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Driving Test Failure and Discussion

Posted by  $  SarahMontalbano 2 years, 5 months ago to Politics
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I took my first driving test yesterday, and failed miserably by going through a stop sign. I was frightened to the point of shaking, and the sun was coming in just right to hit my left eye and blind me. It was a short stop sign too, and I blew right past it. Failed automatically. It didn't help that right after that I almost hit a jaywalking pedestrian.

So that wasn't very good.

However, it got me thinking about the role of government in transportation. In an ideal world, the government wouldn't be creating roads, but now that it has, does that mean it should regulate who uses them? What about toll roads? (I'm in favor). Railroad subsidies? Any discussion related to transportation would be welcome. I'm curious about the differing perspectives here, because I can see several different arguments that someone that enjoys Ayn Rand could argue.


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  • Posted by  $  ObjectiveAnalyst 2 years, 5 months ago
    Hello SarahMontalbano,
    Hang in there. practice a bit more, gain confidence, a bit more experience and you will achieve your goal.
    Transportation should not be a federal issue.
    Regards,
    O.A.
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  • Posted by jdg 2 years, 5 months ago
    This topic is a pet peeve of mine, one I rant about in other forums. The problem is urban planning as a whole.

    The planning community are big believers in the myth that the effects of population growth are negative. Thus, (the planners of) every state, region, county, and city want to avoid building any more infrastructure (not only roads but water supplies, power lines, etc.) than they can possibly help, all in the hope that the increased population (which will certainly occur over the next years and decades) will move somewhere else. (And indeed they actively work to reduce the capacities of existing roads.) Of course that hope is futile, because every state, region, county, and city does it.

    And for transportation and housing in particular they want to create deliberate shortages, both to force tomorrow's residents to use public transportation rather than drive most places, but also to drive up the price of existing housing by creating an artificial shortage. They do this because planning agencies are controlled by existing homeowners in each city and county, and raising the price benefits those people at the expense of (1) owners of unbuilt land and (2) everyone who needs or wants to move into that area, whether they intend to own or rent their home. In effect they are a cartel. Of course as homeowners they are already rich, so they don't ever expect to be affected by those shortages themselves.

    This is why I don't buy Oldguycarl's comment "That which governs best, governs close." Local authorities support the cartel because they don't want people to be able to easily drive through or past their towns, only into them.

    Indeed, most environmental groups are fronts for this cartel. By turning into parks and "open space districts" all that unbuilt land belonging to other people, they can preserve the nice views from their homes and keep additional traffic (and minorities!) out of their nice neighborhoods, all while hypocritically pretending that those are unselfish, charitable, and laudable actions which are helping to "save the earth." This is why the Sierra Club has the same demographics as Marin County.

    So the next time your rent goes up, or you get stuck in traffic, remember that it isn't an accident. The environmental movement did it to you deliberately.

    This is why libertarians would dismantle the planning system. In a free market, all roads would be privately owned and maintained -- local streets by their residents, and through streets and highways by toll authorities (easily implemented using EZ-Pass or similar systems). And the only limitation on what you can build on your property would be the common law of nuisances -- no zoning and no Urban Growth Boundaries. That's the way it needs to be.
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  • Posted by  $  jlc 2 years, 5 months ago
    Take what blarman and johnpe and several others advise to heart: Get back on the horse and ride it again. I failed my first two tries; On my third try, I looked so nervous that the examiner took a Valium out of his desk drawer and offered it to me. I was offended enough by this to overcome my nervousness and I did just fine. Ha!

    I generally 'test well' but certain tests for physical abilities seem to bypass that and I have trouble. Persist!

    Jan
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  • Posted by ChuckyBob 2 years, 5 months ago
    Back in the ancient days of driving I drove my dad's 1964 Datsun (now Nissan) pickup when I took my first driving test (which would indicate that there was a second). I also failed. I don't remember what he failed me on, but upon commiserating with the other guys at my high school, I found that almost every other boy failed on the first try. The girls seemed to have no problem. This produced the hypothesis that the boys' failure was intended to humble us. (Yeah,...good luck on that!)

    Learn from the experience. It sounds like mid day would be a better time to test if they are going to be directing you into the sun. Also, be sure your windshield is pristinely clean and you have some good polarized sunglasses, just in case he directs you into the sun again.

    That all being said, on to transportation. I spent my career moving stuff about. Since infrastructure is a general benefit and duplication of infrastructure would be inefficient and wasteful, I can see that having the state, or a dedicated utility produce the infrastructure. As to funding, I would go along with the concept of tolls if it weren't for the fact that a tax has already been established. If the states were to switch funding methodology, they probably would not truly switch, but would just add tolls on top of the tax. Having lived in the PDRC (People's Democratic Republic of California) I have seen how this is done. The other issue to address is that not all vehicles cause the same wear and tear of the roads. I typical car has tire inflation pressure of 30 to 35 psi. A typical big rig has pressures of 90 to 130 psi. This is because there is much more weight on the big rig tires. I can work out the math for you if you like. Anyway, due to the harder tires and more weight the big rigs do SUBSTANTIALLY more damage to the roads. So they should pay substantially more in tolls/taxes. However, if that were to happen the additional cost, plus markup, would just be passed onto the consumer in the form of higher freight rates. So you pay for it one way or the other. This could be tempered a bit, however, due to the elasticity of demand for freight.

    That probably does not answer your question, but I hope it give some food for thought.
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  • Posted by Mamaemma 2 years, 5 months ago
    Hi, Sarah. This is something you will laugh about in years to come, if you aren't already. Just practice a lot and get it next time!
    As to transportation, I don't think the government should be involved at all. I see it like package delivery, which is handled much better by private companies!
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  • Posted by bsmith51 2 years, 5 months ago
    I've not shared this with many people because of lifelong embarrassment, but on my private pilot check-ride (at age 17), tasked to demonstrate recovery from a stall, I accidentally put the plane into a spin, then properly and quickly recovered from it. The examiner passed me (!!!) with an admonition to get more stall training.

    An instructor later cured my fear of stalls by telling me to put the plane into an intentional spin. I was mortally afraid, but with the plane having flipped over and now pointing directly at the ground, he pointed straight ahead and yelled: "Now Smith, what the hell are you afraid of? There's nothing gonna kill you but the ground and it's WAY DOWN THERE." Ever since, I've thought stalls were fun.

    Everything is created twice: first in your mind, then in your action. Imagine confidence; act confidently.
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  • Posted by  $  Radio_Randy 2 years, 5 months ago
    I, too, failed my first drive test (at 16) and had to wait 2 years to try again (mom couldn't afford to send me twice). Since then...I've made plenty of errors, in 40+ years of driving, so don't feel too bad you failed your first test.

    I believe that the Feds were right in taking on the interstate transportation system, as it ensured standardization and we probably wouldn't have as good a system as we have now. Saying that, I firmly believe that the Feds have absolutely NO right in using those same highway funds to hold states hostage. The states should pay into the system and that should be that.

    Toll roads are great, but have been abused by greedy politicians where funds are improperly diverted. Also, once a toll road has been "paid for", it should be funded by standard transportation taxes (like gas tax) and the tolls eliminated.

    Railroad subsidies are something different, entirely. Once the railroads were built, any government financing should have stopped and the companies allowed to pay for themselves. If they were not economically viable, they should go down the tubes as any legitimate business concern would.

    That is my current opinion...subject to change after I've eaten lunch, had a drink, etc.
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  • Posted by term2 2 years, 5 months ago
    If the roads were private, there would be drivers licenses too I suspect. There is UBER now, and autonomous cars in the future that will make the whole issue moot.
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  • Posted by ycandrea 2 years, 5 months ago
    Don't worry Sarah. On my first driving test at age 16, I did something really stupid. I was instructed to turn left at the next signal light. I moved into the left turn lane perfectly, and I was the only car in the lane, (small town). Then I noticed that I could not see the signal light right next to me so I backed up! I did not know you had to look across the street at that signal light! Pretty stupid, huh? My tester just laughed and explained it to me.
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  • Posted by johnpe1 2 years, 5 months ago
    first, don't let the re-take of the driving test wait too
    long ... get right back up on that horse and make a
    good life-story of it. . no one was hurt, and "the iron
    is still hot." . strike again!
    transportation should give rise to consortia of all kinds,
    between individuals and businesses, avoiding the
    government at all costs. . they just screw things up,
    slow things down and increase costs!! -- j
    .
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  • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 5 months ago
    Of equal importance to whether teenagers are safe enough drivers is the driving ability of octegenarians. I am generally for small government, but the driver's license process of a written test, six months of apprenticing under someone who is experienced, and then taking a practical test on an unknown landscape is a reasonable process. I use the same approach with regard to students' use of the multiuser equipment I train them on.
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  • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 5 months ago
    One of my daughters had problems with the driving test, too. You will soon learn that life has lots of sudden, unexpected obstacles. Anticipating them is half the battle.

    Roads and railroads should be private, but once something becomes "public", no one owns it, and its quality degrades more quickly than if someone owned it.
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    • Posted by  $  2 years, 5 months ago
      Exactly; not knowing what to anticipate made me all the more nervous.
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      • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 5 months ago
        Let's turn that anticipation and nervousness into a positive. What made producers like Rearden successful is that they not only assessed current competition, but they were constantly reinventing themselves and their products so as to be ahead of any upstart competition coming from out of nowhere. If you want modern day examples of this, look at Tiger Woods in the early 2000s or at Steve Jobs of Apple and Pixar. Or perhaps take a lesson from Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots: "You don't practice until you get it right. You practice until you can't get it wrong."
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  • Posted by jimjamesjames 2 years, 5 months ago
    Sarah,

    Failure is feedback. Feedback is good.

    When I decided to reup my Commercial Driver's License so I could go back to pulling tankers in the gas fields of Wyoming (and make a LOT of money), I had to take a driving test, too. I thought I did well until we got back and the DOT guy said, "You failed." In pulling out to drive the six mile test route, I had hit an orange cone within 50 feet of the start. I asked the guy, "Why'd we continue?" He said, "Because I liked our opening conversation and wanted to continue." The opening conversation? John Galt versus Obama.

    You'll pass the test and remember the first rule of driving: Everyone else on the road is a threat.
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 2 years, 5 months ago
    I recently had two daughters take their driving tests. Parents aren't allowed on the actual test. My oldest made it by one mistake - ie one more and she would have failed. Take courage and do some more practice. You'll get it. Driving is much more strenuous when you've got someone critiquing your every move!

    I can see the arguments for both public and private ownership of roads.

    Public ownership Pros:
    It is simple
    Anyone can use them - from public citizens to law enforcement to emergency personnel

    Public ownership cons:
    Maintenance scheduling is never convenient
    Maintenance costs are determined by federal law in many cases resulting in much higher costs due to rules/regs and laws like
    gas taxes get left in the dust by hybrid/electric vehicles
    no one wants a big brother system of road use taxes

    Private ownership pros:
    owners are incentived to maintain the roads on a regular schedule
    maintenance costs are subject to contract laws, resulting in faster work for better prices

    Private ownership cons:
    permissions to use the roads are a hassle and can be expensive
    what to do about emergency vehicles?

    Personally, I like public roads, I just don't like the laws that make maintenance more expensive than it needs to be. The times I've been forced to use toll roads were as a tourist and the extra several dollars for a one-time visit just seemed too expensive.
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  • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 2 years, 5 months ago
    As I went for my driving test some 46 years ago, uppermost in my mind was my driving instructors criticism that when I turned left, if there was no car in the street I was turning to, I cut across the right hand lane a bit.

    So, when the examiner told me to turn left I very carefully made a broad turn and entered squarely into the proper lane. His response was the question "what color was the light?"

    Yeah. Red light. He explained that I had failed automatically but told me to continue through the rest of the test for practice. The next time it was easy.
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  • Posted by autumnleaves 2 years, 5 months ago
    Hi Sarah, practice, practice, practice. I too failed my first driving test 69 years ago. You will do fine the next time. I now am pulling a small travel trailer for the first time ever, and learning to back it up. It's practice, practice for me too!
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  • Posted by strugatsky 2 years, 5 months ago
    I passed the driving test on my first try, by going through a red light... This was years ago in NYC, well known for failing more than 50% of the victims. As it happened, I was first to take the test at 8 am. The instructor got into car, with a coffee cup in his hand and proceeded to doze off. Shortly, I came to a very pink light and had to make a split-second decision - do I stop and end up with a coffee-soaked instructor, or do I make smooth sailing through a pink light? Evidently, I made the correct choice.
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  • Posted by  $  Stormi 2 years, 5 months ago
    Sarah, give yourself a good talk and tell yourself you just need to be calm. I was lucky, my HS had driver's training, and our instructor was a former race driver and VERY demanding. The testing agent was a pussy cat compared to him.
    Beware of road and be glad they are funded. Some parts of Calif. have plowed up and discontinued hundreds of miles of rural roads, in the name of UN Agenda 21 and their goofy rewilding ideas.
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  • Posted by Lucky 2 years, 5 months ago
    Consider yourself fortunate that you failed.
    2. Learn from experience.
    3. Take driving lessons from a person who is not a friend or family. You will need about one hour per year of age.
    4. When driving do not worry about the role of government, concentrate on the task,
    When walking walk,....
    5. Consider what mental state you should be in to prevent a crash when sunlight hits your eyes, and not hitting jay-walkers even if it is their fault.
    6. Consider how to control fear and anger when provoked by a driver who runs a stop sign and is coming towards you.

    Good logical thinking and opinions benefit from maturity, for maturity you have to be alive.
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  • Posted by  $  Snezzy 2 years, 5 months ago
    Some time when you get the opportunity take up driving horse and carriage. It's really rather easy because of the ever-present but sometimes fickle autopilot.

    Then try learning to drive a four-in-hand. One of the key points is to avoid cutting corners. The lead pair of horses will take the corner, and the next pair (the wheelers) will follow right behind them, pulling the carriage into a ditch or a wall. You have to turn the wheelers AWAY from the turn until the right moment.

    And no driver's license is required for horse-drawn vehicles!
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 2 years, 5 months ago
    The Federal government got involved with transportation because it has a constitutional duty to defend the country. Late in the 19th century, the fastest way to move troops from one place to another was by rail, so the Feds took it upon themselves to make sure we had a top notch national rail network.

    President Eisenhower, in his former role as a five star general commanding our forces in Europe in WW II, had observed Germany's superior national highway network, the Autobahn, and how it enabled rapid troop movement within the country. He decided that a huge country like the U.S. badly needed a high speed national road network to move troops in time of emergency, and set about to build the Interstate freeway system we're now familiar with. He also decided that it was the duty of the Federal government to insure all major bridges were well maintained, so the Feds stuck their nose into transportation infrastructure.
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    • Posted by  $  Snezzy 2 years, 5 months ago
      A more cohesive rail system (mostly "standard" gauge) was one of the advantages the North had over the South in the Civil War. The South had at least three different major gauges.

      Russia built all its railroads to five-foot gauge to prevent invasion from the surrounding countries that were other gauges, mostly standard.

      The Interstate Highway system is part of the US defense structure.
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      • Posted by DrZarkov99 2 years, 5 months ago
        One fascinating historical note is that the standard rail bed width is based on the width of Roman chariot roadways. There were enough of the Roman roads still in existence when steam trains were first produced, and the roads were used for rail beds.
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        • Posted by jdg 2 years, 5 months ago
          Roman wagons used a width based on two horses side by side. Later wagons had to keep to that same width because the ruts in the roads were already there. Then both the first train cars, and the first automobiles, were built on old wagon chassis.

          The South's problem with railroads was not the gauges, it was that most railroads were short lines from a farm area out to a port, to ship cotton overseas. Most of the South didn't have a connected network. That was only one of many reasons they didn't win, though.
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  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 2 years, 5 months ago
    Ideally the towns and cities would get together and decide where and how roads would be built...it's more direct. Even the state capital and representatives are too far away from those issues.
    Actually, if everyone would of had the foresight, planning out roads before any properties were sold or granted would of been the ideal.

    That which governs best, governs close.

    In the beginning, cars drove on the horse and buggy paths which were created just by repetitive travel.
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  • Posted by mia767ca 2 years, 5 months ago
    who do you think influenced (paid off) the politicians to build the roads for the cars...the car manufacturers...it is how the world of the best politicians that money can buy happens...
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