Sunday, September 27, 2009

Which one is the Brake?

I’m going to take a one blog break from my final drive because I only have approximately three hundred words left to use and I want to save the final, final drive for next week. This will be a accumulation of driving mistakes I have experienced, as many as it takes to fill three hundred word worth. The first one is when my dad and I got lost attempting the school drive route Dory had emailed me the night before. He wanted me to pull up against the curb behind a parked car so he could look at a map. I still don’t know how this happened but I somehow suddenly forgot what pedal was the gas and what on was the brake. I accidently pressed the gas instead and immediately switched pedals when the car lurched forward. But me being rather stupid switched pedals again. I was having difficulties determining what pedal did what I was switching between the two so quickly my brain couldn't keep up. It must have looked really weird to someone outside seeing us lurch forward and slam back getting closer and closer to the parked car ahead. By the time I actually remembered what pedal did what I had to slam the brake down so hard it threw us back into the street, much to the surprise to the driver passing us at the time. We avoided an accident but I got honked at again. In the end I think I was actually partially touching the parked cars bumper. That was a close one! My second one is yet another braking issue. I was stopped at a stop sign and it wasn’t like I wasn’t paying attention or anything because I looked both ways I guess I just didn’t notice the huge truck I should’ve waited for. So I pull out and am racking up speed when I notice the truck that is honking at me. I do some quick calculation and decide that my best bet of avoiding an accident are to speed up and get out of the way rather than stop and be hit. This was a poor decision on my part because I had just sped up when I realized I wasn’t going to make it. I immediately punched down my brakes and the truck sped up just barely saving his nice paintjob. I got to hear a few choice words yelled by him as he passed us and I could swear he was shaking on fist.

Practice makes Perfect

Mr. Tilden recommended running through your route around four times to make sure you got it memorized. I ended up running it roughly eight times not including all the times I got so horribly lost or missed an important exit, and we ended up giving up halfway through and starting over (this happened rather frequently). I’ll attempt to give you a description of the route. It was full of multiple lane changes within one block before you had another multiple lane change to go the opposite direction. There was one tricky part where I goofed up a lot especially when it got dark out and it got harder to see the lines. I was supposed to turn left at an intersection onto a four-lane street. Two of the four lanes went in the opposite direction of my desired direction and the third was a turning land turning left. The fourth one was the one I wanted and it was also the farthest away and the smallest. Basically it was really bad to accidently end up in any of the other lanes. So naturally that is exactly what I did. I accidently turned into the turning lane that was turning directly into me, that was to the immediate left of my desired lane. This was a bad thing. I could see the car headed for me so I freaked out and veered the car into the lanes farther left. Those lanes happened to be the two that were going in the opposite direction of mine or in other words zooming straight towards me. I had to then pull the car out of the dangerous oncoming traffic (which were by now making good use of their horns) and into the dangerous turning lane and then into my proper place where my dad had us stop at the nearest stopping point and calm down. We then started from the beginning again and I proceeded to make the exact same mistake again. My dad wasn’t so understanding the second time. Even though it was all my fault I must also commend myself for remaining cool headed the whole time. If I had just frozen or freaked out and not have reacted so quickly we probably would have caused a major traffic accident. I am happy to report though, that I have never made that same mistake again. I have thoroughly learned my lesson.

The Final Drive Begins!

The final drive is just what it sounds like. It is the last drive you take in Driver’s Ed and it determines whether you have to drive with the DOT when you get your license. If you take Driver’s Ed through Kennedy Mr. Tilden requires you to memorize the entire route you will be driving while obeying all the traffic laws and parallel parking. The final drive is worth fifteen points and it is completely possible to go into the negatives. If you get off course, violate any law or have to ask for any help from Mr. Tilden he automatically deducts five points. To document the whole drive and events leading up to it (such as practicing for it) will take up a lot of blog space. I will begin with all the practice runs with my dad trying to memorize the route and then work up to the actual final drive. I will tell you what I got on the final drive now so you don’t have to remain in suspense. I was one of the unlucky few who actually managed to get a negative score (maybe the only one in the class), negative four to be exact. In my defense the route was really hard and some pedestrians shouldn’t be allowed to walk the street. In my next blogs I will write about how I single handedly endangered the lives of my dad and I not once but multiple times.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Code Names

I have just been informed that I was not supposed to reveal the name of my teacher and friends, so from now on I will be using code names. Mr. Wilden will be referred to as Mr. Tilden and Tory will be known as Dory. If I accidentally slip up and use their actual names please forgive me, I am used to calling my friends and teachers by their appropriate titles. So in case I confused you by the sudden switch in names (for security purposes) I will use them in a sentence. Mr. Tilden was my Drivers Ed teacher that you should all feel sorry for, and Dory is my superb Driver’s Ed partner that single handedly, with little to no help from me got us both through that class. Thanks Dory! Regretfully since I have never once mentioned my name in this blog and made this blog under a fake name I have no need of a codename. This is very unfortunate because codenames make me feel like an ultra cool secret spy! I have now protected Mr. Tilden and Dory’s identity (which wouldn’t have been in any danger if I hadn’t endangered it in the first place) and replaced them with super secret codenames that I’m sure no one will figure out. So please don’t even attempt to for multiple reasons.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What a Waste of a Blog!

I mentioned in my introduction that I have minimum amount of words I am required to write each week. Well I have just written two very long blogs that just about cover the minimum amount. But I am required to fit all my words into three blogs and as of now I would have only had two so this one will be a very short one, about nothing in particular. This has been my very short unimportant blog of exactly eighty-two words.

The Make-Up Session

I took Drivers Ed during winter term. One day there was an early dismissal due to bad weather conditions. This happened to fall on a test day. On test days all you have to do is come in and take the test and leave when you’re done. You usually end up leaving twenty minutes to a half hour early. However as we were leaving early due to bad weather, I thought that seventh hour would be canceled too. I mean the announcements said leave as soon as possible. Well it turns out Mr. Wilden was still holding class and around half the class who thought the same as me were missing. Not only did I now have to make up a test, I also had to make up an entire class period. Whereas if I had not missed the class I would have only had to stay half an hour. Being caught up in the injustice of it all made up my test in under half an hour, and immediately forgot about the hour of class time I had to make up. This approach did not serve me well, because towards the end of the trimester when all the makeup Drivers Ed courses at Kennedy were long over, I was still missing an hour of class time I needed to pass. Linn Mar was the only high school still offering makeup Driver's Ed Courses. I had to get my parents to drive me all the way out to Linn Mar to make up my missing hour. But apparently Linn Mar hadn’t been notified that they were still giving makeup courses because when I arrived there I was greeted by a confused janitor who said all the teachers had already left. While I was chilling with the janitorial staff I was joined by another slacker who had missed a Driver’s Ed class for whatever reason. We both started following the janitor around as he checked all the rooms where the class should have been held. We were joined by yet another student here for the same purpose. Seeing the growing number of us, the janitor was convinced that we weren’t all just mistaken on the time and location, but there was actually a class planned. The janitor checked a schedule that confirmed there was indeed a class scheduled to be taking place. He had to call the Driver’s Ed teacher at his home to come back to school to complete the rest of our hour which was already half over. We were then ushered to a room where we were to work on homework supervised by the janitor until the teacher arrived. The teacher apologized upon arrival and proceeded to show us a video on the value of giving away all your vital organs. A few notes at the end: the janito we hung out with was really nice, and i appreciate his help. And there is also nothing wrong with being a organ donor. When I get my license I fully intend to be one.

Fun on the Interstate

I will now recall some of my fond Interstate memories. I am positive Mr. Wilden and Tory look back on them as fondly as I do. My first time ever to drive on interstate was with Mr. Wilden in the front seat and Tory in the back seat. We were working on merging. As fate would have it my first attempt of merging at high speeds would involve a semi. I had seen Tory do the procedure before me but mine didn’t go as smoothly. I pulled up slightly ahead of the semi, turned on my turn signal to merge and of course did my quick over the shoulder check. But my quick over the shoulder check was not as quick as I thought, and in the time it took to look behind me for cars, I had accidently started angling the car into the semi. This would probably still have turned into a successful merge seeing as I was ahead of the semi, but to add to all my problems, at the same time I had been accidently angling towards the semi, I was also accidently slowing down. (You can’t really blame me for this though, it was my first time on interstate and everyone generally agrees you find more safety in lower speeds. This does not seem to be the case on interstate.) By the time I finally got faced forward again I was looking straight at the oncoming side of a semi truck. This is where Mr. Wilden comes in to save the day! I can’t classify what noise he made as I was in a state of shock but it sounded like something garbled, not a scream but a cry of alarm. Mr. Wilden had to grab the wheel from me and yank us in the opposite direction. This threw us slightly into the other lane, but Mr. Wilden who still was in control of the wheel was able to quickly rectify the situation. By switching the direction of the wheel with the correct amount of force to put us back on course. With all the commotion I was almost able to ignore the honking semi next to me. I was then given back the steering wheel and forced to pick another victim to pass and merge into their lane. This time I was successful. When later conversing with Tory I was able to extract her side of the story. I was told of the impending horrors of watching our car come closer and closer to the semi and the driver seemingly unaware of the situation. Mr. Wilden may have made a brief unanimous joke on the matter the next day to the class. The second time on interstate with Mr. Wilden and Tory, I was convinced I was going to keep up with all the other cars so I wouldn’t have a repeat incedent of last time by slowing down. I don’t remember actually speeding up or when I stopped driving alongside the cars and passing them. I didn’t realize anything was wrong until Mr. Wilden casually says, I quote “This will make us a good speeding ticket Ashley” It was then that I checked my speed, which at this time was reading something slightly over eighty. And in case you didn’t know, the speed limit on interstate is seventy. I slowed down to a more acceptable speed, approved by Mr. Wilden. Once we got off the interstate Mr. Wilden said I was the first student he had ever had go over eighty. I’m so proud!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What a great friend!

I will now begin the Drivers Ed portion of my blog. For this part of my driving career I would like to give all the credit to my amazing driving buddy! She saved my grade and in exchange I endangered he life. It was a great deal on my part, but my partner got very few, if any benefits. If you haven’t guessed already, (which I can almost bet my life that you haven’t, seeing as I have not even in the least attempted to give you a general description of her)my partners name is Victoria. Victoria is an awesome driver. I am ashamed to say that I was not above peeking at her driving scores and I can personally vouch for her flawless driving grade. This is very impressive compared to my five out of ten driving average, maybe seven points on a good day. Tory saved my butt on our school drive, she did all the work for me. The point of the school drive is you have a time limit to pass all the schools in the area you can. You get points for each one you drive by within the time limit. Halfway through you have to switch partners. Tory planned our entire route. I made some shallow attempt of a route, but we obviously went with Tory’s more superior route. (This may be the right time to mention that I am severely directionally challenged). In her route she planned for a driver 1 and a driver two. Driver one passed almost all of the schools, while driver two was left with plenty of spare time to get back to Kennedy and pass a total of two schools including Kennedy. I was driver two. With my simplified route, you would think that I wouldn’t have any troubles, but you would be mistaken. Pulling out of gas station where we changed drivers I was about to stop behind a car stopped at a light to start my route when another car pulled in behind the first car and in front of me, leaving me no room to straighten out. The problem here is that when the car pulled in front of me I was straddling the divider of a two way lane about to take my place on the right side of it. To make matters worse the cars ahead of me wouldn’t be moving to make room for me until the light turned green and this was turning out to be a very long light. So when I said I was straddling the divider I meant I was completely sideways (about to straighten out)blocking two lanes of traffic, and one of them had a green light and was heading straight at me. It was then that Mr. Wilden my Driver’s Ed teacher had me pull into the parking lot opposite of me to get out of traffic, forcing me to then reverse back out onto the same busy road. I had to use up all the extra time Tory had provided for me just waiting for a break in traffic long enough for me to get back onto the road. Needless to say without Tory’s help I would have failed Drivers Ed miserably. This whole story was just to prove what a selfless kindred soul Tory is. In my later entries I may fail to mention and give Tory quite as much credit as is due, because I am a very vain person and tend to only think of myself, especially when recalling memories. I am just making sure that even when I don’t say it, you all know that Tory plays a big part in my driving success.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The 1st drive

The first indication that I was unquestionably a very talented driver was my first time being in the driver's seat of a car. My mother had taken me to an empty parking lot right after receiving my permit on the second try. I put the car into drive and was very alarmed that it moved without me touching the gas. I screamed and took my hands off the wheel and wailed loudly that I didn't do anything. My mother had to take the wheel and explain that I was not at fault. I wondered why we even needed gas pedals and if I'd even need to use mine at all if the car moved so quickly on its own. I now have discovered a need for speed and have come to realize that what I experienced that first day was not fast at all. That was one of the last times my mother took me driving, for the rest of my driving career or at least until I achieve my official license my dad has to supervise my driving. My second time driving we had witnesses and they will never let me forget. I was reversing for the first time out of our driveway (that is very tricky) and one of the neighbors was out. It started out fine until my father failed to mention to me I had to turn the wheel. When I finally turned the wheel we were half on the driveway half on the grass. I turned the wheel the wrong direction and we ended up in the middle of our lawn. From there I backed up into our cold sac missing the driveway completely. While I was panicking my sister who was in the back noticed my neighbor go fetch his brother to watch the spectacle who the retrieved their father to watch the show. They arrived just in time to see the big finale. Once in the cold sac I was about to drive forward to reach the road, I pressed down hard on the gas pedal to make a quick escape. But I had failed to properly change gears and the direction of the wheel so I just ended up going in a full circle multiple times. While we were spinning around I again took my hands off the steering wheel and began to scream for my life. My sister joined me in my screaming while my dad tried to take control of the wheel. Of course I being the brilliant person I am, that in my panic had not let up on the gas but pressed down harder. So this was an amazing feat performed by my dad to be able to take control of the situation. When all was under control again you could hear all the neighbors laughing from a safe distance away.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


If you bothered to read the title of my blog you already have a general idea of what this blog is going to be about. But the title being rather vague doesn’t mention that it is in fact just a driver’s license that I’m aiming for. I will not bore you with all my successes and triumphs, no for this blog I will write solely of all my embarrassing and slightly traumatizing failures. Throughout this blog I would like you to keep in mind what I just mentioned and that every horrible mess up I write about I have like five brilliantly executed drives. This blog is for school and I have a word minimum I must hit every week, so when this eventually opens up to the public, if my blogs tend to get a little lengthy and boring, please don’t get mad. I’m going to begin with recalling all my driver’s Ed experiences that led up to me having to test drive and will then get to all my drives with the DOT. As I am writing this I have driven with the DOT four times and still in counting. One last disclaimer before I end this I am not a bad driver though what you will read will make you question that fact. May you benefit somehow form my tragic driving history.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hey! This kind of a test blog, so not all my blogs to come will be this boring and meaningless. I promise you more interesting things to come!