GMAC Insurance survey: D.C. drivers are least savvy in U.S.
While Washington, D.C., is our nation’s capital, it’s not the capital of smart drivers.
A nationwide survey for GMAC Insurance shows drivers in D.C. are the least knowledgeable in the country, meaning they can’t meet the basic requirements to get a driver’s license. D.C. drivers earned an average score of 71.8 on a 20-question driving test. A failing score was anything 70 or below on a 100-point scale.
In first place was Kansas, where the average test score was 82.9 percent.
|Drivers in Washington, D.C., earned the lowest average score on a 20-question driving test.|
According to the survey, 36.9 million American drivers — or about 18 percent — couldn’t pass a written driving test if it were given today. Eighty-five percent of American drivers couldn’t identify the correct action to take when approaching a steady yellow traffic light, the survey shows, and only one-fourth were aware of safe following distances.
Scott Eckman, chief marketing officer at GMAC Insurance, says: “All Americans need a refresher course when it comes to rules of the road, and it begins with education.”
Right before D.C. on the list of the most uninformed drivers was Hawaii. It was preceded by Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, Rhode Island, Georgia and Nevada.
Following Kansas on the list of the most informed drivers were (in descending order) Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon, Nebraska, Indiana, Missouri, South Dakota and Wyoming.
The survey polled 5,130 licensed drivers ages 16 to 65 from 50 states and the District of Columbia. The 2011 test gauged drivers’ knowledge by administering 20 questions pulled from actual state driving exams. The testing was done online by research company TNS.
GMAC Insurance offers these tips for avoiding top driving mistakes — and crashes:
1. No matter how busy your day is, focus only on driving when you’re on the road — not your cellphone, for instance. Catch up on your other activities later.
2. Leave a two-second cushion between you and the vehicle ahead – it could save your bumper and your life. Make sure to double or triple that time when the weather is bad or the pavement is slick.
3. Look carefully when you’re making a left turn to ensure that no vehicles or pedestrians are in your path.
4. Accidents often occur when you’re stuck behind a driver who interprets yield as stop. Don’t be the guilty party. Use the ramp as a way to merge into traffic and to not cause a traffic jam.
5. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. Your mirrors have a margin of error; don’t rely on them alone. Look over your shoulder before backing up.