Learning to Drive with the Soapbox Girl (Lesson 3)

Hey! Remember me? Yeah, I know a week has passed since I last studied for the driver test. I got caught up working on a project then just decided to be lazy. This almost-40-year-old will not learn to drive if she doesn’t read the driver manual so off we go.




I Could Be Tested On




I had a good chuckle reading the list of things I might be tested on. They are as follows.


  • Driving in reverse
  • Following other vehicles
  • Nearing corners, intersections
  • Parking parallel
  • Sitting properly — What? My grade school nuns branched out into driving instruction?
  • Starting a vehicle
  • Steering properly
  • Stopping smoothly
  • Stopping at signs — I suppose the South Philly Slide is not an accepted practice.
  • Turning
  • Turning around
  • Using the horn — *guffaws* I’m guessing middle fingers and shouting obscenities is not part of the curriculum. But this is NJ so you never know.
  • Yielding right of way



The Soapbox Girl Says Buckle Up



It’s here I want to stop and preach the gospel of seat belts. The first chapter after all the red tape gobbledygook is Driver Safety and The Rules of the Road. The very first topic covered is New Jersey’s seat belt laws.


Many years ago we were in a head-on collision. The guy who hit us was on his cell phone and turned directly into us on a 2-lane highway. Our car was totaled and we were transported to the hospital by ambulance. Chuck had chest pains from hitting the steering wheel and I had a bloody nose and chemical burns on my face from the airbags. We walked out of the hospital that night and walked home. This would not have been so had we not been wearing our seatbelts. I don’t care what you think about the government telling what you can and cannot do. Fasten your seat belt because it may someday save your life. I’ll end my sermon here but remember, fasten your seatbelts because the Soapbox Girl told you to.


New Jersey law requires all front seat passengers be buckled up. If you’re going to be riding with me for the next 15 months or so you backseat drivers will have to buckle up too. All passengers riding with GDL permit holders or probationary license holders must buckle up. They can stop me if anyone in the car is not buckled up and remember my tickets are Chuck’s tickets for the next 15 months so cut the poor guy a break and buckle up. If you don’t you’re totally paying the ticket(s).




Car Seats and Legal Double Talk



Here’s where we’re back to legal double talk …



fig. 2.0



fig. 2.1


*scratches head*


You just told me on the top of page 40 that there are exceptions to the rule and then went on to explain them. Now here were are at the bottom of page 41 using the word always. Which is it? This is the kind of stuff that drives me crazy.




Car Condition



Did you know that it is against New Jersey law to have any back up lights on while a vehicle is moving forward?


Me either.


*looks confused*


I didn’t even know this was possible. Go figure. You learn something new every day.




One Final Point for Today's Lesson





The manual says I should often check to make sure my horn works. It also says that I should use my horn to signal when passing or when coming out of a blind alley, curve, or driveway. Hmmm … No mention of the jackass who just me off.


Did you hear that? That’s the bell. Class picks up on Monday. Don’t forget your #2 pencils and thinking caps. See you then!





Visit Carol Anne at her home on the web, Soapboxville.




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