IMAT 2012 Q36 [Arguments | Modern Driving]

Hundreds of miles of motorways are lit by unnecessary street lights. There is a need to save energy usage in all public services and it is time that the government considered turning off street lighting. Modern cars have powerful headlights which provide a clear view of the road ahead even without overhead lighting. There is also evidence to suggest that when drivers move from an area with lighting to an area without they are more likely to have an accident than those drivers who have driven exclusively on roads without lighting.

Which one of the following, if true, would most strengthen the above argument?

A. There is evidence that there are fewer daytime accidents on those motorways without lighting.

B. Driving in well-­lit areas at night can lead to a lack of concentration.

C. Research suggests that older drivers find driving without lighting more difficult.

D. Many drivers find driving on unlit roads difficult.

E. Street lighting costs less than other types of road maintenance.

Key Steps:

  1. Find the Argument
  2. Find supporting evidence in the text, this is needed before we analyse our possible answers.
  3. Eliminate easy options
  • These will be the answers that are opposite to what you want (ex. Weaken instead of strengthen)
  1. Determine which answer strengthens the argument THE MOST

In the above passage, the argument is stated clearly in the beginning: “There is a need to save energy usage in all public services”. The author speaks specifically to the unnecessarily lighting on motorways and the need for it to be reduced. The author then provides evidence that there is not a need for the lighting, and as a result the lighting should be reduced… The evidence indicates that firstly, “Modern cars have powerful headlights which provide a clear view of the road ahead even without overhead lighting” and secondly, that drivers who drive from well-lit to poorly-lit spaces are more likely to have an accident, compared to drivers who drive only in poorly-lit spaces. This implies that unnecessary lighting can actually do more harm than good. In this passage there are two main concepts. The first and main point is that: “There is a need to save energy usage in all public services”. The second point is that the excessive lighting of motorways is unnecessary.

When we are working through the answers it is important to keep in mind these two points. We will then look through the answers and eliminate anything that weakens or is the opposite of the argument. Once we have done that, we will identify which of the remaining options strengthens the argument the most .

A. There is evidence that there are fewer daytime accidents on those motorways without lighting:

One of the concepts that are stated in the passage is that the excessive lighting of motorways is unnecessary. This statement supports the argument as it explains that there are fewer daytime accidents on motorways without lighting. Even though this statement supports the argument, it is important to note that there is a condition in the statement. The statement only holds true for DAYTIME accidents. So that leaves the question: What about night time accidents? There is also not enough information to say that in this case, correlation equals causation. Just because there are fewer daytime accidents on motorways without lighting, does not mean that the lack of lighting is the factor reducing the number of accidents. What if there is less traffic on those roads because they aren’t well-lit and as a result some drivers prefer to use alternative roads? Therefore, this statement does not strengthen the argument the most and is consequently incorrect.

B. Driving in well-lit areas at night can lead to a lack of concentration

As stated above, one of the arguments that are stated in the passage is that the excessive lighting of motorways is unnecessary. This statement supports the argument as it explains that driving in well-lit areas at night can lead to a lack of concentration. Even though this statement also has a condition (driving at night), it makes a direct link between driving in well-lit areas at night and a lack of concentration. B is correct

C. Research suggests that older drivers find driving without lighting more difficult:

This statement directly opposes both of the arguments: “There is a need to save energy usage in all public services” and the excessive lighting of motorways is unnecessary. This would weaken the argument, therefore C is incorrect.

D. Many drivers find driving on unlit roads difficult:

Similar to C. The statement directly opposes both of the arguments: “There is a need to save energy usage in all public services” and the excessive lighting of motorways is unnecessary. As a result, it weakens the argument. Therefore D is incorrect.

E. Street lighting costs less than other types of road maintenance:

Looking at the passage we notice that the argument deals with energy saving and not monetary saving. Also, there is no mention of road maintenance and all it entails in the passage. Therefore this statement is not applicable and E is incorrect.