The majority of people failed the KIRO Traffic driving test

Apr 13, 2023, 2:00 PM | Updated: 3:00 pm

The KIRO Newsradio traffic team put together a short driving test to check your knowledge of the rules of the road last week. The results, well, were not good.

I am a little shocked by these results, but I guess I shouldn’t be, considering what I see every day on the roads.

Can you pass KIRO Newsradio Traffic team’s driving test?

To pass the written test in Washington state, you need to get 80% of the 40 questions correct. We asked 13 questions, and only 31% of the nearly 1,100 respondents passed our test.

69% failed. Let that sink in.

But I’m not here to condemn. I’m here to help educate.

Time for class.

How much room must you give a bicyclist when passing them in a car?

This is the question people missed the most. Only 42% got this one right. The answer is 3 feet. If you want to give more room, that’s fine, but the law is only 3 feet. Most wrong guesses gave bikes more room.

How long can you stay in a left turn lane before making that turn?

Only 51% got this one right.

This is a huge problem approaching intersections on busy roads where people pass all the stopped traffic to get up to a left turn light. The answer is 300 feet, and you cannot use that lane for passing.

How much space should you leave between you and the car in front of you on the freeway?

According to the driver’s manual, you should give yourself four seconds between you and the car in front. Only 56% of people got that one right. You can judge that by picking a spot that car passed and counting up to four. If you reach that spot before four seconds, you’re following too close.

Can you use a cell phone while driving?

We all know that holding our phones while driving is illegal. But 40% of test-takers didn’t realize that you can put your phone in your hand to report illegal activity. You can also use it for summoning medical or emergency help.

Are you allowed to use high beams at all times?

We get a lot of complaints about the new high intensity lights, but a lot of drivers have their high beams on all the time. It can be really dangerous. Only 63% of people got this one right. You need to turn them off within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle. That threshold is 300 feet of a vehicle in front of you.

More from Sully: Speed reduction coming for SB I-5 near Kent-Des Moines Road

I have long been a proponent of making us all take the written exam every 10 years to keep our licenses. I think this survey — though small in sample size — shows that a lot of us don’t know some very important rules of the road.

Reading over the manual might just make you a better driver.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.


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The majority of people failed the KIRO Traffic driving test