State ranks fourth for road-savvy drivers

Test yourself

A traffic light with a flashing red signal means?

A. Yield
B. Stop
C. Caution
(The correct answer is B.)

Congratulations, Kansas drivers, for landing a spot in the road-rules final four.

Kansas ranks No. 4 among the 50 states and District of Columbia when it comes to its residents correctly answering questions on actual written driver tests, the kinds administered at Department of Motor Vehicles offices nationwide.

But don’t be too proud. The lofty ranking actually represents a slight decline from a year ago, when Kansas topped the list of “most knowledgeable drivers” compiled by GMAC Insurance.

“When we began this campaign five years ago, we embarked on a mission to help drivers become more aware of the rules of the road,” said Wade Bontrager, a senior vice president at GMAC Insurance. “We’ve seen the results ebb and flow, and this year scores are down. This reiterates the fact that each and every one of us need to continually be brushing up on safe driving practices.”

Two states tied for the top spot this year: Idaho and Wisconsin, with survey respondents recording average scores of 80.6 percent correct. Montana was third at 80.5 percent, followed by Kansas at 80.4 percent.

A year ago Kansas drivers scored an average of 84 percent, the highest average posted during any of the past three years.

Bringing up the rear this year: New York, with an average of 70.5 percent — barely above the 70 percent needed to receive a passing grade.

GMAC didn’t release detailed results from its 20-question test, but did compile some observations:

• Men remain more likely than women to pass, with men recording average scores of 81 percent while women average 79 percent. The gap was wider in 2008, with men averaging 89 percent and women averaging 80 percent.

• In terms of regions, states in the Midwest posted the highest average scores, while states in the Northeast rated lowest.

• Ongoing trouble spots for drivers: Questions regarding yellow lights and safe driving distances. On the flip side, “almost all drivers answered correctly what a solid yellow line meant,” GMAC said.

The results come from the GMAC National Drivers test, in which 5,183 drivers were given questions taken from DMV tests.