Caroline Tison


How would you do if you had to take a driver’s test again?

Each day, we get in our cars and drive. We go to work, to school, run errands, bring the kids to hockey or soccer practice, and then some. For the most part, we got our drivers license a long time ago.  In my case, it was 23 years ago.

I remember most of the road safety and traffic rules I learned while studying for the SAAQ’s test way back then, but at times I do have a blank.  Do I have right of way, or does he?  Am I allowed to cross those double yellow lines on Pierrefonds Blvd?  That ambulance that is roaring behind me – should I move to the centre lane or stay in the left lane and let the ambulance take the center lane?  Humm. Maybe I need a little refresher course? And it looks like I may not be the only one.

Each day I see people breaking traffic rules: crossing solid lines, not giving priority to the city buses merging from the shoulder, not signaling their intentions (I don’t have ESP,  working on it, though!), not giving the right of way to pedestrians, tailgating (yes, I’m guilty of this one). Of course, some of this can be blamed on stress, being impatient and rating poorly in the courtesy department. But in some cases it seems that people are truly oblivious to the fact that they are doing something wrong, illegal or plain dangerous.

I went on the SAAQ website and discovered that you can check your knowledge online.  You can take the short 20-question test, the 50-question test or the 272-question test.  I took the short one and scored 80 per cent. Not sure I would get such a high score on the 272-question test!

Is it sufficient to take a driving course only once in our lifetime? Is having a driving licence a right or a privilege? Should we not be subject to taking a refresher test?  What if the SAAQ made it mandatory for all holders of a driver’s licence to take an online refresher test each five years? What should the passing grade be? Surely not 60 per cent! After all, each day we get behind the wheel of a deadly weapon.

What do you think about this ?


  1. I think refresher tests [online and such] would be a good idea every 5yrs or so , but I strongly feel that a physical retest should be done at a certain age somewhere around 70 or so as there are way to many dangerous senile drivers out there these days that pull off some crazy stunts ex: had an elderly gent . tear past me on st-charles kirland on THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD!!!!! and wow did he look confused.

  2. By Jennifer Biddle

    I learned to drive 26 years ago. I just took a Defensive Driving course two weeks ago. What an eye opener. Although I consider myself to be a good driver, there were many important things that I learned…and should have known already? The whole class, full of long time driving adults, was burning with questions…less about actual defensive driving and more about everyday driving rules! A refresher course every 10 years may be appropriate without being burdensome.

  3. By Caroline Tison

    Hello Jennifer!
    Thank you for sharing your experience! I am curious… what were the top 3 things that were a good refresher, or you were surprised you had “forgotten” about? Happy (defensive) driving!

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