This might come as a shock if you watch area drivers at work, but Virginia has one of the most stringent driver’s license tests in the country, according to a recent study.

Virginia ranked sixth, behind the likes of Maryland (third), Massachusetts (second) and the state of Washington (first). Washington, D.C. was ranked eighth hardest.

Siegfried & Jensen, a Utah-based personal injury law firm, produced the study by analyzing driver handbooks in all 50 states and D.C.

The Commonwealth’s “knowledge test” ranked as the most difficult, requiring wannabe drivers to score at least an 86. Maryland was a close second at 85.

The road portion of the test for Virginia also is one of the toughest, with 17 elements. The state of Washington has the most difficult test, with 19 road elements.

Virginia’s overall test difficulty score was 71. The state of Washington’s overall score was 80.

Our state test possibly would have challenged for the top spot if not for its low cost of $4. The state of Washington charges $85 and Massachusetts’ test costs $50.

Virginia also is one of few states that do not require a learner’s permit for drivers 18 or older.

If you really want a license and can’t cut it in the Commonwealth, you might want to try your luck in South Dakota, where the overall difficulty score came out to 42.

In that state, it appears that test-takers who figure out the lights on a traffic signal are half way to passing the road test, which has only six elements.

Mudd Tavern Road closures scheduled

Drivers who use Mudd Tavern Road in Thornburg should plan for delays this week.

Weather permitting, all traffic on that road will be stopped for 10 minutes a pop Monday and Tuesday for work around the Interstate 95 overpass, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The stoppages will happen from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Also next week, there will be periodic “one-way traffic and flagging operations on Mudd Tavern Road, Mallard Road and Dominion Avenue next week,” according to local VDOT spokeswoman Darragh Frye.

Crews will be installing mast arms for three new traffic signal as part of the project on the overpass and exit ramps.

Drivers will still be able to use the I–95 exits, but according to Frye, those who want to avoid delays can use the Ladysmith or Massaponax exits.

Work on the Mudd Tavern Road overpass, interchange and Mallard Road started in October 2017.

The $22.4 million project is expected to be completed in September.

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Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436 sshenk@freelancestar.com