Sir Malcolm Campbell I am not and nor is Tickey the famous Bluebird of land speed record-breaking. Blue is about the only thing that Bluebird and Tic have in common. So when I received an envelope in the mail from Prescott Valley Police I immediately thought … there has to be some mistake. Not wanting to echo every inmate and incarcerated criminal … “but, I’m innocent” … but, I truly don’t speed. That lesson was firmly learned after a series of speeding violations back when I had the Geo Tracker. (Not sure what my hurry was when I was younger). Simple cure for speeding tickets … don’t speed. Gone was my too expensive Radar Detector now replaced with a Garmin GPS that I monitor faithfully. My eye never straying far from the posted speed adjacent to the actually, digital speed. In a state with freeway limits at 75 Mph, I am happy at 65/70.
But, the photo capture, rather a good likeness if I may say so, was ‘proof positive’. There was even a cute butt shot of Tickey’s, proud vanity plate. I felt my feistiness evaporate as I mentally considered defeat. But, how? Where? When? The day was May 1st, the day I broke from the “Wagon Train” and headed off towards PV. Even google mapping the exact road brought forward no recollection. “Approximately 52 in a 35 MPH“. “Speed greater than reasonable and prudent“. They must not have seen what I was driving(!) A Toyota Yaris at “Speeds greater than reasonable and prudent“? Seriously? And a $310.oo fine! My mind had a visual and instant snap shot of the AAA Trip-Tik warning that flashed when I posted my route to Las Vegas. The warning that certain South Western states were unusually diligent and aggressive with speed monitoring. A warning I only considered lightly. Of course it didn’t apply to me.
But, there were options. Instead of paying the fine, take an Arizona Defensive Driving School class at $178.00 and also avoid license points. That math I can do in my head. And like everything on Bell Road, the class was within one block of home, and I was scheduled for next Monday from 4:30pm to 10pm. I arrived with a different attitude to the one I left with. Firmly convinced that this was nothing more than a scam to correct depleted township budgets or extra tax revenues, I finally understood that there were things I did not know and needed refreshing since I first held a license; the first of three in three continents and all acquired on the first test.
Our educator, Mary, had a degree and profound background in this particular law, and was not just an administrator nor paper clerk. She was entertaining as well as informative. Upon seeing my violation snap, she remarked … “Hey, cute car. Great color. No wondered they saw you!“. My response, “Yup. Great picture. Poor circumstance“. She brought me up to speed on traffic law and I reciprocated with advise on the best dishwasher replacement. A fair exchange.
In the first test, question, #28. “In a dust storm, what is the best thing to do?” No clue. (Bet that doesn’t appear on a test in New Jersey though). And other insights. I did not know that a right-turn-on-a-red-light required a complete stop. Nor that the legal limit to blood alcohol level was .08 or what actually constituted too much consumption. That school zone signs were uniquely a house-shaped, pentagon. That you are not required to stop after witnessing an accident in this state or that only eye protection and not helmets are required for motorcyclists. I also discovered that I was more innocent that I had thought. (Big news to me). I had to ask, under the list of intoxicants, what “vapors” were? Apparently, anything sniffed. Like glue and even Sharpie pens. (Yes, someone giggled in the back of the class). Or the meaning of the word Synergism? I thought … moving together or in harmony. No. It means mixing intoxicants such as medication and alcohol or drugs and alcohol. Who knew?
Did you know that the correct hand-on-wheel position is now “9 o’clock and 3 o’clock” and not “10 o’clock and 2 o’clock“? Or why? Because a modern car with a deployed air bag will have your own fists knocking your eyes out. And the answer to question #28? “In a dust storm, pull off the road, turn off all lights and keep your foot off the brake pedal and thus extinguishing your tail lights”. Why? Because folks have a habit of following any light that they see and they will find you … in the most unpleasant way. Again, who knew?