Tuesday, May 31, 2005
The state of Rhode Island leads the nation in driver cluelessness, according to the survey. The average test score there was 77, just eight points above a failing grade.
Those in neighboring Massachusetts were second worst and New Jersey, third worst.
GMAC Insurance administered a questionnaire to more than 5,000 drivers around the country, and learned that New Jersey's drivers were dumber than those of 47 other states. Dumber than, for example, drivers in Mississippi. Or West Virginia. Or any number of other places upon which New Jerseyans would heap scorn. The various pathologies described in the study seem particularly common in the Garden State:
According to the study, many drivers find basic practices, such as merging and interpreting road signs, difficult.
For instance, one out of five drivers doesn't know that a pedestrian in a crosswalk has the right of way, and one out of three drivers speeds up to make a yellow light, even when pedestrians are present, the study said.
What do they think windshield wipers are for?
State rankings here. Iowa, the first state to issue me a driver's license, has the third most knowledgeable drivers in the country. For what that's worth.
Bizarrely, Massachusetts and New Jersey are also ranked second and third, respectively, in per capita income. So they have that going for them.
My good man, you must understand that there is a distinct difference between Rhode Island drivers and Massachusetts drivers. The Rhode Island drivers ignore basic traffic laws because they are ignorant of them.
Massachusetts drivers make a deliberate, conscious, and calculated effort to GIVE THE FINGER to traffic laws.
Rotary? First one in.
Stop light? Pause, maybe.
Double solid line? Pass doubly fast.
Right on red? How about left on red.
NJ drivers are uniformly awful, but we have to pin some of the blame on the state itself. They developed awful roads that require their own dictionary - i.e. the jughandle because drivers could not figure out how to make proper left turns.
So, people driving in the state for the first time would have to make left turns from the right lane exit to the jughandle. And vice versa when a jughandle is not present.
There's no consistency in how the state handles turns, so people will constantly make last minute dashes to their allotted turns.
As for pedestrians, your life is in your own hands to step out in to oncoming traffic. Because it is entirely likely that the driver headed your way is Stevie Wonder (or drives like he was Stevie).