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Category: Central Texas

Driving Test Practice 2 (Intermediate)

This quiz is designed to help you pass the Texas state driving exam. Take the test as many times as you want, and find explanations to your answers after the quiz.

Answer and explanations

How’d you do? Whether or not you passed with flying colors, it’s helpful to know WHY something is the way that it is. Here are the answers for this quiz:

1. At night, you should turn your high beam lights to low beam when…

Correct answer: All of the above

Explanation: High beams can reflect on precipitation in the air and make driving even more difficult. They also can have a blinding effect on other drivers, so it’s best to turn your high beams off whenever you are approaching another driver – both from in front and behind.

2. Areas of the road you cannot see in your mirrors are called _________.

Correct answer: Blind spots

Explanation: These spots are not visible unless you turn your head to look in that direction. Newer cars have detection for blind spots that make them less dangerous.

3. When a vehicle’s tires leave contact with the road and rise on top of water, it is called ___________.

Correct answer: Hydroplaning

Explanation: Hydroplaning is when you lose control of the vehicle because the tires are not gripping the ground. This is most common in the first 30 minutes of rainfall. Though it is not called a “water scoot,” your car is basically scooting on water. Drifting is different in that the tires maintain contact and traction, but the centrifugal motion allows the car to pull to the side, going a different direction than the tires.

4. In Texas, you must have your lights on a half-hour after sunset until….

Correct answer: A half-hour before sunrise.

Explanation: Usually, this time is somewhat bright outside and the streets and other cars are visible even before the sun breaks over the horizon. It’s worth mentioning that keeping your lights on all day can further prevent accidents, but it is not the law, as in this case.

5. It is illegal to park within 15 feet of ___________.

Correct answer: A fire hydrant

Explanation: Fire trucks need to have access to a fire hydrant in an emergency. They cannot use their hose to put out flames without it. If your car is in the way, it is preventing firefighters from doing their jobs in a timely manner. In fires, every second counts. It is not illegal to park near houses or mailboxes, though the postal service may leave you a note to park elsewhere so they can reach the mailbox.

6. Before changing lanes, you should…

Correct answer: Check your mirrors and look over your right shoulder to the rear

Explanation: While you should be looking all around you for other vehicles, physically turning in all these directions is dangerous. Mirrors make it easy to see what’s happening around you. And, of course, there’s your blind spot, where you’ll have to turn around slightly to check.

7. Following too close behind a vehicle is known as ___________.

Correct answer: Tailgating

Explanation: Tailgating is dangerous, but highly common on the road. Be sure to keep your distance with the car in front of you, to give you enough stopping time should that vehicle slam on the brakes.

8. A broken yellow line allows you to…

Correct answer: Cross over into the opposing lane to pass a vehicle, if it is safe

Explanation: Sometimes, cars in front of you may be going under the speed limit and holding up traffic. A broken-yellow line allows you to pass them on the left if no one is coming toward you. This can be dangerous. Be sure you can see far enough ahead of you to make sure you have time to pass.

9. When approaching a flashing yellow light you should…

Correct answer: Slow down and approach with caution

Explanation: A flashing yellow light usually means there is other traffic or pedestrians you may have to slow down for. Even though they shouldn’t cause you to stop, being unwary could cause you to get in an accident.

10. On a roadway with 3+ lanes, which lane offers the smoothest flow of traffic?

Correct answer: The middle lane

Explanation: The right lane is dangerous because people are speeding up and slowing down for getting on and off the freeway. The left lane is the fast lane, and often has people going in and out passing others. The middle is usually more constant and steady.

Answer and explanations

How’d you do? Whether or not you passed with flying colors, it’s helpful to know WHY something is the way that it is. Here are the answers for this quiz:

1. Which occupants of the vehicle need to be wearing proper seatbelts and safety restraints while the car is in motion?

Correct answer: The driver and all passengers

Explanation: While you may not be fined, as the driver, for passengers over 18 who aren’t buckled in the car, they can be ticketed for not buckling up. As the driver, you are responsible for your own seatbelt and those of kids in the car. But it’s always good to remind your passengers to buckle up in any case.

2. If a tire blows out, you should …

Correct answer: Keep the vehicle moving straight

Explanation: You have less control over the car when a tire blows out, so try to keep the vehicle as steady as possible. Don’t jerk the car to another direction or slam on the brakes. Slow down gradually, and when you do, slowly move to a safe spot on the side of the road where you can put on your spare tire or call for help.

3. Under Texas law, you may not park…

Correct answer: In any of the above

Explanation: Sidewalk and crosswalk paths are protected because vehicles are deadly to pedestrians. All of these instances provide a safe path where they can cross without unexpectedly getting in the way of traffic. You may not park in an intersection because it would interrupt the flow of traffic.

4. If you approach an intersection with no signs or traffic lights, you must…

Correct answer: Yield to vehicles on the right

Explanation: An intersection without signs or traffic lights can be dangerous. Slow to a stop and move after the person to your right.

5. In Texas, the speed limit in urban districts is ____ unless otherwise marked.

Correct answer: 30 mph

Explanation: If you can’t find a speed limit, staying under 30 mph is legal.

6. In Texas, if you intend to turn, you must turn on your signal at least _____ feet ahead of the turn.

Correct answer: 100

Explanation: A hundred feet is plenty of time for drivers around you to be aware of where you want to go. In an urban setting, if you put your blinker on too early, you’ll probably pass several turn-ins where other drivers might assume you’re going to turn. If you need a visual of what 100 feet looks like, here’s the slip ‘n’ slide equivalent.

7. When you approach a railroad crossing that a train is approaching, you must stop at least ____ feet from the tracks.

Correct answer: 15-50

Explanation: Trains do not have the ability to stop quickly, and are often going faster than you think. When the crossing arms go down, come to a stop a safe distance away. Allow yourself space in case of an accident that might push you into an oncoming train.

 

8. What is the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC)?

Correct answer: .08%

Explanation: Drunk and buzzed driving is extremely dangerous, as you’ve probably heard. That’s because your senses are distorted and your reaction time is much shorter. Never drive if you feel buzzed. If you’re unsure, get a ride home just in case.

9. If you are on a multi-lane highway, you should use what lane for passing?

Correct answer: The left or middle lane

Explanation: The left lane is intended for passing, though the middle lane works for passing cars on the far right lane.

10. To avoid a head-on collision, you should…

Correct answer: Steer right toward the shoulder or curb

Explanation: Steering toward the left could seem like a good idea if the vehicle appears to be coming at you. However, the car could correct at the last minute, in which case a crash would be unavoidable. Do not keep going straight. Your chances of a head-on collision are greater, which often result in a fatality. If you steer right, even if you have to drive off the road, it’s better than being in a head-on collision.

Taking the driving test is stressful. We’re here to help.

Driving Test Practice 1 (Easy)

This quiz is designed to help you pass the Texas state driving exam. Take the test as many times as you want, and find explanations to your answers after the quiz.

A deer stands in the middle of a snow-covered mountain forest road.
Deer are a dangerous threat to cars, especially at night.

Whether you’re driving on I-10 west toward San Antonio or up I-35 to Austin, you’ll find yourself in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. These rolling hills boast their beauty all year long with magical views of spectacular sunsets. What might be the only drawback of driving through the area you might ask? Being in a deer collision.

 

According to an annual report done by State Farm, the likelihood of hitting a deer in Texas is 1 in 157. Texas was ranked the 37th riskiest state where drivers are most likely to collide with a deer or animal. November is a notorious month for deer-related collisions, as it’s the beginning of the general season for deer hunting.

Even the most cautious of drivers can find themselves face-to-face with an animal on the road. Sometimes, a deer collision is unavoidable, so we’ve come up with a few steps you should take after hitting a deer.

1. Make sure no one in the vehicle is injured

Hitting a deer can cause death or severe injury to you and passengers in your car. It’s important to get help for any injured persons before anything else.

2. Move your vehicle to a safe place

Pull to the side of the road, out of traffic’s way, and turn on your hazard lights. This will let you fully assess the damage without being in harm’s way. The lights will also allow other drivers to be aware of you (and possibly the deer) on the road.

3. Call the police

If a deer is blocking traffic, it could be a threat to other drivers. Call your local law enforcement agency and notify them of the situation. If you can move the dead deer out of traffic, do so, but do not tag or remove the deer from the area.

4. Document

Take photographs of the road, your surroundings, and damage. This can be helpful for filing an insurance claim.

5. Don’t touch the animal if you can avoid it

A frightened and wounded deer could hurt you or itself. Do not touch the animal if you don’t need to immediately move it off the road for safety.

6. Contact your insurance company

File an insurance claim if you have car damage you wish to be repaired. Keep in mind that your insurance premium may go up if you make a claim. However, you’ll want to do so for serious damage, since the repair will probably cost quite a bit.

7. Don’t immediately drive away

Look for loose parts, broken lights and other hazards as deer can cause serious damage to your vehicle. Drive away slowly and keep an eye out for unusual noises or movement of your car.

A deer stands in the middle of a paved road near tall, green trees

Texas had nearly 110,000 reported animal collisions from June and July of this year. Be more aware during the hours before sunrise and just after sunset because that’s when drivers are most likely to be in a deer collision. One estimator in the Dripping Springs area says the average cost to repair a vehicle with deer collision damage can range anywhere from $3,000-$5,000.

If you’ve been in a deer collision accident, upload your photos of the damage to our Smartphone Estimating Tool to get a quick and easy estimate.

Cars are not so environmentally friendly. The latest CO2 emissions data (2017) puts the U.S. as the second-largest contributor to greenhouse gasses, only second to China. And one-third of that contribution is from transportation. We all need transportation to get to and from work and other activities, especially here in the sprawling land of Texas. Often, cars are among the least eco-friendly.

But just because transportation is problematic doesn’t mean we can’t use it while reducing our carbon footprint. There are many steps we can take to reduce emissions while driving.

First, take the quiz to see how much you know about being an eco-friendly driver. Then, read more about these questions (and their answers) below.

Are you an eco-friendly driver?

In 2015 transportation emissions accounted for about a third of total emissions in the U.S. Passenger vehicles make up 60 percent of this. New technology has allowed for lower emissions in vehicles, but there are other ways your drive can impact the environment as well.

Take the quiz below to see how much you know. Then, read more about these answers below.


As you can see, being efficient isn’t always straightforward. Here are our answers and why they’re important.

1. What is the best way to conserve energy on the road?

There is some truth to each of these statements. Turning the AC off and rolling the windows down can reduce your fuel consumption, but only when going about 40 mph or under. And even then, it depends on your type of vehicle.

Going an average of 55 mph is an agreed-upon speed for optimum efficiency, but not 65 mph. And turning off headlights can save a bit of gas, but, this too, depends on the type of headlights. The effects of both can be marginal.

The one consistently useful tactic of conserving energy is to start and stop gently. Gas is wasted on sudden increases or decreases of speed. While slow stops and starts may not be viable in every situation on the road, it’s a good rule to drive by.

2. What sort of car is the most eco-friendly?

Your best bet for an eco-friendly car is going to be an entirely electric sedan. Some all-electric options include the Audi A3 e-Tron SUV, the Chevrolet Bolt, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, the Kia Niro EV, and, as mentioned in the answer, the Nissan Leaf.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are recently-recalled Volkswagen models that include the 2014 Jetta. Several VW models faked their emissions test results and actually produce more emissions than recommended by the EPA.

3. Which of these has an impact on your fuel efficiency?

All of these answers had big impacts on fuel efficiency. Cars vary greatly on MPG. Hills and rough roads can contribute to a lower fuel efficiency because your car will have to work harder against the elements of friction and gravity.

One factor you may not have realized, that impacts your carbon footprint, is the kind of electric grid your city has. However your state fuels electricity determines whether that energy is high or low emissions in the long run. If you’re charging up your EV in West Virginia, odds are you’re doing more harm than you would using gas-powered vehicles. Why? Because 92% of West Virginia’s power grid is fueled by coal-fired electric plants, and coal emits more CO2 than gasoline.

4. Which of these is not a direct fuel source for cars?

This is a little more straightforward. There is no way to power your vehicle via wind (at least not yet!), though some cities partly power their electric grid with wind energy. This energy is more eco-friendly than coal-produced electricity.

5. A typical passenger vehicle produces about how many tons of carbon dioxide per year?

The average vehicle emits 4.6 metric tons of CO2 every year. That’s over 10 thousand pounds just for one family vehicle.

6. Which of these is not helpful in reducing your transportation footprint?

There’s no advantage to keeping a low vehicle occupancy except for the extra weight causing a bit of drag. Overall, it’s more eco-friendly to carpool when possible to reduce the number of trips taken.

Talking about reducing trips, doing all your errands in one go will save gas, as opposed to taking several separate car rides.

Idling through the drive-thru is taking a greater toll on the environment as lines for fast food grow. In 2018, an average of 234 seconds was spent in drive-thru lines. That’s several minutes you could be saving gas by walking in the door.

Another way to reduce your car emissions is to unload unnecessary weight and/or drag. Especially if you have an outside weight like a kayak loaded on the luggage rack or a tow trailer attached.

7. Which of these car maintenance items can help you get your best MPG?

Car maintenance helps make sure your car isn’t using more energy than it needs to. For things to run smoothly, you’ll want to keep it in top condition.

 8. Which is a benefit of electric vehicles?

People may actually wave at you on the street, but it’s not likely. The biggest advantage to an electric vehicle is that they quickly make up for their (typically) high price tag in energy savings. Unfortunately, their emissions do not fight CO2 emissions, but we can’t have it all, can we?

To find a smart, efficient vehicle, visit the EPA’s website.

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An all-way stop sign set against a blue sky and white clouds.
There are a lot of weird laws out there.

Honestly, with America being a sprawling nation, it’s practical for different areas to have different driving laws. Some terrain requires different safety than others, some cities are prone to different (bad) driving habits, and people in different areas have different takes on what makes drivers safer.

With that in mind, there are some driving laws that are just plain wacky. Here are a few of our favorites.

A sepia photo of a one way sign in front of a brick wall with a window.
Going down a one-way is OK in Alabama, on one condition.

Alabama

An old law says that drivers can go the wrong way on a one-way as long as they have a lantern attached to the front of the vehicle.

Arkansas

Don’t honk your horn at a sandwich shop in Little Rock – it’s illegal for drivers to honk “at any place where cold drinks or sandwiches are sold after 9 p.m.”

California

It is illegal in CA for women to drive in…a bathrobe?

It’s also illegal to shoot animals from a moving vehicle. Unsurprising, but quite specific.

A car with a black interior has the front driver door open, showing the steering wheel and dash panel
You might need this vital car part in Illinois … or if you want to drive at all.

Illinois

Just in case you didn’t know the steering wheel is of vital importance, Illinois made it illegal to drive without one.

A man leads a camel down a paved, dusty desert road.
Is this normal, Nevada?

Nevada

It is illegal in NV to drive a camel on the freeway. But not on city streets, where you’re free to hold up traffic to your heart’s content.

New Jersey

Dogs and other pets must buckle up in the car or at least be in a pet carrier. One too many drivers were distracted by pets sitting on their laps while driving.

Also, those who have been charged with a DUI cannot apply to get a vanity license plate if the incident was within 10 years of the application. Trivial, but their lawmakers’ hearts were in the right place, I guess.

a green gas nozzle is inserted into the gas tank of a silver car
Women still pump their own gas there. Rebels.

New Mexico

Women are not legally permitted to pump their own gas or change their own tire. Of course, that’s assuming there will be a man around to do it for them.

New York

In Sag Harbor, it is illegal to disrobe in your vehicle.

boy leans forward while roller blading down a paved road with green grass in the background
This isn’t legal in some states.

Ohio

Rollerblading on the road in Ohio is illegal. Get off the road, kids!

South Carolina

In Hilton Head, it is illegal to have trash in your car.

close up photo of windshield wipers on a clean windshield
Even if you’re (legally) driving without a windshield in Texas, you’ll still need these.

Texas

In Lubbock, it’s illegal to drive within an arm’s length of alcohol.

In Richardson, U-turns are illegal.

In Galveston, it’s illegal to drive down Broadway before noon on Sunday.

Also, across the state, it’s illegal to drive without windshield wipers. Though there is no law against driving without a windshield!


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The aftermath of a collision, with a silver car facing an upside down red car on a freeway.
Accidents are expensive and often drivers rely on the other driver’s insurance to pay for the damage they caused.

By now you probably know how insurance works (hopefully). You pay monthly for a certain amount of coverage, and depending on what you pay, your insurance will cover part, or all, of your accident damage. But if you get in an accident that isn’t your fault, the other driver should have insurance to cover the damage.

Unfortunately, even though car insurance is required in almost all states, many drivers go without. This can result in additional fines or even a suspended license for uninsured drivers.

State laws

In some states, uninsured drivers are still required to cover certain costs of your accident. In New Hampshire, for example, insurance is not required, but a financial responsibility law requires individuals to show evidence that they have the resources to cover damages should an accident happen. However, buying the minimum car insurance policy is still easier and more financially responsible.

Some states also have no-fault insurance, which means that instead of determining who was to blame for the accident, each motorist is covered by their own insurance company. Your insurance pays regardless of who was at fault and you won’t have to prove it was the other driver to get covered. Texas is not one of these states, but they include Florida, New York, and Massachusetts among others.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

When you purchase your insurance, you’ll have the option to get uninsured motorist coverage (UIM). This will cover your costs if you get in an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance.

UIM is required in some states and required to be offered by insurance companies in some states. It’s basically an extra guarantee that your accident costs will be covered should the worst happen.

Lawsuits

Two big books and a gavel sit on a wood surface.
Going to court is an option, especially when the other driver was reckless or drunk.

If you get in an accident with an uninsured driver, you can also file a lawsuit against them. You have to build a case that shows that the other driver was at fault. This isn’t a guarantee you’ll get your bills paid, however. Many drivers don’t have insurance because they can’t afford it, let alone your medical bills. This route is often for more extreme cases of negligence and serious medical bills.

Texas requirements

In Texas, we have a minimum requirement of bodily injury and property damage liability. This will cover up to a certain amount of damages to the other driver’s car damage and medical costs. The Texas minimum coverage is 30/60/25, which means it will cover the other driver up to 30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 in property damages.

It’s important to know what kind of insurance you have and how it will supplement your accident costs.

UIM coverage is not required in Texas, but it is a good idea to have it anyway. Even if the other motorist in an accident does have insurance, but it doesn’t fully cover your costs, UIM can make up the difference.

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Photo shows a bridge/walkway leading into downtown Austin, with cars driving by and several pedestrians enjoying the view.
Austin is beautiful to explore, but if you’re driving you might find yourself, instead, looking at someone else’s bumper.

Anyone who lives in the Central Texas area is no stranger to traffic and construction delays. Whether it’s construction, rush hour, or a wind turbine blade stuck in an intersection (yes, it’s real), traffic is all but guaranteed to be slow.

But just how slow? Texas A&M Transportation Institute has released their annual report on Texas roads for 2018, featuring the most congested roads in the state. Here are some of the highlights in Austin.

The cost of congestion

It’s apparent traffic is a problem when it makes us late to work, but it is also a problem for pollution and a waste of resources.

In Austin alone, the report found a cumulative delay of 66 million hours and 24 million gallons of wasted fuel. That’s about 37 olympic-pools-worth of gas.

Our time sitting in traffic also adds up – a commuter who spends 45 minutes a day commuting spends the equivalent of 15.6 days in the car per year. And that’s just for work travel, alone.

Worst roads

A google map of Austin with IH-35 highlighted from Ben White Boulevard to 290 N. The route shows red and orange in the downtown area.
This stretch of IH-35 was determined the most congested road in Austin for 2018. This is a Google Map from non-peak hours, which still shows a slowdown at Lady Bird Lake.

At the top of the list for Austin’s most congested roads is IH-35 from US 290 N to Ben White Blvd, where the annual delay per mile is 1.3 million hours. This is the span of IH-35 that goes from North Loop through downtown and south of Lady Bird Lake.

Anyone who has been through downtown could probably tell you it’s the worst stretch of traffic in the city, but the extent of its congestion is mind-blowing.

It is followed by the next segment of IH-35 south, from Ben White to Slaughter Lane, where the annual delay is nearly 500,000 hours per mile.

For freight-related traffic, IH-35 in Austin is also the most congested in the entire state.

Other congestion

Honorable road congestion mentions include:

  • google map of MoPac in Austin
    MoPac from Texas Loop 1 to Highway 183.

The problem

Texas A&M Transportation Institute has gathered this data since 2010 to measure traffic and monitor roadway volume and speed data, in order to reduce gridlock in the state.

The institute, along with many other sources, attribute a rising population with worsening road congestion across the state. A survey in 2016 found that 83 percent of Austinites are unhappy with our driving conditions in the city.

Many solutions have been attempted, and failed, and no feasible alternative has been proposed. Without a solution in sight, the best thing Austin drivers can do is shoot for non-peak hours to travel or use public transportation as much as possible.

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Picture shows a dark road with only the pavement, reflective lane stripes and curve markers.
Limited visibility also comes with a shorter reaction time to prevent a crash. Avoid driving in the dark, if possible.

You’re driving home and tired. To keep yourself awake, you’re jamming to your favorite rock station, but not really paying attention to your surroundings.

All of a sudden, a deer pops out of nowhere, and you to swerve around him.

Does any of this sound familiar?

It is important for drivers to revisit night driving safety and avoid accidents in situations like this. Did you know that along with the increase of drunk drivers, the chances of an accident are three times greater at night than the daytime? Whether it is rush hour or a clear road, driving safely takes a lot more effort at night.

Check out these tips to help you drive through the night safely.

Graphic explains statistics of night driving.
We can all take steps to be safer drivers, especially at night.

1. Headlight control

Turn your headlights on at least an hour before sunset. Not only does it make it easier to see in the dark, it also helps other drivers see you in the dark. Be considerate to other drivers around you and avoid using your high beams when approaching or behind another vehicle.

2. Clean headlights

A before and after photo of a foggy-looking headlight and a clear one.
Cleaning your headlights regularly can make a big difference in night visibility.

Always keep your headlights clean. Make sure they work properly; otherwise replace the bulbs as soon as possible. Without working, clear headlights, there is a greater risk of getting into an accident as someone might not see you on the road.

3. Avoid distractions

It is already difficult to see in the dark, so we want to limit as many distractions as possible. Stay off your phone and pay attention to the road and surroundings. Avoid listening to loud music to hear the approaching traffic. Since it is harder to see at night, we must rely on our other senses for a safer drive.

4. Speed control

Road sign on the side of a flat Texas road shows a normal speed limit of 80mph and a night limit of 65mph.
Slowing down at night gives you more time to react to dangers on the road.

It is harder to see where we are driving in the night than the daytime, especially in the areas without street lamps. Always keep a safe distance from the car in front of you and avoid getting too close! Slowing down will also give you a better chance of stopping safely if a deer runs onto the road.

5. Stay up, be alert!

Continuously check all mirrors when driving for blind spots and any movements. Not only is it hard to see other motorists, it’s as difficult to see animals on the road. Avoid eating a heavy meal before driving to avoid drowsiness, and stay hydrated. If you need to take a break from driving, stop by a hospital. This is a safe area for a stop.

6. Beat the darkness

Try to leave earlier than later. When it is lighter, we are more awake and attentive to our surroundings than when we drive at night. Our vision is not compromised, and we avoid the greater risks of night driving. This will accommodate the possibility of city traffic and slow-downs as well, which may set us back to arriving several hours after dark.

We all have scary stories of driving at night. These tips can help avoid future situations and keep you safe. For more driving tips and car care, follow us on Facebook.


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