Continuing Education

This is by no means meant to be presumptuous, but I would like to propose a discipline for all adults everywhere, to stay in school(s). The mandatory regimen of learning during the first 18 years of our lives stops suddenly with a high school graduation ceremony. After that euphoric event, it becomes completely voluntary as to whether or not we continually study, learn new things, or refresh our knowledge of things we’ve been doing for years. I’m not talking about pronounced steps such as changing careers and going back to school, or finishing a degree started a lifetime ago in a different state- geographic, mental, emotional etc.. I applaud those efforts and celebrate with my friends and family pursuing education in these ways. (I’ll pause here to name a few, I’d like to give props to James for his recent Masters from the MU School of Special Education with an emphasis in teaching gifted kids, to Samantha for going back to school for a second and very different bachelors degree while also working (and working out) and raising two wonderful daughters, and to Drew for pursuing a second career, and certifications within that career which require hours of book study and life experience in the field,- he’ll be a Certified Financial Planner soon!)

No, this quite random post is really about all of us. Regular ‘ole adults who go through most days preforming normal tasks thoughtlessly. Not because we mean to ignore or numb our way through, but because we do a lot of things that we’re so used to doing that we don’t pay much attention to becoming any more effective or excellent at it.

Case in point: Driving a regular automobile (nope, not getting your motorcycle license or CDL).

Nobody likes being told how to drive. We especially resist the sometimes helpful, but always unsolicited, advice from backseat drivers. However, as I drive across the highways and side streets of Kansas City, I’m motivated to suggest we adult drivers should go back to driving school.

How about an every 5-10year requirement that as you renew your driver’s license, you must also complete a, dynamic and highly technically innovative of course- online driver’s ed review course? The possibilities are endless really. The tests could be state specific introducing newly built roads, changed speed limits, or the introduction of guidelines around the use of mobile devices.  Most of all, the tests remind us of simple safety tips and proper etiquette which make all the roads safer and more enjoyable places to drive. (I think part of my impetus for taking issue with this has to do with my work-from-home/stay-at-home mom vocational status- if you’ve never driven in the middle of the day, you might not feel as passionately. These daytime drivers are their own little cup of tea- rather, quart of oil). Such a test could have saved me from at least one ticket I received, quite unjustly, in the spring of 2008, for aggressive driving in the form of passing someone on the right. Grr…the memory continues to haunt me.

Since I don’t know to whom to write my letter quite yet- I’ll start off with a refresher course of my own, for anyone interested, right here.

Tips, Laws, and Skills Review for Operating a Motor Vehicle: 

1. The left lane of a highway is exclusively for the use of passing other cars. Any long term highway driving should be done in the center or right lanes. Do not drive the speed limit or slower in the left lane ever.

2. This one helps us avoid cutting people off: To merge after passing a car, make sure you can see both of the car’s headlights in your rear view mirror, and then turn on your signal and ease into their lane. (This is a tip from my husband, via his dad, which I feel is sooo helpful)

3. If you take more than half of your car over a solid white line, ie: drive on the shoulder, this is wrong. (The cop who pulled me over in Parkville labeled it aggressive, even at my clocked speed of 3 mph!)

4. Changing lanes while in the middle of an intersection is not okay.

5. When turning in a multiple turning lane situation, stay in your lane. Do not meander into the outer lanes with steering wheel laziness. (This one is motivated by the lovely Barry Rd. Zona Rosa exit- a scary 3 turn lane doozie of a light!)

6. Vehicles must stop for crosswalks and stoplines. If pedestrians have started to cross, all vehicles must come to a stop. This seems obvious but is often lost on roads with crossing lines but no light actually stopping the cars. (We encounter this often on our walk to the library)

7. Right of Way. At a multiple way stop sign, the right-away goes as follows: The first vehicle at the intersection goes first. Then cars take turns yielding to the car on their right. (Did I say this correctly?- see, I need the schooling!)

8. A car turning left always yields to a car going straight. You can pass a car on the right only if it is turning left and there is ample road space without using the shoulder etc..

9. Turn on your lights when weather is foggy, rainy, snowy, or if it’s dark.

10. If another car is starting to pass you, do not increase your speed. Stay with the flow of traffic speed-wise whenever possible.

Enough unsolicited advice out of me. If you live in Missouri, the driver’s education manual can be downloaded here. The good stuff starts on page 28.

Drive safe and pleasantly out there everyone.


2 Responses to “Continuing Education”

  1. tamara January 27, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    Funny, I just got back from the driver’s license bureau for my new state of California!
    I passed by the skin of my chinny, chin, chin….didn’t study yet again!

    Congrats on blogging….I know it will be a gift to the world!

  2. Christine February 1, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    I have never taken a driving test! Iowa didn’t require one (we did have to do a driver’s ed course though) and Missouri just printed me a new license without any questions. I would support continuing driver’s education but am scared I wouldn’t pass! Eeek!

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