Are You a Driver or a Wheel-Holder? Take the Quiz

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Ever since
my grandmother started teaching me to drive in her 1976 Datsun B-210,
I have had a passion for driving. Once I began Driver's Ed in government
high school, I was already an accomplished driver. After the Backing
and Parallel Parking Lesson, my instructor said I was the best he
had ever seen (he never accused me of modesty).

As a teenage
driver, having a car meant freedom. Beyond that, driving was just
plain FUN. After suffering the indignity of a one-car accident,
however, I realized that driving a car was more than just a joy
ride; it was a matter of life and death.

One of the
inherent dangers of driving is that, with rare exception, you must
drive on government roads, which bear all the hallmarks of ineptitude
and inefficiency of your average government program: hasty design,
sloppy building, shoddy maintenance, cost and schedule overruns.

Once you surmount
all those obstacles and deign to drive anywhere, you must be aware
of patrolmen who will pull you over on the flimsiest of pretenses:
ignoring a do-not-turn-on-red sign even though you can clearly see
that not a car is in sight; traveling 45 mph in a 40 mph-zone through
light traffic in the middle of a dry, sun-drenched day; or having
the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time on "Meet
the Quota Day."

Even if you
can manage to avoid the flashing lights and sirens of your hometown's
finest, you also must be wary of all the other drivers whose
main qualification for driving is a state-issued license, the procurement
of which is only slightly more challenging than convincing Geraldo
Rivera to discard his last shred of dignity.

That a compelling
case can be made for private roads and driver certification is a
subject for another column. Today I want to test your knowledge
of surviving your excursions on the government roads of America.
Every time you make such a trip, you risk becoming the victim of
a bad driver.

Operating a
motor vehicle is not a passive activity; it requires more than just
steering. Drivers wanted. To be a driver, as opposed to a mere wheel-holder,
necessitates a constant application of the IPDE
: Identify — Predict — Decide —

Take the quiz
below to determine if you are an active Driver or a passive Wheel-Holder.

  1. You approach
    an intersection and move into the Left Turn Only Lane. The light
    is green but several cars are oncoming. Your next move is to:
  1. Stop
    at the stop line and wait for the next green arrow
  2. Penetrate
    the intersection and complete the turn on yellow or red
  3. Penetrate
    the intersection. When the light turns yellow, jam the tranny
    into reverse and back into the car behind you
  1. You are
    traveling north on a busy thoroughfare when you decide to execute
    a U-turn. The only car coming south is in the middle of three
    lanes. Your next move is to:
  1. Swing
    around into the middle lane
  2. Swing
    around into the left lane and accelerate to the speed limit
    as soon as possible
  3. Wait
    until the approaching car is 10 feet away. Swing around and
    slam into the driver's side
  1. You are
    cruising along at the speed limit in the left lane of an Interstate.
    A car approaches behind you 10 mph faster. Your next move is to:
  1. Stubbornly
    refuse to move into the right lane, figuring everyone ought
    to be like you and drive at the speed limit
  2. Turn
    on your right blinker, change lanes and allow Speed Racer to
    continue on his merry way
  3. Slam
    on the brakes, cause a rear-ender, and tell the judge the person
    in the rear is always at fault
  1. You are
    sitting at an intersection where the light is red. When it turns
    green, your next move is to:
  1. Hit the
    gas the millisecond the light changes to green. Green means
    go, right?
  2. Glance
    in both directions to make sure no one is running the red light,
    then proceed through the intersection
  3. Wait
    until the cars behind you lay on the horn, then wait another
    couple seconds, then flip them off
  1. You are
    sitting at a T intersection waiting to turn right. A lone car
    approaches from your left at 50 mph. Your next move is to:
  1. Turn
    in front of him even though he must slow to 20 mph to avoid
    hitting you.
  2. Wait
    until he passes, turn in behind him, and explain to your boss
    why you are 15 seconds late for work
  3. Turn
    in front of him at the last moment, causing him to rear-end
    you. Call your local Ambulance Chaser
  1. You are
    the first of many cars on the on-ramp merging onto the Interstate
    where the speed limit is 75 mph. Your next move is to:
  1. Heed
    the government's warning that "speed kills" and merge
    at 50 mph
  2. Put petal
    to metal so that you are traveling at approximately the same
    speed as the cars with which you will be merging
  3. Try to
    merge but panic when it appears the car in the right lane will
    not let you in. Slam on the brakes and precipitate a 26-car
    pile-up that earns you a spot on the lead story on the local
    TV news.
  1. You are
    at a stop light when the light turns green. Several pedestrians
    are crossing in front of you. Your next move is to:
  1. Approach
    the cross walk and angrily point to the "Do Not Cross"
  2. Wait
    until the bipeds have crossed the street and continue through
    the intersection
  3. Slam
    into the pedestrians and blame it on the too-hot coffee that
    just spilled in your lap
  1. You are
    waiting to turn left on a four-lane road when the arrow turns
    green. Other cars are preparing to turn right against the red
    light. Your next move is to:
  1. Turn
    into the outside lane and vent your road rage (verbally) on
    any poor sap who expects you to maintain your lane
  2. Stay
    in the inside lane, allowing those turning right to do so simultaneously
    and safely
  3. Swing
    out into the outside lane and smash into the car turning right
    against red. If he is not injured from the collision, pull him
    out of his car and beat him to a bloody pulp
  1. You are
    running late for an appointment, but the driver in front of you
    stubbornly insists on traveling at the speed limit. Your next
    move is to:
  1. Tailgate
    in the hope that he will discern your urgency and speed up
  2. Maintain
    a safe following distance and make a mental memorandum to leave
    a few minutes early next time
  3. Smash
    into the car ahead of you, speed away from the scene, and revel
    in your status as a hit-and-run fugitive
  1. You are
    pulled over by a squad car despite doing nothing wrong. Your next
    move is to:
  1. Ask the
    officer, "Was I speeding, sir?"
  2. Hand
    him your Ramsell’s
    Roadside Rights Kit
  3. Wait
    until the officer approaches your window, then peel out and
    pretend you are Luke Duke evading arrest from Sheriff Roscoe
    P. Coltrane


Give yourself
2 points for each A, 3 points for each B, and 1 point for each C.

30 points
— Congratulations! Like me, you are the best driver in your county.
Were all drivers like you, accidents would be exceedingly rare.

25-29 points
— Nicely done! You are probably the best driver in your immediate
family, but continue to strive for driving perfection.

20-24 points
— Not bad! You probably haven't killed anyone while driving, but
you're still young. Complacency is dangerous. You can do better.

15- 19 points
When it's your turn to drive the carpool, tell everyone your
car is in the shop. If someone asks you for a ride, tell her that
your car is in the shop.

11-14 points
Vehicular homicide is a crime. Keep this in mind each and
every time you take the wheel. It would be a shame for the market
to forego your contributions while you rot in jail for the next
5-10 years.

10 points
You are a menace to society. Sell your car immediately. Use
the proceeds for cab and bus fare. If the bus route doesn't stop
near your place of work, look for a telecommuting job. If you must
drive, you can probably get a job as a local transit authority bus
driver or the guy that picks up road kill for the county.

3, 2002

Gee (send him mail) is
a freelance writer residing in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He also authors
a monthly column “On Liberty” for The
Valley News.

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