So, You Think You Can Pass a Driving Test?

Most of us think we're good drivers — let's put that to the test

pass a driving test

Most drivers on U.S. roads took Driver’s Ed and sat for the written portion of their driver’s test as young teenagers. But even if you passed easily then, consider this: a lot of common rules of the road become fuzzy even after just a few years. (And, hey, you can still get your license if you miss a number of the questions on the test). There’s a decent chance that even if you think you’re following every traffic law, you might be mistaken. So, do you think you can pass a driving test today?

We love a good internet test as much as the next person, so we’ve devised a quiz to test your knowledge of common driving behaviors that police and other experts say even experienced drivers often forget (or fudge a little).

You might also want to bookmark this for the mini study guide at the end of the quiz. (No peeking!) Brushing up on driving skills never hurt anyone…

So if you really want to see if you actually do know the rules of the road or if you’re one of those drivers, carry on, friend.

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Study Up on the Rules of the Road:

Traffic Signs and Signals:

  • It should be noted that driving defensively is always the safest option. So, if you arrive at a four-way stop and you have the right-of-way but another driver is aggressively insisting on going first, defensive driving says you should let the bully go (and vent later).
  • You can turn right on red after yielding to other traffic if there’s no sign stating otherwise (and no town or city ordinance banning it, like in New York City).

Highway Driving:

  • Highway on-ramps are for getting up to speed, not for stopping and looking for an opening. Entering a highway at a slow speed is dangerous and illegal. Yes, you must yield to drivers on the highway, but it’s also their responsibility to move over and let you in whenever possible (or your responsibility, when others are trying to merge onto a highway lane you’re driving on).
  • The left lane on a highway is only meant for passing, and traveling slower than the rest of traffic will get you pulled over and ticketed in many states if there’s a police officer around.
  • Tailgating is actually illegal, not just obnoxious and unsafe. You must maintain a distance of three seconds behind the car in front of you. Find a fixed object, watch them pass it, count to three—by Mississippis or one-thousands—and if you’re just passing the same object on “3” then you have a good following distance. Why three seconds? That’s how long it would take for you to stop in an emergency at highway speeds.

Safe Driving Practices:

  • Not driving for weather conditions is actually against the law in many places. Even if you’re not going faster than the speed limit, if the roads are bad or visibility is limited, you must slow down.
  • In many states it’s illegal to use your hazard lights for anything but an emergency. If you’re driving on the highway—even if it’s raining/snowing/sleeting—and you’re traveling at the same speed as the rest of traffic, don’t use your hazards. And definitely don’t use them just because you’re lost or looking for a turn.
  • The details of pedestrian right-of-way laws vary by state, city, town, and can even be different in places like university settings, so it’s important to be aware of laws in your area. In some places, drivers must stop or yield right of way for pedestrians even in uncontrolled crosswalks. 
  • You must drive with caution and follow the rules of the road in parking lots, but there’s no specific law banning cutting across empty parking spaces (do note that some private lots expressly ban it, though, so always check for signs).
  • If a school bus is stopped with red lights flashing, you must stop no matter which direction you’re driving and no matter whether you see children or not.

Police Officers and Emergency Vehicles:

  • When a police officer is pulling you over, you need to act quickly. Slow down (but don’t slam on your brakes) and look for the closest spot that allows you to pull fully off the right hand side of the road. If you can, leave enough room for the officer to approach your window without fearing being hit by traffic.
  • If you refuse to take a chemical test (a blood or breath test) during a suspected DUI stop, your license may be suspended. How long depends on prior convictions and where you live, but it’s not a way to avoid trouble. Don’t drink and drive!
  • Each state has its own laws when it comes to emergency vehicles – they can vary from stopping to slowing down to moving over (AAA has a great state-by-state list), but pulling over to ensure the vehicle isn’t on your street is a safe driving practice no matter the law.