Driving test bears repeating

Published 11:32 am Thursday, November 10, 2022

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In today’s edition, Holly Taylor, my esteemed colleague in the newsroom of Roanoke-Chowan Publications, penned a column entitled: Safe driving is always a better alternative to being reckless.

As we so often do in our line of work – not to mention our daily commutes to work and back home again – news reporters are on the road a lot covering assignments. With that said, we get to see a lot of bad drivers….and believe me when I say there are a lot of them out there.

In her column, Holly said she has seen motorists passing on double yellow lines, and in a curve, on a hill, and even in the face of oncoming traffic.

“These examples don’t even cover the numerous times that cars have pulled out in front of me or drifted into other lanes like they weren’t paying attention or didn’t use their headlights in low-visibility conditions when it’s foggy or rainy. I could go on and on about all sorts of examples of reckless driving,” Holly wrote.

Her thoughts reminded me of a column I wrote nearly 10 years ago…a “tongue-in-cheek” piece that I hoped would catch the attention of those bad drivers in an effort to make them aware of their mistakes.

My column from Aug. 6, 2013 was entitled: Can you pass the R-C area drivers test?

After reading Holly’s column, I believe the timing is right to repeat my work as follows:

Back in June, the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles invited me to visit one of their offices in order to perform the ritual of making sure I’m still smart enough to drive.

Because I can drive, and have done so without incident – not involved in a traffic accident or receiving a traffic citation – the test to renew my license only involved a check of my vision and identifying 12 traffic signs.

While waiting my turn, I noticed a number of first-timers, young teens on the cusp of enjoying one of the greatest individual freedoms in the world – driving!

It’s my hope they all passed the test and will wisely and safely enjoy their time behind the wheel….please, no texting!

At the same time, it made me wonder if they will fall into the trap that plagues some local motorists.

During my travels I get a chance to see the dumb and the dumber on our local roads….so much to the point that I devised a test for Roanoke-Chowan area motorists….those who through either the grace of God or by a fluke somehow managed to obtain their driver’s license.

In lieu of my observations, past and present, of how dumb some drivers are, here’s the test to see if you are smart enough to obtain your Roanoke-Chowan driver’s license:

#1. On a two-lane highway, broken yellow lines are used to separate travel lanes moving in opposite directions. If that yellow line becomes solid on one or both lanes of travel, that signifies:

  1. No passing is allowed.
  2. It’s a magnet to attract possums to the centerline.
  3. Passing is permitted of one or more cars at a high rate speed.

#2. If you see a sign containing a curved arrow pointing to the left with a red circle around it and one red line running diagonally through the circle, this means:

  1. No left turn.
  2. It’s okay to turn left if you are wearing red clothing.
  3. It’s just fine to back-up traffic for miles while you’re waiting to make a left turn.

#3. A sign with green lettering that reads, Reserved Parking, with a blue emblem in the middle resembling a person in a wheelchair means:

  1. Parking is permitted for only those who display a handicapped placard on their rearview mirror or who display a handicapped license plate.
  2. No vehicles can park in this space; it’s reserved only for blue wheelchairs.
  3. It means young, physically strong drivers can drive their arthritic grandmother’s car to the shopping center and park in the prime spots close to the stores.

#4. What is the safest distance to place between yourself and the car directly ahead?

  1. 200 feet
  2. 500 feet
  3. Close enough to identify the brand of cologne worn by the driver in the lead car.

#5. The straight lever extending from the left-hand side of the steering column is used for what purpose?

  1. Signaling a left or right turn.
  2. To hang your spare set of keys.
  3. To rest your left hand while talking on the cell phone with your right hand and steering the vehicle with your knee.

#6. Traffic signals carry three colors, to include green (proceed) and red (stop). What’s the meaning of a yellow light?

  1. Slow down and use caution.
  2. Bobby Labonte and Denny Hamlin have crashed in turn two.
  3. Downshift to second gear and depressed the accelerator until your toes touch the radiator.

#7. At what time of the day should a driver switch on their headlights?

  1. Sunset.
  2. A half-hour prior to sunset.
  3. By the start of the 10 p.m. news on FOX.

#8. You are stopped at a stop sign, preparing to make a left-hand turn. A vehicle is coming from your right, less than 50 yards away. You should:

  1. Wait for the vehicle to pass by, check for other oncoming traffic and then make your turn.
  2. Hurriedly pull out in front of the oncoming car and immediately increase your speed.
  3. Hurriedly pull out in front of the oncoming car, immediately slow to 15 mph and travel approximately one-quarter mile before turning left (with no signal) into a private driveway (while, of course, waiting for 25 vehicles traveling in the opposite direction.)

If your answer was “C” to all eight questions; congratulations, you have just been rewarded with your Roanoke-Chowan area driving license!

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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