving car and tell you whether the fire truck was 400 or 500 ft away.

I also distinctly remember in the driving school I took in HS that the following safe following distance for a car to car is one second for every ten miles per hour. So I totaly got the question wrong about this (they said the correct answer was 2 seconds regardless of speed which is way to close for me, except at parking lot speed).

Anyway I came within one question of not getting an Ohio license. Basically I think these sorts of nitty gritty details are a waste of time. Rather I think you should have to take a "Driving" test. i.e. an instructor should watch you drive around and interact with traffic. The "course" should include some navigating of one way streets, some freeway driving, and some safe passing of bicycles and old ladies (basically checking that the person realizes the car they are driving is deadly).

I know, I know, its a crazy idea, actually testing peoples driving skills rather than their comprehsion of english and mastery of minutae.

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Old 11-16-07, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807 View Post
95%

Huh... for all the talk in A&S about passing on the right... it's funny that the question I missed says it's perfectly legal to do so on a multi-lane road. *shrugs*
95% as well, same miss.

Representin' from state #37! Gotta keep you eyes open around here...
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Old 11-17-07, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by bike2math View Post
I also distinctly remember in the driving school I took in HS that the following safe following distance for a car to car is one second for every ten miles per hour. So I totaly got the question wrong about this (they said the correct answer was 2 seconds regardless of speed which is way to close for me, except at parking lot speed).
A following "distance" of two seconds gives a larger gap as the speed increases. It's also based partially on reaction time, which is the same regardless of speed (assuming, of course, that the driver is actually paying attention).

2 seconds at 60 mph is 176 feet -- that's more than half a football field. Doing "one second per ten mph" would put you almost 700 feet back -- that's a long, long, LONG ways, and frankly, it's excessive when cars can stop between 150 and 200 feet under panic braking.
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Old 11-17-07, 08:30 AM
  #23  
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Not knowing how many feet in advance to signal has absolutely nothing to do with determining how skilled a driver is.

Information that states require on knowledge tests is useless information for the most part.

It doesn't surprise me that most people could not pass it. The real proof would be a road test.
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Old 11-17-07, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
2 seconds at 60 mph is 176 feet -- that's more than half a football field. Doing "one second per ten mph" would put you almost 700 feet back -- that's a long, long, LONG ways, and frankly, it's excessive when cars can stop between 150 and 200 feet under panic braking.
Sounds about right. Why would you want to drive at exactly the stopping distance from the car in front of you? That leaves you no saftey zone. What can I say, its what I've always done (my wife makes fun of me mercilessly). 15 years of driving without an accident. I think I'll keep doing it the way I do. (yes I know by driving this way I also keep bears away )

The other point I remember from driver's ed was that the front zone is the only one that you have complete control over; so why not make it as safe as you can, give yourself maximum stopping distance plus some, and then maybe you won't even have to make a panic stop.

So does this make me a bad driver? maybe. An unsafe driver? No. Should I not get an Ohio DL because I drive this way?
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Old 11-17-07, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Itsjustb View Post
And finally, if North Carolina placed 13th overall, God or whoever-is-in-charge help all of you who ride in states 14-50.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh ... a cool 46th place. Yes, I love the Keystone state.

... Brad
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