• #5
    Apr 30, 2006


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    MINI Speedometer (Photoshop'd Speed)Yesterday I completed 7 hours of remedial driving class to take 5 points off my license. Up until last week, it was voluntarily on my to-do list. That was before I had to sign two papers from the mailman for the DMV letter requiring such a class within the next 90 days.

    Whoever the “they” are who determine safe driving rules, I was amazed to find they have changed their recommendations for things like steering wheel positions, following distances, etc. since my driver’s education classes 13 years ago. The rest of the class, though, beat us over the head with ”speed kills,” “there are only collisions, not accidents,” and similar kindergarten quotables from the folks in the collective back seat.

    But I was captured by one of the videos to which we were subjected. It covered the training of law enforcement and military personnel in extreme driving. My favorite exercise included pulling high-speed and/or reverse 180’s while under gun fire. It reminded me of the account I heard from my old boss. One of our clients went to BMW driving school with his grandson and had their Z3 doing 60mph in reverse—reverse gear.

    Holy salivation, Batman!

    Since my legs were long enough for me to drive the lawn mower (back when I used to pop the clutch to make the front hop), I’ve wanted to be a stunt driver—maybe not professionally, but to have the skills. Going on my lack of hand-eye coordination in sports and video games, I’m not sure that’s an attainable goal. But Skip Barber driving school was the backup for my brother and me, in case my parents didn’t let us go bungee jumping in New Zealand.

    This DMV class, juxtaposed against my lifelong goal, birthed a few questions I’d like “them” to answer. First, why isn’t there some civilian certification to allow us to get the full thrill out of our machines? Why do we accept that policeman can go 120 in 2-ton Crown Vics, and I can’t go 70 in a car designed to do 70 in second gear? Can’t I go through some class and get some sticker on my car for a professional courtesy?

    “Well, you can take your car to a track, where you won’t endanger others.” True. And my new tires have my baby Beamer pulling to the left anyway—perfect for an oval. But speed should be able to be enjoyed apart from conjugal visits. I’d be willing to concede my dreams of an American Autobahn and even the performance car lane for this one. [We have high speed train rails and special barcode highways. What’s a special jersey-walled lane through the median?]

    I’d settle even for a free pass on country highways, if I weren’t scared to open it up out there (more than the 100mph I did on my parents’ road within Maryland’s pancake-flat Eastern Shore a couple weeks ago). There’s got to be a solution that will let kids and other speed demons scratch this itch. They’ve got medical marijuana in some states and Canada, why not an excused vice for lead feet?

    Maybe I just need to move out to New Mexico or something. For now, I’ll keep finding the packs on interstates and beltways, where mob rule protects our 80-85-90-do-I-hear-95 fixes. And I’ll keep thanking the front man with the radar detector and/or the idiot drug runners who get it all started for the rest of us.

    This entry was posted on Sunday, April 30th, 2006 at 11:00 pm and is filed under Drive Lines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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