Well, I have to say that today has been probably the most interesting day of driving I’ve had so far. I did quite a few things that I thought I’d be nervous about while driving today. In fact, if you ask my mom, she would probably say that she was quite anxious about my driving today.
Now, you’re probably thinking something along the lines of the anxiety having gone away after driving a couple of times. Yes, that is the case; however, as is customary in these circumstances, there were some external factors.
It all started out normally, with a trip to the local superstore to get a bunch of provisions for the house – you know, Clorox, softener sheets, etc. We went out knowing that we had to get down to the city around 10AM for a short bit of driving practice with my brother who lives down there. The shortest route between where we were and where we needed to be was via…
Yes, the freeway. Two or three lanes of traffic going at the highest allowable speed (65mph, 105km/h) in the state. Now, we had been avoiding driving on there at almost all costs – which included getting somewhat lost on our way out of finding the test location the other day. The road that the test site is on is the same road that was bridged over by a freeway when they built an interchange, so there’s a bit of a network of frontage roads to connect the highway to the surface street. Unfortunately, they don’t post signs that show you the way to the main road from this side road (however, the opposite is true). Everything goes extremely well, including changing lanes twice, and taking one of the more interesting offramps in the area, where the freeway exits onto what is, essentially, a large roundabout controlled at each corner by stoplights. Then we get down to my brother’s house for some
As we approached his house, I noticed his car parked in a favorable position for parallel parking. Taking advantage of the opportunity presented, I pulled aside the car, stopped, reversed, turned into the spot and parked. I was maybe a few centimetres too far away from the curb, but I think I was within the 1 foot (30cm) space that makes a car legally parked.
My brother then came out of the house, got in the passenger side, and led me on a bit of a trip. The first thing was to do another parallel park with his car, which went perfectly, with the car, as he put it, even closer to the curb than he usually puts his car. We then forged along down the street, through an uncontrolled intersection or two, stopping at a stop sign (my mom asked why I was stopping behind the stop sign; uh, maybe because that’s where I have to stop? 😉 ). We then came back around the block, did another parallel park on his car, then proceeded down the road to do the Y-turn (or as it may be known elsewhere, the three point turn or the turn in the road). It went off better than it did the last time, and then we did a bit more driving around the blocks, and after one last parallel park, we set off on our way.
Our next destination was either going to be in town, or along the freeway. We decided to go into town where it was a madhouse because of the Holiday Open House that was going on at the grocery store, which included an appearance by a meat-packing-company’s barbershop quartet who were handing out little pigs to everyone and anyone. Among the folks there were samplers of all sorts – from spreadable cheese to buffalo wings to soda and even, in the liquor department, wine (I didn’t go for it this time though 😉 ). While in the store, word was coming around about…
Walking out of the store with our purchases, we did notice the snow, and I reasoned that since it wasn’t really sticking to the roads just yet, I could drive in the weather. As it is, I have driven in the rain before. However, not very long after we left the store parking lot, the snow started to stick to the road. Not too much after that, the pleas started. “We’re going to stop at such-and-such and I’ll drive home” was a line frequently said by my mom. However, I kept on driving at a reasonable pace for the conditions (the fastest I went for most of the trip was about 35 mph (~55km/h)), and took backroads that meant us missing out on some really big hills which would have been a headache to navigate.
As we were driving, I could tell the anxiety building on the other side of the car, however, there was another good reason for my sticking to my guns – there’s a 30% chance of snow on Tuesday. Many times I heard comments about me going too slow, or having to kiss the ground when we got home; it was the first snowfall for the year, so really, what advantage would have been had if we had switched seats? Yes, there was a lot more experience in snow, but if you ask me, I think I proved myself just a bit with my skills.
I think I’m ready. Only three days away. 😉