News flash: North Carolina drivers are the PITS. Like, insanely TURRIBLE drivers. It’s hard to express just how turrible. So many times I see so many things that make me go, “OMG WHAT are you DOING!!!” and other times, “SWEET LORD HOW ARE YOU ALIVE RIGHT NOW!!!” and sometimes just simply, “wow you’re so dumb.” I mean, it’s serious.
A few weeks ago I began the annoying process of changing residencies and becoming an official voting and registered citizen of Raleigh, North Carolina in Wake County. Woowoo! No one likes going to the DMV, and everyone here complains just like in good ol’ VA. Only here it seems more warranted. Because they have a billion different offices. I’m not sure if VA is the same way but I certainly never encountered it. Here’s the deal. If you want a license plate, you go to the license plate office. If you want a license, you go to the “regular” office. If you want some other jank concerning permits, there is yet another kind of office you go to. And I think there was even a 4th category of office which I don’t even remember.
Before you go an argue with me, I have to admit that this SORT of makes sense in SOME cases. Like, if I just need to renew my registration or perhaps do something that will take 5 seconds, I don’t really want to wait in line with the rest of the population of people who have major problems at the “regular” office. BUT in my case, at least at first, it was annoying. Because obviously I went to the wrong office first, and by the time I got to the right one, the line was 90 people long. No thanks. Dumb.
So I waited a few more days and then attempted once again to be at the DMV office (the “regular” one, which I was assured was the correct one) before it opens so as to secure a decent spot in line. At 8am. Typically I don’t even get up for work until at least 8am, so this is kind of a big deal for me. I do it regardless. I get there at 7:45 and am approximately 15th in line. Not terrible. I wait. I read my Kindle which I had wisely brought with me to pass the time.
Then this grouchy little man comes outside to announce they will be opening momentarily, and begins going through a list of directions. You know, “if you’re an immigrant you must have such and such documents, bladiblah blah.” I am secretly proud of myself because I have brought every possible piece of documentation I could possibly or even probably or even remotely need to obtain citizenship in this state. I don’t want to do this twice. But I still listen because you just never know, and I want confirmation.
And then I hear this: “…and if you’re obtaining an NC license for the first time you must have proof of identification and a social security card. If you do NOT have your social security card, we can NOT help you.”
Guess what I forgot?
I stuff all my documentation, minus my social security card obviously, into my bag and go to my car. Thankfully I live only about 7 minutes from this office and if I hurry I could be back in 14 minutes. As I’m leaving the parking lot, I call my mother to lament my mistake (obviously), and I pass an old man in a mini van before she picks up. He shakes his head at me and I see him say “get off the phone.” I stare him down and tell him to “shut up” because a) I’m mad at myself and b) I know he’ll get my place in line and c) that makes me madder and d) stop judging me for being on the phone because I am e) extraordinarily adept at pulling out of a parking spot quite quickly even WHILE being on the phone so you can f) SHOVE IT.
I make it back in 14.5 minutes and I am pleased to see the line is not ridiculously long so I am optimistic. I get my number and wait and see a lady and then I have to take a test on the computerz. I was sort of nervous. I passed. But…I figured out why all NC drivers are so terrible.
Before I continue, let’s clear something up. Never have I been on roads in which more people press their brakes for zero reason whatsoever than in this state. Seriously. On the interstate with no one in front of you, going 2 over the speed limit: braking. There is the glint of a red light from an airplane flying overhead: braking. Green light: braking. Radio is too loud and it scared you: braking. Someone passes you in the left lane: braking. Abandoned car way off to the side of the road (more common than you might think): abrupt braking.
Is this not extreme? I get being a cautious driver. But seriously. Lay off the brakes, people. It’s going to be ok.
Back to the test.
The test contained 25 questions. Most of them are stupid easy. Like “You are approaching your exit on the interstate. What should you do?” A) Put on your blinker and move into the exit lane.” I mean, I typically don’t even need to read the other answers. And for 90% of the questions, the answer was B. For about 23 out of 25 of the questions (that’s 92%), one of the answer choices was “Press the brakes often.”
Light bulbs go off in my head. Multiple bright ones. Not a single time on any of the questions was this the correct answer. Never. In fact, I’d venture to guess that there is no question regarding correct driving procedure in which this would be a correct or even close to correct answer. Unless the question read something like, “What should you do if you are stopped or crawling in extremely heavy traffic due to an accident or road work?” And even in this case, I can think of much more logical answer choices other than “Press the brake often.”
But this explains a lot. Even though anyone who passes the driving test MUST know that “Press brake often” is not correct for anything, it must be subliminal. Like, well I saw “press brake often” a lot on that test so maybe I should do it a lot just to be sure I’m driving correctly! Or something. If I were a driving instructor, I would probably teach that drivers should avoid using the brake unless it’s extremely necessary. I might even say something like, “you should never use the brake unless you think you might hit something in a second.” Yeesh.
Anyway, it clears things up at least. I feel clarity in my understanding of this species of bad drivers. Now I just hope that by becoming a citizen of the great state of North Carolina that I don’t inadvertently and by accident become one of them. Yikes.
One bonus: I got to smile in my license photo and get rid of my scowling-I’m-a-felon looking picture from VA. That thing was stank.