Back to Driver’s Ed — Common Driving Mistakes
If driver’s ed is a distant memory, you may be shocked at what you’ve forgotten. Retrain your brain to avoid these common mistakes made by experienced drivers.
How many years and miles ago did you get your driver’s license? You may feel like an experienced driver now, but if you retook driver’s tests today, could you ace them?
It’s not unusual for adult drivers to have to retake the tests. Rules vary, but if you’ve let your license lapse for more than a year, moved to a new state or had your license suspended for point violations or DUI concerns, you may find yourself back at the department of motor vehicles, standing in line with fresh-faced teenagers. In some states, a concerned citizen—usually a family member—may file a request that will generate a requirement for an elderly relative to retake and re-pass driver’s tests.
But how can the rest of us know if our road skills could still pass muster? Get familiar with the most common mistakes experienced drivers make on driving tests:
Failing to read road signs.
Many drivers with a lot of know-how simply don’t—or won’t—follow road signs, such as adhering to posted speed limits. Another commonly ignored set of markers are school zone signs, which require drivers to slow down.
Making a rolling stop.
When you see a STOP sign, you must bring your car to a full stop. The infamous—and illegal—”rolling stop” describes drivers who merely slow down near a stop sign, maybe look around a bit, then drive right through. This puts fellow drivers and pedestrians in serious danger.
Backing up without looking back.
Shockingly, many drivers don’t turn to scan the scene behind them before throwing their car into reverse and hitting the gas. They glide into the street from their driveways, rolling over toys and—in the worst scenarios—pets or people. Or they bend the fender behind them.
Stopping inside the crosswalk.
Even experienced drivers often fail to stop at the crossing lines at both stop signs and traffic lights. Crossing lines are those wide, white marks that lie in front of signs and signals. As their name implies, they’re placed to allow ample room for pedestrians to cross. Drivers are not supposed to move into pedestrian territory until they’ve stopped fully and confirmed that it is safe to move forward. If you stop at a light and your car sits in this zone, pedestrians will have to walk around your car, usually in front of it, and often into other traffic lines, which is not a safe place for them to be.
Changing lanes without looking.
It’s critical that you look over both your shoulders before changing lanes. Signal your intention, check all your mirrors, and then glance back both ways to be certain that no one—or nothing—has found its way into your blind spots.
Not giving way to pedestrians.
If you’re stopped at an intersection that allows right turns on red, remember that no turn is allowed if there are any pedestrians in the crosswalk. “Any” means any. That means not slipping your car quickly in front of them or slipping in tightly behind.
Curious about how you’d fare on the written driver’s exam? Test yourself with these free online quizzes. In most states, 80 percent correct is considered passing. (Want to study first? States post their driver’s manuals online.)
California: Go to the DMV Driving Knowledge Tutorial.
Virginia: Take the Sample Knowledge Exam.
Maryland: Try out the Maryland MVA Online Driver Test Tutorial.
New Jersey: Check out the Motor Vehicle Commission Online Driver Manual and Quiz.
Study and save
Driving skills refresher courses can be beneficial at any age. MetLife Auto & Home® wants to reward those who make safety a priority. You could save up to 7% on auto insurance premiums when you take a MetLife Auto & Home-approved driver safety course.*
*Not available in all states. Certificate of completion required for Defensive Driver Discount.