If we’re really going to get serious about reducing the carnage on our highways, we may need to take some dramatic measures as a society. Is it time for a Highway Driving License?
We hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend. For those of us who spent considerable time on the highways over the last two weekends, we hope all survived without any seriously traumatic incidents.
Holiday driving really seems to bring out the worst of our highway drivers. As I cruised the highways I sat back in almost complete disbelief. Can it be that almost no one knows how to drive our highways anymore? Or is it just that the minority who don’t, stand out so vividly that it just appears that almost everyone is a risk?
Younger, inexperienced drivers off to college. Senior drivers poking along, seemingly unable to see four cars in front of them.
Drivers from all walks of life who only take to the highways a few times a year to get to Grandma’s or their chosen holiday destination.
Drivers who drive so seldom they don’t even own a car. They rent one, dust off their rijschool rotterdam and take to the highways placing themselves and all of the rest of us at extreme risk.
Rolling roadblocks on cruise control almost everywhere – being cut off by faster drivers who haven’t got a clue about throttle steer, or what kind of suspension they have and how it affects their handling.
Countless citizens who have no idea how their cars will react under an emergency maneuver and worse – wouldn’t have the faintest idea of how to control it if it did start to go sideways.
“Pow!” Right into a ditch or worse, another vehicle.
Cars weaving back and forth in their lanes, wandering from side to side, totally incapable of keeping their buggies centered or worse, not even aware they’re weaving. Same drivers totally unable to take the slightest curve or turn without sliding completely out of their lane and dangerously close to other drivers, nervously avoiding them in the adjacent lanes.
Tailgaters without a clue as to what’s happening on the road anywhere past the bumper in front of them. Drivers practicing the masterful art of being a road hazards almost everywhere you look.
Driver’s who’s only polished highway driving skill appears to be the innate ability to hang in another driver’s blind spot for miles on end.
And unfortunately, yes – as a result? Accidents all over the place, holding up traffic for miles. It’s not very pretty. And “Hey!” It’s always the other guy’s fault.
Now this writer has never been an advocate for more rule and regulation but let’s get serious. We simply cannot tolerate these drivers on our highways any more. They’re simply way too dangerous.
It’s time for a Highway Driving License. So how would it work?
Stuck somewhere between our regular (Class D in New York) drivers license and a commercial license, would be a Highway Class driver’s amendment or license. It would simply become illegal to drive designated high speed roadways without one.
While we wouldn’t advocate road blocks to determine if the driver is properly licensed, penalties, when found driving on the highway without one, would be severe – perhaps even temporary revocation.
So how would we qualify for such a license? There would be two basic qualifications.
First, drivers would have to pass a much more comprehensive written test. The study for this test would cover basic highway driving fundamentals. Look past the bumper in front of you. The danger of tailgating. Blind spots. How your car’s suspension affects the vehicle. Smooth driving. The danger of disrupting traffic flow. Identifying road hazards.
Silly stuff like that.
Next would be some kind of realistic periodic physical test. A vision test to see if you can still see. A reaction test to test basic reflexes. Is the driver at least physically capable of driving in a high speed environment?
How about a highway road test? Nah! Never happen.
In order to realistically have such a test, drivers would have to be tested to see if they’re capable, on roads where speed limits are fundamentally meaningless. To drive safely on the highway you’re almost forced to break the limit and it would be politically incorrect to fail drivers for not breaking the law! Such a truly meaningful and life saving exercise would be completely unacceptable to the powers that be.
Never the less, safe highway driving isn’t about going fast or slow. It’s about having the skill and ability to drive a high speed boulevard safely – at whatever speed you choose to boogie.