California DMV driver’s license exam has nothing on mine


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The California Department of Motor Vehicles driving test is rejected by many Californians.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles driver’s license written exam has come under intense scrutiny due to its chronically high failure rate.

Over the past two decades, 51.5% of those who took the exam failed. It’s back to summer school stuff.

The test is rather typical of multiple-choice tests. Each question is usually accompanied by two ridiculous answers, a somewhat plausible answer and the correct answer. Reflects life, doesn’t it?

So is the DMV test difficult? Not compared to the one I just made up.

1. When you turn right at a traffic light, you must:

A. Stop, observe traffic and turn right slowly after checking blind spots.

B. Wave your arms wildly inside the car.

C. Go to 89 mph (Sacramento drivers only).

D. The Pythagorean theorem.

2. At a stop sign, you must:

A. Come to a complete stop and wait your turn.

B. Slowly glide towards the intersection, smile softly and wave.

C. Drive through the intersection without worrying about oncoming traffic (Sacramento drivers only).

D. Rene Descartes.

3. When entering a freeway, you must:

A. Accelerate carefully while yielding to other drivers.

B. Crawl through traffic at 32 mph, almost causing a collision (Sacramento drivers only).

C. Come to a complete stop, reconsider the decision and back into traffic on the ramp.

D. Carbon, oxygen and hydrogen.

4. When changing lanes, you must:

A. Use your turn signal beforehand.

B. Then use your turn signal (Sacramento drivers only).

C. Frown and curse the car parallel to you.

D. The 13th Amendment.

5. When turning left at an uncontrolled intersection, you must:

A. Yield to the driver in front of you.

B. Take a big sip of your Big Gulp and give other drivers the middle finger (Sacramento drivers only).

C. Text your friend about what happened on your date last night.

D. The Crimean War.

6. When the speed limit is 55 mph, you must:

A. Respect the limit.

B. Reduce your speed from 92 to 84 mph (Sacramento drivers only).

C. Attempt to reach takeoff speed of a Boeing 737.

D. Lepidoptera.

7. When you observe a broken down vehicle on the shoulder, you must:

A. Proceed with caution.

B. Cross the middle strip, take off and land facing backwards.

C. Slow to 6 mph to watch the fascinating tire changing process (Sacramento drivers only).

D. Mitosis.

8. What does a yellow light mean at an intersection?

A. Stop if it is safe to do so.

B. Step on the accelerator.

C. Whatevs (Sacramento drivers only).

D. Marbury v. Madison.

9. Do you have to stay in your lane when preparing to turn?

A. Yes.

B. Only if you don’t eat Big Macs (Sacramento pilots only).

C. If you feel like it.

D. Photosynthesis.

10. What are speed bumps used for?

A. To indicate that you should drive slowly.

B. Decoration (Sacramento drivers only).

C. To indicate a socialist overcoming.

D. Ontogenesis recapitulates phylogeny.

11. Should you observe local road and weather conditions when determining your speed rate?

A. Yes.

B. Oh no (Sacramento pilots only).

C. Only if weather conditions involve an asteroid or volcanic eruption.


12. If a traffic semaphore malfunctions, you should:

A. Yield to other vehicles, in the order of their arrival at the intersection.

B. Blame Gov. Gavin Newsom (Sacramento drivers only).

C. What is a semaphore?

D. Okun’s law of the relationship between unemployment and economic growth.

13. Did you find this test too difficult?

A. I have a master’s degree in physics but I only answered 43% of the questions correctly.

B. Which event? Was it a test?

C. As I took the time to read the DMV study guide.

D. I’m a driver from Sacramento. What do you think?

Deputy Editor Jack Ohman has been with The Bee since 2013. Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning, he has also won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Howard Prize, the National SPJ Award and the National Headliner Award . A graduate of Portland State, Jack also writes editorials and columns.


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