Everybody loves to bitch about bad and stupid drivers. Someone has finally produced hard scientific data on where the stupid drivers are located.
When faced with a written test, similar to ones given to beginning drivers applying for licenses, one in ten drivers couldn't get a passing score, according to a study commissioned by GMAC Insurance.
Drivers in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states did worst. Twenty percent of test-takers failed there.
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.
Northwestern states had the most knowledgeable drivers. In those states, just one to three percent failed the test. Oregon and Washington drivers knew the rules of the road best. In Oregon, the average test score was 89.
I live among the most knowledgeable drivers in the country, and most of them are unaware that their cars came equipped with that fancy turn-signal option. If I leave my little corner of the continent, they just get dumber. That's one more reason never to leave the house.
This study reports figures whether people know the rules, not whether they obey them. And it only measured the lower 48. I'd love to know where Alaska fits into the picture. As a state of rugged individualists and iconoclasts, Alaskans neither know the rules nor follow them when they do. When I lived there, Alaska had more dinged up cars than any place I'd ever been. Having two working headlights was a clear indication that you were an outsider.