Defensive Driving Course

This year was my turn to take an online Defensive Driving Course to knock a few percent off our automobile insurance premium. It’s admittedly difficult to make traffic law interesting, but this was the worst-written, poorest-edited, and most factually incorrect course I have ever had the misfortune to waste eight hours of my life taking.

For example:

Emergency signals, also called emergency flashers or hazard warning devices, are flashing red lights found on the front and rear of the vehicle

No, they’re amber on both ends of the vehicle. Flashing red on the front is reserved for vehicles with police and firefighters inside.

… material used to block the sun from coming into a vehicle through the windshield and windows must have a luminous transmittance of less than 70%. That means the material must allow at least 30% of the light to pass through it

No, lower transmittance means less light passing through the glass.

I think the author and editors live in a part of the world once colonized by the British Empire:

Driving class - mirror-image roadway crossing
Driving class – mirror-image roadway crossing

Here in New York State, we drive on the right.

Update: scruss recalls the image in an old UK driving manual. It describes a type of pedestrian crossing unknown in the US.

The sign recognition lesson claimed this sign marks a section of road with two-lane traffic:

Driving class - 2-lane traffic
Driving class – 2-lane traffic

NYS DMV says it actually indicates two-way traffic on an undivided road.

The course says this sign marks the point where the two-lane section ends:

Driving class - lane reductIon
Driving class – lane reductIon

It really means a divided highway ends and two-way traffic begins.

The course definitely offered amusing incorrect answers:

Driving class - slippery area
Driving class – slippery area

The sign really means slippery when wet, but I suppose that’s in the nature of fine tuning.

The closing page of the course told me I could take a survey, but, somehow, the survey never appeared.

6 thoughts on “Defensive Driving Course

  1. To be fair, in most of New York state, you drive on the right. In New York City, however, people tend to drive whichever way they believe gets them to their destination fastest. The amazing thing is that they have consensus on what that is. Presumably the ones that can’t figure it out just take public transportation or taxis. In DC or Boston, however, with too small an area to enforce a common theme and a large international transient population, it’s chaos.

    1. The Empire State Trail extends southward to the tip of Manhattan, so we could, in theory, bike all the way there.

      In practice, though, I’m not among the quick and would definitely be among the dead in NYC traffic.

    1. I wonder if they cleared the copyright issues before using it as “clip art”?

      Thanks for the pointer!

  2. “Bishop of Kuopio in a serious traffic accident: a family car around on an icy road”

    https://www.tellerreport.com/news/2021-01-20—-bishop-of-kuopio-in-a-serious-traffic-accident–a-family-car-around-on-an-icy-road–.H1r8J2qHJO.html

    “conscientiously following the speed limits”

    80 km/h speed limit throughout the year on that particular road. So it pays to take a look at…

    “The road weather model”
    https://en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi/road-weather-model

    1. The picture definitely makes “drifted into the ditch” a good example of understatement.

      When it’s snowing, we’re not driving. It’s a good thing we don’t live on your street!

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