When the bill for my car insurance arrived last week I thought ,”How the heck does my car insurance keep going up when my car is getting older?” Come to find out it’s because I, too, am getting older. Once you are 75 they see you as a bigger risk, and your insurance goes up each year until you’re 80 when it goes up even more. But…by taking the Smart Driving class offered by AARP at a cost of $15 , I could save about $130 dollars a year for each of three years by taking the course. So off I went on Tuesday to take “Smart Driving”. The course was led, I hesitate to say taught, by a seeming 89-year-old volunteer, who shuffled across the floor and spoke in a soft voice. There was a thick book which was basically a review of all the best driving regulations and practices , the pages alternating with video clips of someone repeating what the book said. The course was to last 6 hours, with lunch, but blessedly the instructor could not find the second DVD, so we were released early. Luckily there was no road test and, even more fortunately, no parallel parking.
Sixty years ago, when I took Driver’s Ed in high school, the year ended ran before the instructor taught us to parallel park, so I didn’t learn that valuable skill. I got my Massachusetts license anyway and later there was reciprocity so I got my New York license without a road test. However, almost ten years after I got that first license, I had to take a road test for my Wisconsin license, and it required the ability to parallel park. When we got to that point, the instructor said, “Now you have to parallel park.” I just looked at him and said, “I can’t.” “What do you mean you can’t?” “Never learned,” I said. “What have you been doing for the past ten years?” “Driving around until I find a double space or else angle parking.” I was still young and kind of cute, so he said, “Well, sweetie if you’ve been doing that for ten years, I might as well give you your license.” He did, and to this day, I can’t parallel park.
When I moved to NH in 1997, I heard that at 75 you had to take a road test which included parallel parking. I started to panic, but was very relieved when I heard they raised the age for re-testing to 80. My son, Stephen said, “Don’t worry, Mom, by then they’ll have cars that park themselves!”
Dorothy C. Judd ©
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