If you're driving at night with your headlights on high beam, when must you dip them? If you have a rear tyre blowout what will your vehicle do?
If you're not sure of the answers, you're not alone. They're among the 10 Road Code questions that teen drivers and others sitting learner licence theory tests get wrong most often.
The NZ Transport Agency has for the first time revealed the 10 toughest questions from the class 1 learner licence theory test, and is encouraging all new drivers to learn the code before sitting the test.
"The good news is that the pass rate for the driver licence theory test is increasing and is now sitting at around 70 per cent - and even the toughest questions on the theory test are still being answered correctly more often than people are getting them wrong," said agency road safety director Ernst Zollner.
Test data shows that nearly all applicants know what to do when approaching a one-lane bridge, how to respond to flashing lights and sirens, and what to do when someone in another vehicle begins to pass - with questions on all of those topics answered correctly by more than 99 per cent of new drivers.
The agency introduced computerised theory testing for learner driver licence tests in November 2009. The test asks 25 general and 10 class-specific questions randomly selected from a databank of over 200 questions, but unlike the old paper 'scratchie' tests which the computerised test replaced, it presents them as a random string of 35 questions.
Nationwide the pass rate for the class 1 (car) theory test reached 70 per cent in July, and while a slight drop to 67 per cent was recorded in August, the national pass rate is up significantly from 60 per cent at the same time last year and under 50 per cent in 2009.
"We've seen the pass rate for computerised theory testing steadily increase as young drivers have gotten the message that they really need to learn the road code before sitting the test," said Mr Zollner.
"That's great news for everyone who uses the road, because we need our newest drivers to be safe drivers who understand the road rules."
The agency encourages young drivers who have passed the theory test and gained a learner licence to put in plenty of supervised practice and use the free resources at www.practice.co.nz to prepare for the more challenging restricted licence practical test which was introduced in February last year.
Mr Zollner said the number of fatal and serious injury crashes involving teenage drivers had dropped from 475 in 2008 to 257 last year, and while the downward trend was encouraging, road crashes were still the single biggest killer of teenagers in New Zealand.
With an average of one teenager killed on New Zealand roads every week in recent years our teen crash rates were still among the worst in the developed world.
"That's a situation no-one should accept, and New Zealanders are looking for decisive action to reduce this needless waste of young life and young potential," Mr Zollner said. "Raising the standard of driving required to gain a licence with more challenging tests is an essential part of the solution."
Mr Zollner said more challenging driver tests were a key element of the Government's Safer Journeys action plan to improve the safety of young drivers. Other changes introduced as part of the same package have included increasing the minimum driving age to 16, lowering the youth alcohol limit for teen drivers to zero, and encouraging teen drivers and their parents to buy the safest vehicles they can afford.