Auto insurance

Before the real deal, take new-driver test online

Tuesday, April 23, 2013by  Jon Osterberg

Getting your driver’s license soon?  
   Before you take the exam, take a practice test online. Both Washington and Oregon offer them on state government websites.
   Parents, you might enjoy taking the test also, to see how well you know the current rules of the road.
   Washington’s website offers 25 multiple-choice questions, requiring 20 correct answers to pass. You can take the test several times. Each time it loads a different set of questions.
   Oregon’s website offers 10 multiple-choice questions and requires eight correct answers to pass.
   I took Washington’s test several times, curious to learn if my driving knowledge is current despite my years. (For reference, I got my license shortly after the Beatles’ “Let It Be” hit No. 1.) I was pleased to score 24 out of 25 on my first try – I messed up on “Don’t park within (blank) feet of a fire hydrant. I answered 10; the correct response is 15.
   A Q&A about high-beam headlights surprised me: “You must dim your high-beam lights when within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle.” I would have answered a greater distance, like ¼ mile; 500 feet seems way too near – it’s less than the height of the Space Needle.
   Urban drivers might know the correct answer to this, yet I see Seattle-area offenders all the time: “Drivers entering an intersection to turn left must not enter the intersection unless they can get through it without having to stop.”
   Like many who took our April 2011 PEMCO Poll, I’m annoyed by Oblivious Left-Lane Occupants, or left-lane campers as they’re commonly called. So I was discouraged that, after taking the test four times, I saw no questions concerning “stay right except to pass.”
   Ready to test your knowledge? Take a stab at the Washington and Oregon online practice tests.

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