Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

Full Bio →

Written by

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about car insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything car insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by car insurance experts.

In 2000, the Census Bureau revealed that there were over 280 million people living in the U.S., with the U.S. Federal Highway Administration reporting that more than 190 million of them were licensed to drive. As the years have passed, the number of licensed drivers has obviously increased — as has the population — coming to 211 million motorists in 2009.

What’s surprising, though, is just how many of these drivers shouldn’t be on the road at all. To illustrate this point and bring awareness to the issue, GMAC Insurance decided to deliver a National Drivers Test to more than 5,000 Americans. From 2005-2011, the company administered yearly tests, each one containing questions from various state-driving exams. And, every time, the results pointed to one conclusion — today’s drivers just don’t know enough about driving.

The average score from 2011 was just under 78%, with statistics showing that more than one in five Americans would fail an actual driving test. Yet not all hope is lost. In an effort to reverse this trend, a few driving topics that seem to repeatedly cause the most problems for Americans has been outlined below with need-to-know facts and refreshers that just might help you or someone you know become a better driver.

Safe Following Distance

Year after year, drivers have struggled the most with one topic — proper, safe following distance from the car in front of you. The rulebook says drivers must give themselves a two-second window between themselves and any vehicle they are following, but CNN reports that only one in four people from the 2011 survey knew that. So, the next time you see a fender-bender or find yourself tailgating your neighbors on the road, think of this rule and its ultimate purpose.

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Vehicle Lights and Fog

If you’re like the majority of those surveyed, you might not think there is a correlation between these two things, but there is. AAA, another insurance company describes how a vehicle’s low beams can make it easier for the driver to see the road while simultaneously making their vehicle’s presence more apparent to other motorists. High beams or “brights” do much more harm than good in foggy conditions because the bright light simply reflects off of the fog back into your eyes — something that will obviously not help your cause of better, safer driving.

Merge Doesn’t Mean Stop

Coming to a complete stop rather than merely merging into traffic is another common driving faux-pas. GMAC’s driving test helped shed light on this issue. It is a problem mainly because it often abruptly interrupts the flow of traffic, catching subsequent drivers off guard.


While specific rules of the road vary by each state, the topics listed above are universal staples to drive by, regardless of where you are. For those who want to learn more, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is a good place to start, but of course, state-specific websites such as this one for the Texas Department of Transportation are best if you are looking for information pertaining specifically to your area.

Detailed laws aside, one of the biggest secrets to becoming a better driver lies simply in eliminating distraction from your time behind the wheel. Give your commute your full attention and take your time. Life might be short but a car accident can make it even shorter.