Friday, February 19, 2010

I get it now

I now understand why IL gives out these asinine speeding tickets with such frequency, and it’s not just for revenue generation. It’s because they’re trying to kill us. Really.

As evidence, look at the driver’s ed class that I took so that the ticket would stay off my record. In the first place, I suppose I was expecting something more like the driver’s ed classes of yore, where they drilled the minutiae of the rules into you until you wound up doing a fine imitation of a befevered crazy person. Which was fine. That’s what you want on the roads, people who understand the rules. The crazy part is incidental.

But what do I get instead? A whole section on what teenagers need to know in order to drive, as well as how to install car seats. Another one on the difference between “road rage” and “aggressive driving.” Car maintenance. Seriously, car maintenance. WTH? For THIS they’ve kept my license for 4 months now?

It’s tough to say what my favorite parts were – it’s a tossup, quite frankly, among so much helpful advice. Like the part about 4-way stop signs, where they note that if two cars stop at the same time, the one to your right has the right-of-way. I’m listening to this and thinking, there’s a universe where cars actually stop at stop signs? Wow. Just….wow. In my little corner of the world, I stop, others stop after I do but then careen on through – or they don’t even stop at all, and barely slow down. Which leads to much swearing and “gesturing” on my part.

Speaking of which, they also have a section on what frame of mind you should be in when you drive. And their advice on avoiding the road rage trap is thus:

· “Leave earlier.”

· “Avoid driving when angry or upset.”

Umm, hello! If I did that, I’d never get behind the wheel of a car!

Truly though, the most useful part involved the few snippets of actual rules that they offered up. First, let me note that when I took their test before the course, as instructed, I scored a 94%. Couldn’t figure out what I got wrong, but then when I was taking the course, I realized something: they’ve changed the rules, so as to maximize potential harm to the citizens of this fine state. Is there perhaps a new death tax or something that Chicago is collecting that would spur them to go to such lengths?

Because how else do you explain their new approach to the left turn at a stoplight? The rule has always been that if you’re waiting at a light, you pull forward into the intersection to wait, and then turn when you’re sure it’s safe. Standard stuff. Except now, you’re supposed to wait behind the white line, and THEN turn, eventually, at some point. The problem being that at many intersections in Chicago, you’ll literally never be able to make that turn, because so many cars go through red lights. So you’ll sit there, and then you’ll die, because the increasingly long line of drivers waiting behind you will all get out of their cars and beat you to a pulp. And even if you do try to follow this new rule, you’ll get a succession of red-light tickets that’ll be automatically generated, because the only left turns you’ll be able to make will be when the light is red.

So consider yourselves warned, should you hew to these new directives. Me, I’d rather take my chances with getting fined for being in the middle of the intersection than face the wrath of Chicago drivers.

Happily, I did complete the course, scored a 100%, and then a few days later received in the mail…….a certificate? That’s it?? Where the hell is my license?? Perhaps I can frame the certificate and take that to the airport as my ID, instead of (in addition to?) my now very shabby and crumpled piece of paper?

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