Canadian Underwriter

If your clients re-did their driving tests, would they pass?

August 15, 2018   by Jason Contant

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If British Columbians had to take their driving test over again, it’s likely that about 40% of them would fail, according to recently released results from the more than 83,000 people that completed the province’s public auto insurer’s Drive Smart Refresher Test.

“The results show that we could use some improvement,” says the province’s public insurer, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). “If the refresher test were treated like the knowledge test, which requires a minimum score of 80 per cent to obtain a learner’s licence, over 18,000 (40 per cent) would have failed.”

ICBC made its observation on Aug. 3, when more than 45,000 completed the test. A week later, more than 83,100 people had taken the test, with an average score of 79%.

Based on the completed tests, drivers had the most difficulty in the following areas:

  • what to do around emergency vehicles
  • minimum following distances, and
  • the meaning of road signs.

Interestingly, questions related to texting while driving had near-perfect scores, despite the fact that more than 34,000 drivers were ticketed for using an electronic device in 2017, according to provincial police. “We think it boils down to a matter of driver overconfidence,” ICBC spokesperson Joanna Linsangan said Wednesday. “Many think they can multi-task – eat their breakfast, do their makeup, or send a text – all while driving.”

People may have a false sense of security that if they’re stopped at a red light, nothing can happen. “We found that 60% of crashes happen at intersections, which makes it even more important to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings.”

Here are some of the top questions that were answered incorrectly:

  • Headlights must be used from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise
  • Do you stop at an uncontrolled intersection? You only need to slow down and look out for other road users
  • When following a fire truck, drivers must leave 150 metres of room
  • The minimum following distance when behind a large vehicle or a motorcycle on a high-speed road should be at least three seconds
  • The minimum following distance in bad weather or slippery conditions on high speed roads should be at least four seconds
  • In good weather in the city, minimum following distance should be at least two 2 seconds
  • Drivers are required to yield to a public transit bus that is signaling to enter traffic on all roads where the speed limit is 60 km/h or lower
  • When approaching a stopped emergency vehicle with flashing lights on highways with speed limits of under 80 km/h, in addition to changing lanes, drivers must slow to 40 km/h
  • When approaching a stopped emergency vehicle with flashing lights on highways with speed limits of 80 km/h or over, in addition to changing lanes, drivers must slow to 70 km/h.

The results revealed that when answering “slow down, move over” questions, many erred on the side of caution and chose the slowest option. “The problem with that is, if you’re travelling on a highway with speeds of 100 km/h, there’s an inherent danger to travelling one-third slower than the other vehicles around you,” Linsagan said.

The test also found that the following road signs were incorrectly identified (clockwise from top left):

  • A school crosswalk, yield to pedestrians; if there is a crossing guard, follow directions
  • Without a speed tab below, the sign means the driver is entering a school zone; reduce speed when children are present
  • This means: obstruction – keep left
  • No turns permitted at this intersection.

ICBC reported in July that vehicle crashes in the province hit an all-time high of 350,000 in 2017, about 960 a day – a 25 per cent increase since 2014.

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1 Comment » for If your clients re-did their driving tests, would they pass?
  1. Mike says:

    With this article in mind, claims could be dramatically reduced. It is a JOKE that drivers are tested and licenced at age 16 and never tested again for life. if the insurers have all the money to spend on marketing, why don’t they invest it in their customers? Offer a voluntary drivers test and if the client gets a good mark, then offer a discount! Then offer to test again every few years. ALSO – offer free skid course testing and dangerous driving courses and a discount. Wouldn’t it be nice knowing that the driver beside you on an icy road has likely taken a skid test course? It is time the insurers helped us all tone our skills!

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