- A highly-opinionated delineation of situations encountered in India, USA, China, UK and wherever my life takes me...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Driving USA ahead

With an Instruction Permit and a ‘driving school’ car, I hit the road from behind a steering wheel. What a change from the congested roads and erratic traffic in India ! Almost every driver stays ‘away’ and let me experiment a couple of tricks. I was not sure if I was driving a car as the whole process was so peaceful and smooth. None of the roads are crooked, narrow or take a sharp turn and have been designed with the ‘driving-challenged’ in mind. The sign boards say it all and at times overwhelm you with information, but ignore it at your own peril and you will lose a lot of cash in the process of a chain reaction [traffic violation- bad driving record- insurance premium hike etc]. A lot of thought has been put into the planning of the road network and the traffic that flows through them. The sign boards have been put for guiding drivers to their destinations without much fuss, but you got to keep watching carefully for a missed turn will be very hard on your gas bills. The planners have taken the driver’s compass out of his head and put it up in the signboards, this way they narrow the separation between the ‘challenged’ and the ‘gifted’. Automatic transmission abound on cars of all types, making it a fuss-free process for women to hit the road.

I had to take an ‘entry’ into those Interstate type highway to test my ‘highway’ skills and was instantly blown off by a huge truck as we jostled for a slot in one of the multiple lanes. Once on the highway, driving becomes passive as one just has to keep the steering pointed to the road, hit a little gas and perhaps sing a tune. The numerous boards and navigation displays will take you fast and safe to your destination. The average speeds done on these highways are approximately 70kmph and hence car control is crucial, especially with Hummers, Yukons and Durangoes for company. A collision would be ‘mind blowing’. I took an ‘exit’ very soon and headed for some nice twisties and crooked roads to monitor my maneuverability.

As I impatiently await my full privilege driving license by watching earnestly at the gorgeous cars and motorcycles, I feel that day is not far away when I can ‘ROAM FREE’.

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