Here at MNSHO, we have managed to obtain an advance copy of the recently updated Virginia written driver’s license test. I hate to say it, but this explains a lot.
Driver’s Licensure Test – Updated 2014
Please answer each of the following questions by circling the letter of the answer you believe to be correct. Please select only one answer for each question.
The left lane is…
a) For passing
b) Next to the right lane
c) The lane I drive in when I feel like going slow and pissing people off
Turn signals should be used…
a) To signal a turn
b) To signal a lane change
c) Intermittently and at random
Precipitation means you should…
a) Drive more carefully
b) Slow down
c) Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here
a) Equally entitled to use the roads
b) Subject to the same rules of the road as vehicles
c) Speed bumps
Speed limits are…
b) For our safety
c) A joke
The horn should be used to signal other drivers…
a) Of an emergency
b) Of a dangerous situation
c) That they’re triggering your homicidal tendencies
The shoulder should be used for…
b) Letting emergency vehicles pass
c) Getting around slower traffic
When an emergency vehicle is approaching, you should…
a) Pull over and let it pass
b) Take careful stock of your surroundings and make room in the least disruptive means available
c) Get behind it and use it to get through traffic faster
When there is an accident on the side of the road, you should…
a) Proceed normally
b) Drive cautiously to avoid hurting emergency personnel
c) Slow down to a crawl and gawk
a) Is a normal part of the driving experience
b) Should be done with care
c) Is for suckers
It doesn’t matter what they answered. As long as they didn’t smear feces on the paper, give them a driver’s license.
A friend of mine recently moved from DC to Northern Virginia (and we’re very glad to have him back), but there was a side effect I wasn’t expecting. While I was aware his kids had all grown up in DC, it never occurred to me that they wouldn’t appreciate car culture, particularly his eldest. She’s in her late teens, and yet the other day she complained about several people nearly running her over. I actually had to pause to think about this for a minute, because the very idea was so alien to me. Then it registered: she was on foot – OUTSIDE.
The very idea of it honestly came as a complete shock at first. I mean, sure, intellectually I know people do that sort of thing, but you so rarely see it around here that it just doesn’t occur to me as something normal people do. I had to explain to her that she doesn’t live in the city anymore, and the rules are a little different out here. And for my money, thank goodness for that.
I honestly can’t imagine what my life would have been like without cars; especially from the time I became old enough to drive them solo. While I’ve never been a gearhead, I’ve always had a special attachment to the cars I personally have owned. They have served me in every conceivable way: as transportation, storage, even shelter at need. They may or may not have aided me in the acquiring and hiding of street signs, and more than once I used them as a means of enjoying a romantic rendezvous away from the prying eyes of inquisitive parents and a nosy sister. Ever since I first got my license cars have equaled autonomy, or at least the potential and promise to have it. All you needed was enough money for gas and you could just go as far as the tank would take you, and the only thing that would bring you back was your own decision to turn around.
My friends and I always had special names for our cars, names that reflected our personalities, our feelings about our cars and our relationships with them. I have owned such delights as Casper (the Not So Friendly Child Eating Ghost), Cheshire, Lincoln, and Alice. Another friend owned various incarnations of The Road Smasher, and one notable friend and former roommate owned Zippy Blue Unfaithful. (If you ever have a few free hours, you should buy him a beer and ask him to tell you “The Story of The Death of Zippy Blue Unfaithful”. I was there, and I can promise he sticks to the facts… mostly.) This ritual of naming our cars did more than give us something to talk about and a way to distinguish one used hand-me-down from another. They distinguished us, identified us, and helped us to shape ourselves and our environment at a time when we had precious little control over our circumstances.
I’m not as free now as I was when I was a teenager, but every once in a while I still feel the urge to hop in my car late at night, pick a direction and just drive. Maybe it’s nostalgia for a time in my life that I can never capture again, or maybe it’s something deeper, more primal. Either way, I’m glad to have my car, to have that option should I choose to take it. All I need, even today, is enough money for gas (even if that is a lot more than it used to be) and I can go as far as the tank will take me, and the only thing that will bring me back is my decision to turn around.
I live in Northern Virginia, and while it has its charms, including a diverse food culture, vibrant arts scene, and better looking people on average than anywhere else I’ve lived (Indianapolis, I’m shaking my head shamefully in your direction), there is one thing I could quite happily live without: the traffic. I know, it’s passé to complain about traffic in a major metropolitan area, but this isn’t like New York traffic, or LA traffic, or Chicago traffic, or any of those (I’ve driven them all, and yes they all suck, so please don’t write me and tell me how bad you have it.)
The problem with NoVA (as we call it) traffic is that it’s not city traffic, but it’s also not suburban traffic. It’s an awful mix of the two as people push the damn exurbs farther and farther out, and the government, tech sector, and other high-paying jobs draw more and more people from different parts of the country, so nobody drives the same way as anybody else. The result is akin to depriving an entire psych ward of their medication for an entire week: it’s never a good idea and it sometimes results in fatalities. There are a few common maneuvers that are becoming such a strong trend among the driving illiterati that I feel the need to make a special point of them.
I Don’t Know Where I’m Going But I Won’t Stop Until I Get There
I’ve noticed this one primarily among drivers in cars with out of state plates. They clearly have no clue where they are or where they are going, but rather than doing something sensible like pull over and look at a map, check the GPS or (dear God!) ask directions, they insist on rolling merrily along. Personally I couldn’t care, except that they’re also clearly afraid that they will miss their exit/turn/house/Burning Man Festival they are looking for if they go more than half the speed limit. The result is that they slow down everyone behind them, create mass frustration, and potentially riskier behavior in other drivers as they try to get around the asshole who can’t just pull over. Well done, sir.
This Is My Lane And I’ll Go Any Speed I Want
Related to the last one is the guy who seems to think it’s his job to enforce the speed limit by getting in the fast lane and going five miles an hour below the speed limit. Yeah, cause that’s not gonna cause an accident. Either this guy really does think he’s doing some sort of good (in which case he’s a self-righteous asshat) or he’s just an oblivious jerk who never learned how to drive (you get in the farthest right lane that you can while maintaining speed.) The flipside of this is the guy who drives incredibly fast until he’s right behind the guy ahead of him and then slams on the brakes. Between the two I actually fear this one more, but let’s be honest, either the cops or Darwin will take care of this guy for me.
I’ll Be Turning Any Day Now
I’m not bagging on the people who leave on their turn signal for six miles here (you know who you are), because that’s an international and quite possibly an interstellar phenomenon. I’m specifically referring to the people who commit one of two offences against common sense. The first is sitting at a turn for an inordinate amount of time without turning. I understand not everyone is as quick off the stick as I am, but when there’s not another car in sight, the light’s been green since you got there, and you still aren’t turning, what the hell is wrong with you? And no, I’m not making this one up, it happens to me on a daily basis. The second is even worse: the phantom turn lane. This is the guy who starts slowing down to make his turn roughly a half mile before he gets to the turn lane. If the turn lane were full of cars I could get behind that, but usually the douchebags who do this can clearly see the turn lane is empty, they’re just coasting to save that extra 1/1,000,000,000,000 gallon of gas and waste an extra five minutes of my day.
There’s some other things people do that torque me off, but I don’t see any point in calling them out for it since I do them too. I suppose it could be worse; at least I don’t ride on the Metro.