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If you’ve been driving for twenty years and have a clean driving record, chances are you consider yourself a good driver. A recent study by LeaseTrader.com would beg to differ: according to their results, drivers with the most experience behind the wheel scored the worst on the sample questions used in the survey.
Drivers with twenty or more years experience scored an average of 46 percent correct, while drivers with ten to twenty years experience scored a still-dismal 58 percent. Drivers with five to ten years behind the wheel didn’t do much better, scoring just 64 percent correct. Out of 500 motorists surveyed, not one answered all the test questions correctly.
Worse, more than 75 percent of those surveyed incorrectly answered four or more questions, which would have netted them a failing grade on the hypothetical driving exam.
The study also looked at the difference in responses between men and women drivers. Men scored an average of 59 percent correct on the survey, while women scored an average of 46 percent correct. There was a significant difference between men and women in the question most often answered incorrectly, as well. Men struggled to identify the correct action when approaching a stopped school bus with flashing lights on the opposite side of a divided highway (stop and wait for the lights to go out before proceeding). Women struggled to correctly identify the speed limit on unposted primary and secondary state and federal highways (it’s 55 miles per hour).
The study seems to question the validity of current driver testing, and raises an even bigger question of driver training. Compared to many other countries, the United States has remarkably lenient standards for driver training prior to licensing, and many cash-strapped high schools are eliminating driver education programs altogether. While a thorough revamping of the system isn’t likely, the study may help to shed light on a problem that won’t be getting better any time soon.