Virginians to Blame for Bad Driving? Yeah, Not So Much.

While I am a transplant to driving in the DC metropolitan area, I learned to drive on the suburban streets of Davis, California, I’ve found that driving in DC proper is fairly easy to handle. Of course, I’ve also found that most of the obstacles are caused by absolute morons who somehow managed to get their hands on a set of car keys and a license.

DCist seems to think it’s all Virginia Drivers’ Fault. But there’s a problem here. Here’s the problem:

The District and Maryland tied at 44th place in how well their drivers fared on the test — only 79.8 percent would pass — while Virginia enjoyed a three-way tie with Alabama and Nevada for 15th place — 84.7 percent.

Okay, great, Virginia drivers will pass the test given by the DMV 5 more times out of 100 than their counterparts in Maryland or the District. That’s pretty much a wash. But, Martin (or should I say, That DCist) seems to think it means it’s all Virginia Drivers’ Fault:

So what does this mean? Scientifically, not much. Practically, well, it may mean that those stick-to-the-rules Virginians just can’t seem to deal with driving in a city, where traffic rules are naturally more flexible than in the ‘burbs and are often treated more as suggestions than as actual laws. Virginians may have the book-smarts, but they lack the street-smarts.

Virginia requires that all drivers retake the state exam every 5 years. How do I know this? I just had to do it last October. I went in for my license renewal and was told I had to repass the driver’s test. I got slapped in front of a terminal and tapped in the answers to the questions. I missed one question, having to do with the speed limit on a divide two lane highway (I figured 55, since that’s what I’ve seen along the various divided highways I’ve driven in Virginia, it was actually 65mph.) The point being is that when your license expires here, you get to take the test. When was the last time you saw a driver with a Diplomat or State Department plate having to re-take their driver’s exam? How about those trucks who seem to make it their business to park in the no-stopping-zone along the various main thoroughfares in DC? During Rush Hour? Or how about my favorite: the median merge. Today, I headed up to Baltimore to take in an Orioles game, and there was a huge backup on the Southeast/Southwest Freeway at the Penn Ave exit. Did folks behave like good little drivers and be patient as the officer at the top of the bridge directed traffic? No. They didn’t. Without fail it was Maryland and DC plates that were screaming by on the shoulder or trying to sneak in via the median.

So, Martin, I know you’re trying to be funny, and your shtick seems to be bashing those of us who live on the other side of the river, but man, take a pill. Here’s a better question…

How the hell do you know what traffic’s like in the city? Don’t you take that new-fangled subway thingy everywhere you need to go? I mean, that’s what responsible DC residents would do, right? ;)

2 Comments so far

  1. dcrasta (unregistered) on May 28th, 2005 @ 11:45 pm

    Hey all I want to say is can someone invent a Cell phone zapper that disconnects peoples calls when they are driving.> I would love to be able to shut them down.. And how about the police that like to cruise around on the cell phone .. talk about pet peeves..


  2. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on May 29th, 2005 @ 11:31 am

    AMEN! It’s not like it’s legal to chat on your handset in DC anyhow! That’s a $50 fine if you’re not using a headset!



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