Safe Driving: Could You Pass a Written Driving Test?
The next time you’re on the road, make a mental note of five random vehicles you see. Odds are, one of the drivers isn’t able to pass a written driving test. A recent survey by a major insurance company has found that some 41 million American drivers – about 20 percent – would fail a written driving test if they had to take it today. Could that person be you? If you took a written driving test today, would you pass? Not if you don’t know the rules of the road.
Laws vary and can be fuzzy
You may be a seasoned driver, but if you live in a state other than the one where you took your written driving test, you may not be aware of the differences in the two states’ driving laws.
Stopping for a red light is a no-brainer, but other motor vehicle laws can be fuzzy. For instance, the two most misunderstood topics on written driving tests:
- What to do when you approach a yellow traffic signal light
- What’s a safe distance to follow another vehicle?
Such confusion can result in accidents, as well as set a poor example for teen drivers. Traffic laws were designed to create predictability, which in turn improves safety. Following these driving safety tips, whether they’re law in your state or not, can help prevent accidents, as well as encourage better driving habits for everyone.
Safe driving tips
Turn into the closest open lane − Whether you’re turning left or right, many states require you to turn into the first available lane.
- If you’re making a left-hand turn, that’s usually the lane nearest to the center line.
- For right turns, it’s most often the curb lane.
Follow at a safe distance − Forget the rule about staying one car length behind the vehicle in front of you for each 10 miles per hour you’re going, That may not be enough distance to stop safely in an emergency. Instead, allow at least two full seconds between your car and the one ahead.
Don't cause gridlock − In some states, it’s illegal to enter an intersection if you’re not able to proceed through before the light turns red. “Blocking the box” and obstructing the flow of cross traffic could result in a citation.
Respect the yellow − You’re breaking the law in most states if you don’t clear the intersection before the signal turns red. You also may be charged if you accelerate rapidly to beat a red light or if you had time to stop safely but didn’t.
Learn to merge − Drivers on a highway usually have the right of way, while merging vehicles must adjust their speed to enter and join the traffic flow safely. As you begin to enter a highway, look for merge signs and pay attention to the flow of traffic.
Safe driving advice: Experience counts − Inexperience is a leading cause of traffic accidents, particularly those involving young drivers. That’s why 44 states have graduated driver licensing programs.
The programs require young drivers to complete a series of steps, including passing a written driving test, before receiving a license. Teens who pass each level of the program also may qualify for discount auto insurance premiums.
Learn more about safe driving
Following the rules of the road is important for novices and pros alike. To follow them, you should stay on top of them, so it’s smart to occasionally brush up on the driving laws of your state.
For more safe driving tips, or to learn more about proper auto insurance coverage in your state, visit nationwide.com.