Think you are a good driver? Take this test to find out the truth

Motoring expert Paul Murrell wants you to test your road safety knowledge this summer.

Think you are a good driver? Take this test to find out the truth

Stirling Moss, one of the best drivers ever, suggested that there were only two things you should never say to a man: that he was less than a good driver or that he was less than an outstanding sexual performer. He then went on to opine that most men would rather admit to being sexually inadequate than to being an average (or less than average) driver. Mind you, Sir Stirling also declared that women didn’t have the mental toughness to compete in Formula 1, so draw your own conclusions.

However, it is one of the great unexplained conundrums (or ‘conundra’ for the pedants) that 90 per cent of drivers think they are better than average.

Now Toyota is putting us all on the spot. And no, not about our sexual prowess.

Do you know what percentage of brain resources are used if you talk on your phone while driving? How much space you should leave when passing a cyclist, or how much your braking distance increases, the faster you drive?

These are some of the questions Toyota put to three high profile Australians as part of The Big Fat Festive Safety Quiz social media campaign, developed in partnership with Road Safety Education Limited.

Australian Paralympic swimmer Ellie Cole, former Aussie Rules player and Australian of the Year Adam Goodes and Australian Rally Champion Harry Bates were all put under the microscope – and in front of the camera – to test their safe driving knowledge in a fun festive season-themed quiz.

Social media users can check out how they fared on Toyota’s Instagram and Facebook pages and then take the quiz for themselves here.

Road toll statistics list experienced drivers in the 30–70-year-old age group as the highest percentage of road fatalities.

Road Safety Education Limited program director Greg Rappo said that often older, more experienced drivers became more complacent on the roads and it was important that they refresh their skills and knowledge regularly. So, yes, we’re talking to you!

“People know how to drive but they may have passed their licence many years ago and since then road rules have changed, the driving environment has changed and the safety performance of cars has changed dramatically,” Mr Rappo said.

“So, in order to ensure they remain alert, concentrate and are aware of other road users, it is important that people keep abreast of changes to rules, conditions and their own driving skills,” he said.

10 tips to stay safe

1. Safety starts with your car
Having your vehicle serviced and safety checked before any long-distance trip is always a good idea, however there are many things you can check yourself to ensure that you arrive safely at your destination. Always check that your tyres (including the spare) are in good condition with adequate tread and correct pressure. Also have a quick look to see that your headlights, flashers and brake lights are in working order and your wiper blades are in good condition.

2. Put the mobile phone away
The physical, visual and cognitive distraction of using a mobile phone significantly increases the odds of a crash. Each time a driver checks a text message, his or her eyes are off the road for an average of over four seconds, typically enough time to drive over 100 metres.

3. Always belt up
You’re 10 times more likely to be killed in a road crash if you’re not wearing a seat belt. Wearing a seat belt could mean the difference between getting a few bruises versus flying into the windscreen or being thrown out of the vehicle in a crash. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that all passengers are safely belted and don’t forget that any pets in the car should also be safely restrained.

4. Drive to the conditions
Speeding is one of the biggest killers on the road. Keep within the speed limit and always choose an appropriate speed for the driving conditions – in particular, slow down in wet weather. This will not only reduce the risk of a crash, but also help drivers avoid costly traffic fines and loss of demerit points.

5. Check your blind spot and don’t drive in someone else’s blind spot
Mirrors generally do a good job of showing what’s happening behind the vehicle, however they still leave areas big enough for other vehicles, bikes and people to hide in. Always check for blind spots with a good head over-the-shoulder look for others around you. Also avoid travelling in the blind spot of another car and especially heavy vehicles.

6. Don’t drink & drive
Even a small amount of alcohol in the bloodstream affects driving ability and increases the risk of a serious or fatal crash.

7. Don’t be a fatigued driver
Sleepiness impairs a person’s attention and coordination skills, all crucial for safe driving. Going without sleep for 18 hours has a similar impairment on driving ability as 0.05 alcohol and an estimated 20 per cent of fatal road crashes are caused by drivers being fatigued.

8. Leave a safe following distance
The most common road crash is a rear end collision – always leave a three-second gap between you and the vehicle ahead.

9. Plan your trip and allow extra time
The level of traffic at holiday time can be unpredictable, so allow plenty of time for your journey – avoid being a driver in a rush who makes bad decisions on the road.

10. Be a good role model
Your good driving can have a positive effect on other road users. Sharing the road, being patient and courteous, letting another driver into a line of traffic and thanking others with a wave (or, as I have started doing, a single flash of the hazard lights) can all help to make your journey safe and enjoyable.

Do you think you are a better-than-average driver? How did you fare on the test?

Paul Murrell is a motoring writer and creator of, which specialises in “car advice for people whose age and IQ are both over 50”.

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    To make a comment, please register or login

    28th Jan 2020
    Well - the last time a P-plater pulled out in front of me in a country town with a very few yards notice - two quick flicks of the wheel, went around and missed completely.. would have astonished a racing car driver, considering I drive a Ford Territory... not the most agile of handling vehicles.. big heavy and soft in the Rse..

    I habitually piss people of by abiding by the speed signs - then laugh when the cop has them pulled over.... I guess that makes me a reasonable driver... honestly - I have no sympathy for people who speed etc on public holidays when they know it's double cost and double points.
    28th Jan 2020
    I think we need to define a 'good' driver here - is it one who abides religiously by all the rules - one who has great skills - one who drives slow and careful - one who can race along the highway and never hit anything.. what are our criteria?

    I can do all of those things apart from drive dead slow and over-careful... that is the cause of some accidents...
    ex PS
    30th Jan 2020
    To my mind, a good driver is one who drives according to to the current conditions.
    In my younger days I drove trucks for a living and took calculated risks on the road, risks that did not entail breaking the law. I never got a ticket whilst behind the wheel of a truck.
    But I was fit and my reflexes were spot on.
    As I got older I realized my reflexes and sight were degrading, I took steps to allow for this.
    These days I take care to adapt my driving habits to take into account the lack of skills of others who share the road, for instance with tail gaters, I always skow down to make up for their reduced reaction time. They seem to want to make others speeed rather than overtake. Probably just another skills deficiency.
    28th Jan 2020
    No-one at YLC could find an "Australian" photo to use for the article??
    28th Jan 2020
    Well I like the look of the new Yaris -- out in May BUT I bet it is a darn Auto -- I like to drive a Manual, I have a Yaris $ door anual now bought in 2011
    28th Jan 2020
    Hi Plan B. I've put the question to Toyota and I'll let you know their response.
    29th Jan 2020
    Toyota advise that the new Yaris hybrid will come with the unloved CVT transmission. Perhaps some of the other variants will get a manual gearbox.
    28th Jan 2020
    Can't get to the test, so can't answer that.
    28th Jan 2020
    Hi Jenny. Try this link
    29th Jan 2020
    Wordsmith, I tried that site and it does not take you to a test?

    Just more about the new cars.
    29th Jan 2020
    Hi again, Jenny, PlanB. I thought you wanted the Yaris test. Sorry. I'm trying to find the correct link to the driver test and I'll post it as soon as I do.

    28th Jan 2020
    Oh - my basic rule on the highway is - "a football field in front and a football field behind... if you want to use the right lane get through and get away from me (idiot).. this is not peak hour Parramatta Road... this is a 110 kph zone and things happen fast...."
    29th Jan 2020
    OK, where is this test we can take, please!!!!???
    29th Jan 2020
    OK I found it
    under the 3 photos there is IN VERY DULL PRINTING click on them and it tells you what to do --
    I would have thought everyone did these things
    29th Jan 2020
    Glad you found it. For everyone else, go to a photo of Adam Goodes, Ellie Cole or Harry Bates and run the video. That brings up the questions. Pity they couldn't have made it simpler!
    Pass the Ductape
    29th Jan 2020
    Always check for blind spots with a good head over-the-shoulder look for others around you.
    (or, as I have started doing, a single flash of the hazard lights)

    Both actions are paradoxical when put into context concerning the argument. And therein lies the rub!
    29th Jan 2020
    Re. "The Big Fat Festive Safety Quiz" Where does one find that ??
    29th Jan 2020
    Since the story appeared on seniordriveraus, Toyota appear to have changed their website. I'm still chasing it and will post the link as soon as they make it clear AND SIMPLE! Sorry, JohnP (and others)
    30th Jan 2020
    Yes I THOUGHT I ha d found it but NO I have not --
    Retiring Well
    30th Jan 2020
    Until I forget and drive my Tessla into a servo and try to fill it up.
    30th Jan 2020
    Okay everyone, here's the link to the Toyota Big Fat Festive Quiz (the answers are at the end ... don't cheat!)
    31st Jan 2020
    Thank you, Wordsmith, I got all right except 5/9/12/15

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