So you think you’re pretty familiar with California, its drivers, and its culture? Take this test and see how you do…
1: You just changed lanes without using your turn signals. Why?
a. I’m sorry, I was concentrating on avoiding that maniac in the other lane over there and just didn’t have time to even think about signalling.
b. Aargh!! I forgot. Must be the crazy traffic. Sorry.
c. What’s the point of signalling? Everyone can see I’m changing lanes.
d. I’m a Californian. I don’t have to signal.
2: I’m about 180 cm tall. What’s that in Nineteenth Century measurements?
a. Oh, about 5’10” or 5’11”?
b. Fairly tall. Somewhere up towards six foot, I’d guess….
c. Let’s see… there’s 150 cm in a kilogram, right? And a meter is about 4 foot, so….
3: The correct speed to merge with traffic on a freeway doing 65 MPH is:
a. As close to 65 MPH as I can safely do by the time I’m merging.
b. 25 MPH?
c. Whatever speed I damn well feel like. Are you from the Government?
4: The best way to try to settle a traffic dispute in its early stages is to use:
a. Informal discussion.
b. Formal arbitration.
5. The so-called “fast lane” on the freeway is for:
a. Passing slower vehicles.
b. Avoiding getting stuck behind the trucks in the slower lanes.
6. A red-painted curb means:
a. Do not park, stand, or stop there at any time.
b. Stop but don’t park.
c. Be especially careful to check for parking police before parking there.
7. Cyclists: which of the following is true?
a. I must obey the traffic rules, just like cars should.
b. I should obey the rules, but it’s OK to blow a red light or stop sign when it’s obvious there’s no one around and I’ll just cause annoyance if I stay around and get in the way of waiting cars…
c. I’m special — the road rules don’t apply to me.
8. Motorists: a cyclist going in the opposite direction and about to turn in front of you, and who stopped before you at a four-way stop junction:
a. Has right of way over you. Let him or her turn before you enter the junction.
b. Is probably sick or injured — why else would he be stopped at a stop sign?
c. Is a legitimate target.
d. What cyclist?
9. Volvo Drivers: You can drive at 45 MPH in the fast lane with only one hand while blocking traffic behind you and listening to very loud bad 60’s rock bands because:
a. I can’t. What on earth are you thinking?
b. The Volvo will protect me from any harm.
c. I’m special.
d. Karma, man.
10. It looks like you’re too far to the left in heavy fast-moving freeway traffic to make the next exit. The correct procedure here is:
a. Make a leisurely exit at the exit after the one you’re about to miss, double back, try again.
b. Give it an honest try — I might make it if I’m lucky — but it’s not worth killing myself or anyone else for it. I can always take the next exit….
c. Swerve violently to your right and cut across five lanes of traffic — blind. God is my co-pilot.
11. You’re in Berkeley (Northside) and want a coffee. What do you ask for?
a. A cup of joe.
b. A house black.
c. A giant cappucino to go. Yes, I know it’s midnight.
d. A decaf doppio capuccino with non-fat soy, for here. No cinnamon. Make sure it’s Fair Trade. Excuse me, is that a spot on the glass?
12. The reason you’re comfortable with buying and driving that huge 5-ton 12 mpg 4WD Chevy Suburban SUV is:
a. Well, I’m not particularly comfortable, but we have ten kids and live in the boonies. I couldn’t find anything else that wouldn’t get stuck in the snow on the way home and could fit ten kids and their sports gear inside together….
b. Safety. I’m kinda timid, and I sure feel better driving this tank around….
c. Pollution is someone else’s problem.
d. I couldn’t find any other car that would comfortably fit all my guns.
13. Free health care is:
a. A right.
b. An expensive privilege.
c. A plot.
14. Driving is:
a. A privilege.
b. A necessity.
c. A right.
Scoring: well, if you haven’t worked it out by now you’ll probably fit right in. Score zero for each (a), one for each (b), three for each (c), and a wopping bonus five points for each (d) where they exist. With question 11 you can also score five for answer (a), as long as you made the irony obvious when asking for the cup of joe. Especially if the cafe owner knows what type of joe you usually have (and it’s normally a decaf doppio capuccino with non-fat cream).
A score of 35 or more points means you’re one of us. Congratulations! A score of (say) 20 to 35 is pretty good — you’re on your way. Only a few points need improving. A score of 10 to 20 is poor — I’d recommend you brush up on your technique or everyone will know you’re from out-of-town. A score of zero to 10 is pathetic — I’ll bet you’re from England or Europe or some wimpy little country like that.
Note: in case you can’t tell, this test is satire. Or at least it’s not serious. No, I don’t recommend you learn to drive and think the way it would take to get 30 or more points here. Well, maybe if you learn to order coffee correctly it’s OK. All the rest is … satire. Or long experience speaking….