Childhood Family

The new driving test

In just about a year, my daughter will be eligible to get a driver’s license.

There, you have ample warning.

Lest you think I am picking on my daughter, I am not. At least, not just my daughter. I am painting with a very broad brush and including every 15-year-old on the planet, mainly because I was once a 15-year-old with a driver’s license.

Her first hurdle will be a written test, which I am guessing is pretty similar to the one I took years ago. Driving really hasn’t changed that much, as the flying and self-driving cars still haven’t come to complete fruition (awesome, awesome fruition).

But I know there were not a lot of necessary questions asked when I took the test, and I feel confident they still are not being asked. I recommend a series of seven vitally important questions be added to the driver’s license test.

1. You are driving in the far left lane on the interstate. Numerous cars are coming up behind you, swerving into the right lane, and then back in front of you and accelerating past you. This means you:

    a. Are going the perfect speed and keeping other drivers alert.

    b. Need to get out of the left lane and into the right lane, and perhaps consider the next exit where you can pull off and let someone else drive.

2. You are looking to merge onto a busy street. A motorist stops and motions to you, signaling that you can enter traffic. You should:

    a. Pull into traffic with 100 percent focus on your cell phone call, preferably while aggressively chewing gum

    b. Offer a head nod and a courtesy wave, thus acknowledging the other driver’s kindness and perpetuating cosmic karma throughout the universe, even if only a tiny little bit.

3. The light has turned green, but the driver in front of you is still sitting still. You should:

    a. Give a long, uninterrupted honk — at least five seconds — and possibly throw in some flailing hand gestures.

    b. Give two little short courtesy beep-beeps, ones that are a horn’s nice way of saying, “Psst. Hey, there — yeah, you. Light’s green.”

4. One of your favorites songs comes on the radio. It is it time to:

    a. Roll down your windows and turn your radio up as loud as possible, because if you like the song, certainly everyone else will want to hear it.

    b. Sing along. Knock yourself out. But keep your karaoke session inside the vehicle at all times.

5. The driver in front of you is not going fast enough for your liking. Time to:

    a. Get as close to his bumper as possible. Everyone needs a reminder via tailgating to speed up.

    b. Find your inner patience and wait for an appropriate time to pass. Also, time to ask yourself if said person is actually going super slow, or you are looking to travel at a sonic speed.

6. You are attempting to parallel park on a busy street. It is imperative that you:

    a. Take as many times back and forth to get it, regardless of how much you are backing up traffic. They’ll all admire your sticktoitiveness!

    b. Acknowledge that you got lucky on that part of the driving test and should move on and find an easier place to park, and then go practice parallel parking in a remote area.

7. A friend just texted you something hilarious. You should:

    a. Text “LOL” or “OMG” immediately! That friend must know how pithy they are!

    b. Not have to answer this because you didn’t read the text because you were driving, and thus you don’t know the contents of said message.

If you answered (a) to any of these questions, congratulations! It appears you already have your license! But if you are a 15-year-old looking to get a license, do us all a favor — answer (b). And then be the (b). And for those of you who already have your license and answered (a), it probably wouldn’t hurt to reassess your driving. Or to mark your calendar for a year from now, when my daughter turns 15…

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.

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