Thursday, June 12, 2008

This may explain some of the morons in the roads.

Once again, GMAC has put out its annual National Driver's Test Survey (link to the executive summary. Also on that page you can find the test itself, if you feel brave enough to take it). For those of you who are wondering, yes, I passed (85%). I passed it as well last year, when I was pondering about how much better my commute is now that I am out of Houston. The highlights are not good, and they are pretty indicative of the fact that there are a lot of lousy and/or clueless drivers out there. Those of us who drive carefully and diligently do not appreciate your ilk. So, how bad did people do?

"If taken today, 16.4 percent of drivers on the road – amounting to roughly 33 million licensed Americans – would not pass a written drivers test exam."

That is 33 million people. On the good news, the national average was passing with a 78.1%. Where are the high scorers at? Sorry, not in Texas. Texas ranks 18th this year, but they did go up from 24 last year. The high scorers are over in Kansas.

The site also gives you some other interesting bits of information. For example, learn about the top mistakes that cause crashes. The first on the list is a major peeve of mine: multitasking while driving. Nothing that ticks me off more than the lady applying make-up with one hand while holding a cellphone in the other driving the largest Tahoe made by GMC at speeds exceeding the speed limit. And lest you think I am being sexist, these are often followed by the guy with the cellphone on his ear sipping hot coffee driving the biggest pick-up truck made by Ford. And no, I am not making that up. I have actually seen drivers like that and made sure I kept my distance from them. Now, for those who still want to say I am sexist, here is a bit more that does not bode well for women in the study:

"While average test scores between the genders were similar, women were more likely to fail the test than men (20 percent versus 13 percent)."

Sorry ladies, but you were more likely to fail the test. Maybe you should pay more attention to the road and learn the rules better instead of applying make-up while driving. The fact I have seen some of you actually do that, including and not limited to plucking your eyebrows (how you do not poke an eye out is beyond me) with children in your back seat only makes me cringe more. And by the way, lest some people think I am picking on distracted drivers, here is a little study on driving while distracted (PDF document). That study was done by Nationwide. Some of the findings include:

"Similarly, the most dangerous distraction for drivers is “Using technology such as a cell phone or e-mail or electronic device,”as reported by nearly half (48%) of the National Sample. “Reading”while driving and adjusting music are also considered dangerous distractions (18% and 9%, respectively)."

The scary thing is that I have actually seen people reading while driving. One time I saw someone reading a paperback novel while in traffic. I think it was some fantasy like a Robert Jordan novel. Of course, here is why these distracted people are a major peeve of mine:

  • "The majority (86%) of drivers in the National Sample claim that they had to swerve or apply their brakes because 'Of the actions of another driver.'”
Not that you inconsiderate drivers would even notice when one of us has to swerve to avoid getting in an accident with the likes of you. And of course, if one of these bozos cuts you off, and you honk at them to let them know they barely ran you off the road, they have the audacity to actually flip you the bird. I can only hope they drop their hot Starbucks coffee on their lap when they raise that finger, hehe.

So go ahead folks, try the test. It's only 20 questions. See if you can pass or if you join 33 million people who need to learn how to drive again.

A hat tip to Docuticker blog.

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