Sunday, January 12, 2014

License to Drive

Being home over break reminded me just how different driving in the U.S. is from India.

Some differences...

The steering wheel's on the left side not the right which may, just perhaps, cause the driver to:
  • Attempt to enter the car on the wrong side,
  • Flip on the windshield wipers when you really wanted the turn signals and 
  • Flip on the turn signal when you really wanted the windshield wipers. 
These may have happened multiple times to me. Maybe.

The biggest difference, which only happened once; I swear, is I made a left turn and then proceeded down the wrong side of the road. I quickly realized when a car was ready to back out from their driveway onto the same street I was on and I was in their way, that I was actually in the wrong lane. I only did this for about 5-10 seconds so it sounds MUCH more dramatic than it really was. It was also in DeKalb which has little traffic and was on a sidish street so again, this error should be downplayed.

Visiting Chicago quickly helped me adjust to a bit of snow and ice driving. Coming from 85 degree temps to in the single digits with various forms of frozen water on the roads, means driving at slower speeds. Kinda obvious. What's the challenge each year is more not driving too slow and causing more trouble for your fellow travelers. Plus the own self-imposed, please tell me I'm not driving like a senior citizen. 

Some similiarities...
  • Avoiding potholes which this week Chicago gave Mumbai a run for it's money and
  • Reading fellow travelers' minds who do not use turn signals (a newer Midwestern trait).
The biggest difference is that instead of taking driving lessons as I did, from my good friend in India to learn how to drive manual, my dad gave me a forced driving remediation course. One, potentially snow stormy morning, my dad gave me the owner's manual for their car. They bought this car late this past summer. I have driven this brand and model (they had one for over 10 years) and I've been driving since I turned 15 (just over 10 years - ugh). Apparently, he still thought that I needed a refresher because their model was so new and it was going to be snowy or maybe it was because I was playing up all of the differences causing him some worry. Still funny regardless and I did learn I'm definitely jealous of all the fancy steering wheel controls their car has that mine doesn't.

I head back to Bombay soon. I'm at the gate. Wonder how the similarities and differences will flipflop when I land. Here's to hoping my remediation course and snowy driving road tests help with it. Thanks again for the great time and lessons Dad (and Mom).


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