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GMAC Insurance Test Finds Men Are Better Drivers

The annual GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test has settled it once and for all: men are better drivers than women, at least when it comes to knowledge of driving laws.

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If driving knowledge is any indication of driving habits, men are better drivers than women, according to the GMAC Insurance Test, which found that 1 in 4 women failed the test (27.2 percent versus 13.6 percent for male). Overall, males outperformed females with an average score of 80.2 percent versus 74.1 percent for females.

Have a question about your driving skills? You might want to ask somebody from Kansas because apparently they have the smartest drivers in the country, according to the GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test. The dumbest drivers in the U.S.A. can be found in Washington, D.C., where the average test score was 71.8 percent. Kansas drivers, by comparison, scored 82.9 percent on the quiz on average. This correspondent scored 80 percent on the quiz, but disputes a couple of the answers. Take the test yourself to find out at the GMAC Insurance website. (The test is on the right-hand side of the home page.)

The Pacific Northwest is a smart area of the U.S.A. with the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana all averaging above 80 percent. Wyoming and Colorado were also above 80 percent, too.

Bristol Palin's decision to move from Alaska to Arizona has apparently hurt its rankings considerably. Alaska plummeted 30 spots from tenth place in 2010 to 40th place this year. Their average test score decreased from a 79.8 percent average to a 76 percent average.

The bad news according to the GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test is 36.9 million American drivers may be unfit to drive when results are extrapolated from the test. The chart that accompanies this story should make you leery of drivers from any red state, which indicates below 74.9 percent.

“The GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test has become the benchmark for America’s driving IQ,” said Scott Eckman, chief marketing officer, GMAC Insurance. “All drivers need a refresher course when it comes to rules of the road and it begins with education. We’re hoping this year’s GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test results will inspire drivers to arm themselves with the knowledge they need to stay safe.”

The average score of all drivers increased from 76.2 percent in 2010 to 77.9 percent this year, but results suggest that a great number of people on the road still lack basic driving knowledge, which can lead to dangerous driving habits, according to a GMAC press release. Eighty-five percent could not identify the correct action to take when approaching a steady yellow traffic light, and only a quarter were aware of safe following distances.

The seventh annual survey polled 5,130 licensed drivers ages 16-65, from 50 states and the District of Columbia. The 2011 test gauged driver knowledge by administering 20 questions taken from state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) exams. The test was administered online by TNS, the world’s largest custom research agency. National data was weighted to percentage of state population, age, gender and ethnicity.

GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test Highlights

  • · Northeast is worst driving region with average scoring at 74.9 percent. Midwest is best driving region with average scoring at 77.5 percent.
  • · The older the wiser. Oldest drivers tested, ages 60-65, continued to have the highest average test scores at 80.3 percent.
  • · Be careful in the Empire State and Beltway: 1 of 3 (34 percent) of all drivers in New York and Washington, D.C. failed the test. The state with the lowest percentage of failures is Wyoming, with only 1 of 20 (4.5 percent) failing the test.
  • · New York no longer last: New York moves to 45th after placing last three years in a row with a score of 75.3 percent
  • · Biggest gains and losses: After ranking 24th place in 2010, Colorado moves to third place with an 82 percent average score.

As I mentioned above, I received a score of 80. I won't recount the entire test but here are the questions I got wrong. Answers marked with x were my choice and answers marked with c are the correct answer.

When you approach a traffic signal displaying a steady yellow light, you must:
Go through the intersection before it turns red
c-Stop if it is safe to do so
x-Be prepared to stop
Slow down and proceed with caution
OK, so I erred on the side of caution here. I remember doing the same thing on my last driver's test.

When you are merging onto the freeway, you should be driving:
c-At or near the same speed as the traffic on the freeway
5 to 10 miles per hour slower than the traffic on the freeway
x-The posted speed limit for traffic on the freeway
I consider this one a bit of a trick question because you're not supposed to travel at the same speed as other traffic. You're supposed to obey the posted speed limit but I can see where this answer makes sense when traffic is going below the posted speed limit. I should get half credit for this one!

A diamond shaped sign means:
Meh, what can I say? I plain didn't know it.

You see a flashing yellow traffic signal at an up coming intersection. The flashing yellow light means:
Stop before entering the intersection as long as you can do so safely
x-Stop. Yield to all cross traffic before crossing the intersection
c-Slow down and cross the intersection carefully
Again, I erred on the side of caution.

So, I feel like my test score should have been 85 percent, which makes me smart enough to live in Kansas. By the way, I thumped my fellow Connecticut residents who only averaged 76.7 percent.

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