Tales from Traffic School

Tales from Traffic SchoolShare my shame. Yep, busted for speeding. But, despite what my instructor said, some people really do NOT know they are speeding. When you come off a 70 mph strip and are going 68, you don’t worry about speeding… even if the speed drops to 55. I swear I never saw a sign. When I saw the blue lights, I instinctively checked and my gauge read 68, so I had no idea why I was being pulled over. I was actually surprised my little truck was able to go that fast. He strains, he really does.

Oh well, I digress.

The story I’m going to tell is a two-parter. One part is funny. The other part is sad. Let’s get rid of the sad part first…

The Horror

We were asked to list the three most important things in our lives. Mine were easy: Family, Friends, Farm. The instructor then compared this (as he did everything in the class) to a sports analogy. I’m not sure why, but he said for athletes the top three are:

  1. Prestige/Bragging Rights
  2. Trophies/Medals
  3. Money

He then said that he wanted to show us the difference… (I don’t remember what the point was — and I really WAS trying to pay attention). He asked everyone who put down “Prestige/Bragging Rights” to raise their hand. No one did.

Then he asked anyone who put “Trophies or Medals” to raise their hand and no one did. Then he asked anyone who put “Money” to raise their hand as he went to fiddle with the projector, turning his back to a class where OVER HALF of the attendees raised their hand. He never saw them (by accident or design) and said that none of us would have listed any of those three things in our list of top three most important things in our lives.

It gave me pause for serious thought. It made me sad. To think that a man-made measure of a form of economic trade with an arbitrary value would trump the truly important things in life for OVER HALF of the people in that class amazed me. I’m still amazed… and sad. No wonder society is a shadow of its former self. No wonder things are going to hell in the proverbial handbasket.

Enough of that… now on to the funny portion of my tale…

The Humor

The instructor explained that there are a string of elements that lead to accidents:

Factors –>Hazards –> Conflict –>Collision

He said than an accident can be avoided at any point up to the “collision.” Duh.

So, he asked the class, “Where do factors come from?”

A middle aged brunette in the front answered, “From us.”

“Good,” said the instructor, “and what are you?”
A blonde 20-something boy answered seriously, “Bad drivers.”

The instructor stared at him, blinked once, and said, “He said that, I didn’t.” and then he continued, trying again to solicit the correct answer, “As a general rule, what are the people in this room?”

Another young man from across the room answered eagerly, “Speeders!”

It was all I could do not to laugh aloud. The instructor gave up and delivered the answer of “drivers” and tried to get back to the lesson plan. I wonder if anyone else noticed how long he shook his head.

What I Actually Learned

Despite the torture that IS traffic school, I will report that I learned a couple of things. First, the blood alcohol limit for the state is .08. I still thought it was .10 — but it doesn’t really matter, since I won’t drive if I’ve sniffed something alcoholic, much less ingested it.

Second, “Changing Drivers in a Moving Vehicle” will cost you 4 points against your license. I thought that was the funniest on the list of infractions and commented on it. The instructor clarified that for me. He said people usually consider that a situation of teenagers physically swapping seats — but that anytime the control of the vehicle changes from one person to another, this law is in effect. So, he said, if you “hold the wheel” for someone, you are “changing drivers in a moving vehicle.”

I guess the Honey Badger will have to just pull over to fetch something out of his pocket in the future, because I’m much less likely to hold the wheel while he does it now. 🙂

Granted, that’s four hours of my life I’m never going to get back, but it had it’s moments of insight and hilarity and I actually DID learn something about the law that I didn’t know. So, I guess it was ok. It’s not something I want to repeat again, so I will watch more closely when I’m in a 70 MPH zone headed south in the future.

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