Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

January 27, 2013

Use your headlamps

THE ISSUE: Driving in fog, rain or snow.

OUR VIEW: Watch for other drivers and ensure they see you. Turn on your headlights.

Indiana motorists rank seventh in the nation in driving knowledge, according to the 2011 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test — unchanged from 2010 but a vast improvement from 2009, when Hoosiers were a middle-of-the-pack 22nd.

2011 was the seventh year for the survey, which polled more than 5,000 licensed drivers from all 50 states. It found that 18 percent of motorists would not pass a written drivers test.

Kansas drivers were tops in the nation with an average score of 82.9 percent on the 20-question exam. District of Columbia motorists were dead last with an average score of 71.8 percent. Scores of 70 or lower would receive an “F” — as New York drivers did in 2010.

GMAC said test-takers continue to have difficulty with questions concerning yellow lights and safe following distances. It’s our experience that many local drivers don’t know when to switch on their headlamps.

It’s a habit that creates dangerous driving conditions.

Question 19 of the GMAC National Drivers Test – which you can take online at www.nationaldriverstest.com – asks, “In bad weather, you should make your car easier for others to see by:

“A. Turning on your headlights

“B. Turning on your emergency lights

“C. Turning on your parking lights

“D. Flash your high beams”

The correct answer is “A,” of course. You probably knew that. So explain to us why many area motorists don’t turn on their lights in fog, rain or snow? On our way to work Friday morning, we noticed several drivers hadn’t bothered to turn on their headlamps.

They could see the road just fine, apparently, but we had trouble seeing them.

The National Weather Service forecasts freezing rain tonight, and showers through Tuesday. Driving through such precipitation can be hazardous. When driving in fog, rain or snow, watch for other drivers and ensure they see you.