It wasn’t far off. Before written or driving tests came to being, you just filled out the blank license, paid a quarter or so, and you had a bona fide driver’s license.
Eva, a distant cousin, never drove a car, got her license in the old fashion way, and mailed in her money every time the license was about to expire. When her husband died, she either had to drive or walk to get around. Since she was too old to walk very far, she just got in the old car and drove. After all she had a valid license.
She drove slow,( very slow), and as careful as she could. She never got into an accident. But then too, we recognized the car and made sure we kept out of her way.
The Old Hand:
I am so old I remember when rush hour traffic was a few hours in the morning and a few in the late afternoon. Not twenty four hours like it is now. I remember when the phrase ‘going a mile a minute’ meant you were speeding. Today it means you are probably slowing traffic down.
I remember when the rule of thumb was a distance of one car length for every ten miles per hour. Today it’s probably one for every 55 mph. Since bad drivers abhor a vacuum, leaving too much space is an invitation for someone to crank the wheel sharply and cut into your lane.
I remember when you signaled your driving intentions by rolling down the window and extending your forearm. Extended up for a right turn. Straight out for a left turn. Downward meant a slowdown or a stop. It’s so much easier today with blinkers. So why do only half the drivers use them? The traffic weavers are the worst. In their efforts to cut off every car in sight, they cause people hit the brakes, blow the horn, and give the one-finger signal.
Most of today’s drivers went to driving school and took tests, and then too many of them forgot their lessons as fast as they forgot their high school algebra. I am not romanticizing by saying the percentage of today’s bad drivers is any larger than yesterday’s. I’m just pointing out that there is much more cars on the roads today and they go much faster then yesterday’s, especially when they decide to cut you off. So please do some thinking while driving, the life you save maybe your own, or mine. And we’ll all arrive at our destinations in better moods.
Published 4/1/11 SPPP Bulletin Board
The Old Hand:
I watched a man trying to back his SUV into a parking space at the mall. There was at least six spaces empty on either side of the space he wanted. He tried about five times, finally just left it. One half of the SUV was in one space, the other half was in the space next to it. I noticed both spaces were posted for ten minute parking only. Since he was parked in two spaces, does that mean he can park there for twenty minutes?
I have a hard time understanding what is accomplished by backing into parking space. You might get out faster but since it takes the average driver seesawing back and forth about three, four times, whatever you gain in time on the exit, you’ve lost on the entrance by a long ways. And then if you want to put groceries etc., in the trunk, you probably have to pull the vehicle ahead. I saw a customer with van at a big box store loading plywood after he had parked backwards in the space. He had to actually pull the van into the driving lane, blocking any other vehicle from using the lane. He got the plywood loaded but he also caused a lot of horns to be honked and fingers to be waved.
I always get a leery whenever I see somebody back into a parking space when there is a bank close by. Is it because the driver might want to make a quick getaway?
Published 7/14/13, SPPP, Bulletin Board
The Old Hand:
Since my wife doesn’t drive, and I don’t shop, I spend a lot of time in nice weather sitting in the car, read a little, snooze a little, observe the life of the parking lot. I see children mistaking the it for a playground, shoppers, with full carts, blindly believing in the right-of-way of pedestrians, and drivers whose only focus is finding a parking space. I see a lot of accidents waiting to happen.
A few lots have speed bumps in their entrance lanes to help counter some of these potential accidents.. Most drivers see the bump, slow down, ease over it, and maintain a sensible rate of speed. Some don’t notice the bump and go flying over it. It’s amazing how, when their tires return to the road, and their right hands can no longer hold onto the steering wheels, their left hands always manage to keep holding the cell phones tight against their ears.
But the drivers that really make me shake my head are those that avoid the bump altogether. They speed up, pull into the wrong lane, then quickly get back into the correct lane once they are past the bump. Such a shame when something that is meant to promote safety becomes an excuse to drive stupidly. But then, some people don’t need an excuse to be stupid when they get behind a wheel, it’s just second nature.
So when you go into a store parking lot, remember the warning of the sergeant in Hill Street Blues and ‘be careful out there’, and when you leave the lot, be extra careful out there.
Published SPPP, Bulletin Board 4/23/09
There’s so many advantages of a car over a horse and buggy, but there’s one disadvantage. If the driver of the horse and buggy didn’t have much common sense, at least the horse did.