Blue states blow test

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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:31 am

It’s a fairly even split among blue and red states for the smartest drivers in the US—three red and five blue states fill the top eight places—but check out the rampant bluefest in the eight stupidest states. Way to drive, Rhode Island!

(Take the driver knowledge test yourself here)

Posted by Tim B. on 06/05/2006 at 10:24 AM
    1. Seriously, I don’t have a license – and the license I did have was in NSW so US rules/signs are not something I know much about.

      But I passed that test…

      Posted by sam on 2006 06 05 at 10:38 AM • permalink


    1. I can well imagine that Massachusetts ranks near the bottom. I’ve only been to the state once, and it was many years ago, but it was like a bumper car contest with potentially lethal results. I didn’t see one car that didn’t have at least one serious ding in it.

      Love the link to Rhode Island – or more precisely, Representative Patrick Kennedy’s web site. The picture is great: I wonder if they had to tie him to the chair to keep him from sliding out of it. Also, what is that he’s “reading” to the children? The Democratic National Committee coloring book?

      Posted by paco on 2006 06 05 at 10:47 AM • permalink


    1. Massachusetts drivers are easily the worst in the country. This is the reason they see no problem with Ted Kennedy. They also think it is sort of cute that he named his dog “splash”.

      Massachusetts has roundabouts, but they call them rotaries. The purpose of a rotary appears to be to exit it four cars ahead of where you were when you entered it.

      Posted by moptop on 2006 06 05 at 10:47 AM • permalink


    1. I got a 90.  When I am parking downhill I apply my emergency break.  Who knew?  I’ll bet dear hubby would score less than 60.  I think the worst drivers are from Oklahoma.  They don’t get the concept of the passing lane on the left.

      Posted by Kathy from Austin on 2006 06 05 at 10:48 AM • permalink


    1. I live in Washington state which allegedly has the second smartest drivers.  I can’t say that I’ve ever thought of my fellow drivers here as geniuses, but I will say that Seattle drivers are a lot more willing to let you change lanes than they were in Dallas, which is where I lived before this.  In Dallas, a turn signal is apparently considered a message to drivers in other lanes to speed up.

      Posted by Randal Robinson on 2006 06 05 at 11:01 AM • permalink


    1. I have lived in Sidney for half a year, and spent a fair amount of time in the UK as well, I have to hand it to them, except for this one little prediliction about pedestrians being fair game unless in a zebra, they are far better drivers on the whole.

      By way of cultural difference, in the US a stop sign means stop for pedestrians too. Try exercising that perogative elsewhere in the anglosphere and you will quickly increase your knowledge of the local vernacular, linguistic and gestural.

      Posted by moptop on 2006 06 05 at 11:15 AM • permalink


    1. It’s the same in LA, Randal. A turn signal is a notice to other drivers to take that space before someone else does, because obviously it must be better than where they’re at. Or something. It’s an almost Pavlovian response.

      Posted by Spiny Norman on 2006 06 05 at 11:15 AM • permalink


    1. 48. New Jersey 78.6 (Tie)

      48. Massachusetts 78.6 (Tie)

      Tied with Kennedykerryville?

      Oh the horror!

      Posted by Mr. Bingley on 2006 06 05 at 11:18 AM • permalink


    1. I got a 95%.

      Posted by Mr. Bingley on 2006 06 05 at 11:23 AM • permalink


    1. Of course, it’s all relative. Once, in Mexico City, I went down to the corner of a busy intersection and waited to cross the street. I gave up after 15 minutes and went back to my hotel.

      Posted by paco on 2006 06 05 at 11:23 AM • permalink


    1. I KNEW IT!  I forumlated a hypothesis that liberals tended to be worse drivers way back when I lived in DC and had to deal with Dupont Circle.  It was bedlam.  Nice to see this confirmed.

      Posted by Matt in Denver on 2006 06 05 at 11:29 AM • permalink


    1. Of course, it’s all relative. Once, in Mexico City, I went down to the corner of a busy intersection and waited to cross the street. I gave up after 15 minutes and went back to my hotel.

      Crossing a street in Rome, Italy takes a combination of courage and faith.

      Posted by Randal Robinson on 2006 06 05 at 11:43 AM • permalink


    1. Maryland is number 46. Ouch. I’d like to say we’re better at driving boats because of the Chesapeake Bay but it wouldn’t be true.

      Posted by Retread on 2006 06 05 at 11:45 AM • permalink


    1. demand a similar test based upon Australian road standards so I can score higher than 68%. Bugger it, so I can score 100% which would accurately reflect my status as a perfect driver, dammit!

      /diminished ego

      Posted by James Waterton on 2006 06 05 at 11:48 AM • permalink


    1. “At least one out of five drivers did not know that pedestrians in a crosswalk have the right of way.’’

      Here in Chicago I wish they’d quit gabbing on their cellphones long enough to even *notice* if anyone’s on the crosswalk.

      BTW I notice that Illinois ranked #22.  I’m assuming that Downstate drivers helped raise the state average and that Chicago alone would have scored about on a level with Jersey City.

      Posted by Sonetka’s Mom on 2006 06 05 at 11:53 AM • permalink


    1. Paco,
      You are right that it is all relative, I grew up (and learned to drive and cross the street) in Mexico City and currently live in Massachusetts, and I still think Mass drivers are the worst.  In Mexico at least you know what you are getting:  if you are trying to cross the street no one will stop or swerve, so you learn to get your timing right and get to the other side.  In Mass you never know: if you try to get your timing right, the driver may just keep going, he may slam on the brakes possibly causing an accident or he may get scared and swerve to “avoid you” and end up swerving in the wrong direction.  Bad for you!
      Anyway, I suppose since I said I learned to drive and cross the street in Mexico City you may draw your own conclusions about my abilities in those areas and give my judgement appropriate weight.

      Posted by Not My Problem on 2006 06 05 at 12:14 PM • permalink


    1. Q. When waiting to make a left turn, you should give the right-of-way to vehicles coming from the opposite direction:

      A. When all the cars have passed

      So if I’m on a road in Texas and I see a car coming from the opposite direction a half a mile away I’m supposed to wait for it to pass me before I turn left?  Talk about a uselessly vague question.

      (And one I missed, of course.)

      Posted by kcom on 2006 06 05 at 12:18 PM • permalink


    1. My score was 95%.  Of course, I live in Washington, and was born in Oregon.  8^D

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 06 05 at 12:23 PM • permalink


    1. I can personally attest to Rhode Island’s poor driving scores—I live in the state. (Although I am not a native.) The worst drivers here seem to be young women who routinely drive while talking on their cell phones. I have had drivers turn out right in front of me while talking on the cell phone the entire time completely oblivious to me and other vehicles. Other items about RI driving not mentioned in the articles:
      1. Speed limits are ridiculously low.  I have been on semi-rural roads where the posted limit was 25 mph and would be 40-50 mph anywhere else.
      2. I have lived here for almost 10 years and I have NEVER seen the state police (or the city cops for that matter) drive the speed limit.  Native RIers consider this practice of the police ignoring traffic laws as a police privilege and scoff at my belief that it undermines the concept of the rule of law (especially to teenagers) when the police are seen as, basically, exempt from the same laws that they enforce on the rest of us.
      3. Many roads are in poor condition.  Which is infuriating considering we have the highest property taxes, sales taxes and state income tax in New England.  Where in hell is my money going?  (I have a GREAT job otherwise I would have moved long ago.)

      Don’t get me started on Patrick Kennedy.

      Posted by Mark Razak on 2006 06 05 at 12:31 PM • permalink


    1. #16: You are, in my opinion, NASCAR-qualified!

      Posted by paco on 2006 06 05 at 12:36 PM • permalink


    1. California is 14th out of 50?  My ass.  I refuse to believe those nutcases are in the top half in driver intelligence.  If they are, then they know the rules yet utterly disregard them.

      Posted by Mark V. on 2006 06 05 at 12:54 PM • permalink


    1. Mark V.

      They deliberately and flagrantly disregard them whenever possible: in SoCal, whoever has the biggest vehicle has the right-of-way.

      Posted by Spiny Norman on 2006 06 05 at 01:58 PM • permalink


    1. I think California is also our first turn signal-optional state–or else there are a lot of motorists driving around here with burnt-out signal lights.

      Posted by Ed Driscoll on 2006 06 05 at 04:03 PM • permalink


    1. When I was living in Boston in the late 50s, I heard that the fact that Boston driving is so bad is due in large part to the legacy of James Michael Curley. Curley’s political machine was notoriously corrupt, and vast amounts of public money were diverted into his friends’ pockets. Little money went to traffic signals. Crossing Commonwealth Avenue involved driving forward and blocking successive lanes of traffic until you made it all the way across. That’s six lanes: not for the faint of heart. I heard that the most intimidating thing you could do to another Boston driver is to show him the back of your head as you pull in front of him.

      Posted by ErnieG on 2006 06 05 at 04:06 PM • permalink


    1. In Dallas, a turn signal is apparently considered a message to drivers in other lanes to speed up.

      Well, yeah.

      You wave your handgun out the window to signal a desire to change lanes.


      Posted by R C Dean on 2006 06 05 at 04:41 PM • permalink


    1. I gotta tell you for a bunch of people who support non-aggressive means as a way to rid the world of dictatorships, they certainly don’t take that approach to driving.

      They don’t call us M*ssholes for nothing…

      Posted by Not My Problem on 2006 06 05 at 04:49 PM • permalink


    1. So, Illinois is about in the middle. We inbred farmer types downstate obviously brought down the average of all the geniuses in Chicago.

      But, hey, at least we know gee and haw!

      Posted by rinardman on 2006 06 05 at 05:28 PM • permalink


    1. Well top 20 isn’t too bad (North Dakota at 18). I would have though Illinois would be worse than that considering the insanity I encountered there (in Chicago) just last May.

      And I got an 80%. 5 points lower than North Dakota’s state average. I feel bad.

      Posted by chrisbg99 on 2006 06 05 at 05:36 PM • permalink


    1. 95%. I missed the question regarding oncoming vehicle with high beams on. I always look at the road surface below the bright lights, which has always worked well for me.

      Noteworthy detail: I’m a CA resident and longtime holder of an M1 endorsement. 🙂

      Posted by Bashir Gemayel on 2006 06 05 at 05:51 PM • permalink


    1. 80 %! And i’m from -ing Norway!

      Posted by ponder on 2006 06 05 at 05:55 PM • permalink


    1. 85%, despite my previously-noted lack of driving skills. Eh, I’ve always been a book-knowledge kinda person.

      Posted by PW on 2006 06 05 at 06:14 PM • permalink


    1. Ah, 100%.  But, I drive ambulances from time to time. And I used to do some teen literacy coaching; my best “incentive package” to encourage them to actually read something, ANYTHING, was the driver’s manual, so they might have a shot at getting a license.  It was a moderately successful approach until the state authorized giving the test orally if you couldn’t read/write English.
      Think about that, bravehearts: there are a bunch of teenagers on the road who can’t read any road sign.

      Posted by Celaeno on 2006 06 05 at 06:19 PM • permalink


    1. 85% – but I’m Ozzie so didn’t know what some the questions were about – but did know Police Officers RULE!  Some things are the same everywhere 🙂

      Posted by spyder on 2006 06 05 at 06:41 PM • permalink


    1. I got a 90 – missed the “left turn” question – you see a car three blocks up the road and you have to wait to make the turn?  And the high beam “where to look” question – I’m rarely driving anywhere where high-beams are used, especially on an undivided road.

      Posted by Foobarista on 2006 06 05 at 07:43 PM • permalink


    1. My score was 95%.  Of course, I live in Washington, and was born in Oregon.  8^D

      Heh, me too. Oregon drivers think that red lights only apply to the 4th driver after the light turns red.  Washingtonians will pass on either side of you. 95% for me.

      Posted by Taleena on 2006 06 05 at 07:44 PM • permalink


    1. #14: Rules are made to be broken. Didn’t you know that?

      (I grew up in the L.A. Basin.)

      Posted by steveH on 2006 06 05 at 08:23 PM • permalink


    1. Dang. That should have been #21, not #14. Sorry #14.

      Posted by steveH on 2006 06 05 at 08:24 PM • permalink


    1. I thought, having grown up around L.A., that I had a reasonable handle on traffic laws and being a pedestrian and driver.

      ‘Til I visited Boston.

      Wait for the light to turn green, then it’s OK to walk across at the crosswalk, right?

      They wait until you’re committed, and then you have taxis, along with everything else, turning at the intersection and crossing your path in front and behind you.

      And the simultaneous laying on of the horns to get you to, what, find another vehicle to lay down in front of? (Ignore the terminal preposition.)

      Posted by steveH on 2006 06 05 at 08:30 PM • permalink


    1. 90%—but then I’m a West Aussie, and I didn’t know what a “slow-moving vehicle” sign was. Here, they just have an escort front and rear with flashing lights, whose main task appears to be to stop anyone from passing, even when it’s safe.

      And I dunno about Oregon drivers being the top pf the wozza—b-i-l and I did 1000 miles on motorbikes there last year, and twice I was nearly cleaned up by (women) drivers turning across in front of me.

      Posted by BIWOZ on 2006 06 05 at 08:37 PM • permalink


    1. Slightly OT, but related-

      Barry Manilow’s music is being used by Oz law enforcement to ward off hoons in hotrods.null

      Sorry, “link” feature not working.

      Posted by marcus on 2006 06 05 at 09:49 PM • permalink


    1. I got 95%.  As an Aussie, the “right lane ends” sign had me buggered, as it is almost the same as our “road temporarily narrows” advisory sign.

      Also, if I really looked at the right-hand side of the road with oncoming high beams, that could well lead to disaster.

      I guessed the “slow moving vehicle” sign.  Over here, it’s a seagull in a circle in the middle rear.

      Posted by Kaboom on 2006 06 05 at 11:39 PM • permalink


    1. 85% – and I drive on the other side of the road.

      Posted by ilibcc on 2006 06 05 at 11:40 PM • permalink


    1. ilibcc — Don’t ask, don’t tell.

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 06 06 at 12:39 AM • permalink


    1. I got 80% and the only ones I got wrong were the street signs that we don’t have in Australia.  What is wrong with people?

      Posted by Crass on 2006 06 06 at 12:48 AM • permalink


    1. 44 No excuse Crass. I’m Aus and got 100%.
      I did my licence test 56 years ago.
      Maybe you just haven’t lived long enough yet to learn everything.

      Posted by Skeeter on 2006 06 06 at 01:06 AM • permalink


    1. i.e. I’m in Australia, R-Mc.

      Posted by ilibcc on 2006 06 06 at 02:09 AM • permalink


    1. Yikes! I scored so low that I’m movin’ to Rhode Island!

      Posted by Jack Lacton on 2006 06 06 at 03:58 AM • permalink


    1. I haven’t had a US licence since 1998, still got 95% on the test, and we’re actually moving to Rhode Island. Does this score have a directly proportional relationship to membership of the RI Democratic Party? I was thinking of joining the RI GOP as a matter of principle.

      Posted by StuartSkelton on 2006 06 06 at 05:17 AM • permalink


    1. as an aussie who’s never had any kind of licence i got 80 – people fail this test???!!!

      Posted by KK on 2006 06 06 at 06:45 AM • permalink


    1. but i do like cars…

      Posted by KK on 2006 06 06 at 06:46 AM • permalink


    1. 100% – born and raised in Detroit. Actually read the ‘rules of the road’ book once, some 35 years ago. See nothing’s changed. I’m currently in Georgia. Driving Atlanta’s downtown connector is easy – just put it in park.

      Posted by gajim on 2006 06 06 at 03:09 PM • permalink


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