The Coast News Group
Small Talk

Learning a new lesson on the road

You feel like such a chump.

All this time you thought you were a pretty good driver and then some police officer decides it’s time you learned, or were reminded of, one of the finer points of the traffic code.
This time, I was spanked for pulling from the left-hand-turn lane into the go-straight-ahead lane. In this case, it seems, a woman may not change her mind.
I admit, I’ve done it dozens of times, and never considered its legality. That, of course, is my problem. It was one of those items that had somehow slipped my mind since my last encounter with the DMV. I can’t truly say that about rolling stops and U-turns.
And here’s a heads-up for the rest of you. According to the lecture the earnest policewoman repeated for me about three times, they have been directed to really crack down on incorrect lane changes down by the airport. Based on how easy it is to get confused down there, what with all the remodeling and exit route changes, they should stay busy.
And now I wait for the ticket to arrive in the mail, so I can get busy scrubbing my record clean again. It has been several years since I was last caught in the act, so I am eligible for traffic school … again.
Yes, I’ve already been a time or two and I don’t remember them ever mentioning slipping out of the left-turn lane.
Thus I am reminded once again that I live my life as a lesson for others. Of the several friends I told about my ticket, each said, “That’s illegal?” I am here, now, to assure you, it is.
To cement the lesson, I plan to whine and pout, even beyond this column, about paying the city of San Diego several hundred dollars and spending a Saturday at some Motel 6 meeting room.
Truth is, I should get lots of get-out-of-jail-free credits for how much more safely I drive now than I did in my reckless youth, but let’s not dwell on that.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer and very careful driver you’ll now hate being behind on the road. Contact her at [email protected].