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The Allstate Blog | Everyday Peace of Mind

Safe Driving 101: Can You Pass the Test?

If you ask most people, they will say they are a good driver -- great driver, in fact. Then, may I ask, who are all these bad drivers on the road? Well, that got us to thinking. Would each of us pass a simple driver’s education test if we were… Allstate
Safe Driving 101: Can You Pass the Test?

If you ask most people, they will say they are a good driver — great driver, in fact. Then, may I ask, who are all these bad drivers on the road? Well, that got us to thinking. Would each of us pass a simple driver’s education test if we were to take it right now? That was the charge of a quiz we posed to readers of the Allstate Blog throughout February. Check out the results below, and ask yourself seriously: Would I have passed?

(Note: blue text denotes the correct answer)

 1. When a yellow signal light is shown, you should…

  • Prepare to stop if you have not already entered the intersection 98%
  • Brake hard to a complete stop 1%
  • Continue through the intersection 1%
  • Speed up before it turns red 0%

Good to know: Drivers are required to stop at a yellow light unless he or she is too close to the intersection to stop safely. One rule of thumb is that if you are 100 feet or less from the intersection, you have passed the “point of no return” and cannot stop safely before the intersection. Therefore, it is best to continue at your current speed through the intersection, but be cautious as you pass through.

2. Holding your foot over the brake pedal is called…

  • Riding the brake 72%
  • Covering the brake 26%
  • Slipping the brake 1%
  • Adjusting the brake 1%

Good to know: Avoid “riding” your brakes.  It’s better to slow down with moderate pressure and then releasing the brake to cool, than riding the brakes and overheating them. On steep grades consider downshifting to save your brakes (when traction conditions are good). Keep your wheels and braking system clean. Clean brakes work better and keep temperatures down. Use a good wheel cleaner which you know if safe for your wheel finish.

3. When driving past vehicles parked on the right, you should position your vehicle…

  • Be at least one car door’s width away 59%
  • No less than 8 feet away 30%
  • Close enough to prevent a person from opening a door in front of you 7%
  • Within an arm’s length of the vehicles 4%

Good to know: When passing a parked vehicle you should always try and leave a space of at least the width of an average car door. This is to safeguard against a vehicle unexpectedly pulling out or a car door suddenly opening. Creating this space will also help you see children moving out from between parked cars to cross the road. If such space can’t be created and you are forced to pass closer to the parked vehicles then reduce your speed and be ready to stop. When passing a series of parked cars, you should maintain a straight path. Don’t weave in and out of them. Maintaining a straight path will allow other road users to clearly see your intentions.

4. Roadways are the most slippery…

  • The first rain after a dry spell 79%
  • After it has been raining for a while 11%
  • None of the above 5%
  • During a heavy downpour 5%

Good to know: Slow down at the first sign of rain, especially after a dry spell. This is when many roads are the most slippery, because oil and dust have not washed away. A slippery road will not give your tires the grip they need. Drive more slowly than you would on a dry road.

5. At what speed can hydroplaning occur?

  • 10 miles per hour 38%
  • 30 miles per hour 28%
  • 20 miles per hour 20%
  • 40 miles per hour 14%

Good to know: In heavy or persistent rain, as the rain pools on the surface of the road hydroplaning can become a serious risk. Hydroplaning is when the tires skid on the top of the pooled water and lose contact with the road, resulting in a loss of traction. You can tell this is happening if, when driving in a wet environment, your steering suddenly appears to be very light.

The way out of a hydroplane is to gently release the accelerator, slowing your car and allowing the tires to regain contact with the road surface.


How Do You Measure Up?

  • 64% of drivers rate themselves as very good or excellent.
  • 89% say they have driven faster than the posted speed limit
  • 40% say they’ve driven more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit.
  • 45% say they’ve driven while they’ve been excessively tired.
  • More than one-third say they’ve sent a text message while driving.
  • 53% have had a moving violation.
  • 7 in 10 people surveyed say that due to distracted driving, they have slammed on their brakes or swerved to avoid an accident

The survey of 1,000 American adults was conducted for Allstate July 13, 14, 16 and 17 via landline and cell phone and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent. Of the 1,000 adults, the survey identified 848 drivers who hold a license and drive at least occasionally. The survey was conducted by Financial Dynamics (FD) for Allstate.

Even good drivers can get into accidents — make sure you’re prepared. Visit or more information on safe driving and proper insurance coverage.

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