The Pennsylvania Driving Test

Columnist : Albert Paschall

My job responsibilities changed recently and I’ve been spending a lot more time on the road.  Led me to thinking that it’s been a long time since I took a driving test and I thought you might join me in this little exercise to test your knowledge of driving in our state.

If the suggested speed limit on Route 202 near Valley Forge is 55 miles per hour, if traffic isn’t stopped dead, what speed will drivers most likely travel?
(A) 55, observing the suggestion
(B) 65, a comfortable pace
(C) 75MPH or more

If you decide to observe the suggested speed limit anywhere in this state what is the most likely reaction you will get from other drivers?
(A) Virtually all of them will pass you
(B) You will get caught between trucks and have to speed up anyway
(C) People will waive at you – with one finger

Traveling on the Pennsylvania Turnpike what is the one thing that you will never see?
(A) Deer bounding across the highway
(B) Pizza sold at almost every rest stop
(C) The State Police stopping speeding truckers

Traveling on Route 83 outside of Harrisburg, what is the most dangerous vehicle on the road?
(A) The rented truck doing 70MPH with a Penn State student driving it
(B) 30-year-old cars with fenders and rear view mirrors wired to stay on
(C) The Governor’s SUV

Leaving your favorite shopping mall on Saturday afternoon which is the most dangerous driver that you can encounter?
(A) The grandmother who has her grandchildren out for ice cream
(B) The 18 year old male with a new sports car
(C) The 20 year old female on the cell phone

Your car stalls during a rainstorm in a busy intersection at rush hour, what will be the reaction of your fellow Pennsylvanians?
(A) They will get out and offer their cell phones to you to call for help
(B) The mechanically inclined will stop and try to help you get your car started
(C) They’ll blow their horns and scream nasty things at you as they pass by

Your car is involved in an accident with another vehicle, both are disabled and no one is hurt, what is the best procedure to follow?
(A) Contact the police
(B) Exchange insurance information
(C) Make sure the guy you hit doesn’t have a gun under the front seat before you get of your car

Unfortunately ‘C’ is the right answer to most of these questions. The sorry statistics are the real questions to be answered. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in 2005 there were more than 130,000 highway crashes that killed over 1600 people. Of those 1600, 62% were caused by what the department calls aggressive driving. The rest of us call it road rage. Some believe it’s a phenomena born of late 20th century gridlock on our highways and are foolishly trying to institutionalize reckless, dangerous driving by calling it intermittent explosive disorder.

The State Police are working with local law enforcement agencies trying to crack down on road rage in the state. Someday let’s hope they are successful. In the meantime its summer in Pennsylvania, slow down and enjoy.

Albert Paschall
Senior Fellow
The Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, Inc.