Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dear American Drivers

WHETHER you fall under the category of a "poor" or "incompetent" driver or not, it is still worth noting that from my experience, which is admittedly limited, American drivers are notoriously the worst. Disobeying traffic laws, forgetting how to drive when a puddle appears, being so distracted by radios, phones, and passengers as to cause some of the most brain-dead driving accidents are only a few of the plethora of issues with driving on American roads.

First and foremost, I must address that not all American drivers are poor ones. In fact, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you, yes you, the one reading my words as I type them, are not [inherently] a poor driver! (If I didn't add that qualifier, "inherently", well now, I'd just be lying!) But nonetheless, most sure seem to be!

It seems the problem of drivers' general incompetence stems from the relatively poor driving instruction that is available to the public; either via public high schools, or special learning centers. And especially with regards to the driving tests that are given by the DMV centers throughout these 'States. Sure, they are intended to appeal, and thus, function for the least-common denominator of this nation, but I mean what the hell? How low are this nation's standards? Especially considering that the language found in the tests is intended for individuals with whom English is their second language.

Now I don't intend to outright bash immigrants for things that they cannot change and had no part. But instead, the organizations behind what is now this driving shenanigans in the US, for making all of their tests in English. To play devil's advocate, certainly road signs are in English, and it would make sense for the tests to be as well. But by dumbing down the general populace simply in order to accommodate a growing contingency is wrong to me. Why don't they take an alternate path, and accommodate the increasing number of immigrants in a different way, like providing alternate language tests so that ultimately, the complexity of the language found in the test and the courses could be increased dramatically?

Also, after writing the above paragraph, I realize this has already turned into more of a diatribe than a productive means for me to spread ideas, so I apologize. Ahem.

Driving in the US has its problems, as any nation anywhere in the world does, but driving in the US is quite peculiar. People love to drive fast, myself included. But there is a palpable obsession with being privy to monitor one's speed, and to maximize it whenever possible, whether strictly legal or not. A common example is when a speed limit sign on an interstate highway is posted at "55 MPH", yet the average person is likely to well exceed that at 80 miles per hour, if not, only slightly less. And individuals stopped on the highway are commonly only stopped as a means for example, or in other words, "fear tactics".

"Fear tactics" are applied by police officers in Chicago quite excessively (I can't quite speak for the other sectors of the US), and as I find, rather than to promote safety, produce paranoia, and heightened irrational fears in drivers. So, without getting bogged down, in order to fully optimize safety and security on the roads, education of new, incoming drivers should have the highest possible quality, as the tests should be increased in rigorousness ten-fold. As from what I've heard, European driving exams are unimaginably difficult, and thus, produce significantly more capable, confident, safe, and secure drivers who are not afraid nor unable to drive at high speeds, ultimately, reducing the demand for police officers, and finally, reducing paranoia within the consciousness of drivers.

A perfect example of the responsibility that the government in Germany hands over to the driving public in rewarding them for earning their drivers' licenses is the Autobahn and other various unlimited-speed streets and highways found throughout Europe. In the US, it seems, people simply couldn't handle having no speed limits. By either this nation's historical immaturity, or immaturity within people specifically, people tend to behave more immaturely as well, which is why it seems the government isn't yet, and will not be ready to hand over to use unlimited-speed highways and public roads.

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