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Why isn’t freeway driving part of the test for new drivers to get a license?

Q: Chris Smith of Highland asked why Department of Motor Vehicles examiners don’t test new drivers by making them enter and exit a freeway as part of the test to obtain a driver’s license. “I find many young drivers have no clue how to merge onto the freeway. Instead of getting up to speed with the freeway traffic, they slow down and cause more of a bottleneck. I see others who will not even let you in to enter the freeway … I just think the DMV should spend time observing freeway driving when testing drivers and less time driving around the block,” Smith said.

A:  We ran this by the DMV Office of Public Affairs/Media Relations and here is what they said in an email: “The DMV undertook a multiyear effort to field test and validate changes to the drive test recommended by an independent report by McKnight & Stewart (1990). Based on this evaluation, freeway driving, including entering and exiting a freeway, was removed from the Driver Performance Evaluation, the test administered to beginner drivers. This was done based on the additional time required to add the freeway component to the test, and because certain DMV field offices are too far from a freeway to allow for reasonable access in a timely manner.”

The DMV noted that it reviews and approves all driver’s education curriculum and that entering and exiting the freeway is a required topic in the Driver Education Lesson Plan. Completing a driver’s education course is required to receive a permit.

Weather and driving

Monsoon Season and Driving: Caltrans wants the traveling public to know that the National Weather Service has designated June 15-Sept. 13 as Monsoon Weather Season, which means summer rainstorms and flooding can affect driving conditions and roads throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties. During monsoon season, mountain and desert routes can be affected by storms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than half of all flood-related deaths happen because people walk into, or near, flood waters and underestimate the water’s force. Deaths also occur in cars swept downstream. Six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult, a foot of rushing water can carry away most cars, and two feet of water can carry away an SUV or a truck, according to Caltrans.

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