Quillen’s Corner – March 2009

Although I have been pulled over a few times in the past dozen years, no traffic tickets have resulted from these meetings with the constabulary. Thus I have been able to renew my driver’s license by mail, without the hassle of taking the test to determine whether I still know the rules of the road.

That is probably just as well, because after driving in Central Colorado, especially Salida, for the past 30-odd years, I’ve acquired a different set of rules than those found in the official driving manual put out by the state. And people who drive around here without knowing the local rules are annoying at best, and perhaps even dangerous. So here’s a test on the informal local rules.

1) Three of the four positions at a four-way stop sign are occupied. Which one should go first?

A. The one on the right.

B. The one that got there first.

C. The one that another driver waves across.

D. The first one to edge into the intersection.

2) When two drivers, going in opposite directions, stop to chat with each other, and you are behind one of them, what should you do?

A. Stop and honk your horn impatiently.

B. Use your cell phone to call the police to report this impediment of traffic.

C. Ease around to the side if possible.

D. See if you know one or both of the talkers, and if the weather’s nice, stop and walk over to join the conversation.

3) Out on the highway, a sign that says “SPEED LIMIT 60 MPH” means:

A. You should not exceed 60 miles per hour.

B. You should try to maintain a speed of 60 mph.

C. You should drive at least 40 mph.

D. Absolutely nothing if you’re on Highway 17 between Villa Grove and Alamosa, or U.S. 285 between Antero Junction and Fairplay.

4) You see a car approaching with its left turn signal blinking. This indicates that

A. The driver intends to turn left soon.

B. The driver intends to turn right, but tripped the lever the wrong way.

C. The driver has already made the left turn but the signal was not canceled.

D. The driver will go straight, turn left, turn right, or pull a U-turn.

5) The best way to parallel park is to

A. Pull up next to the car in front, about 1 foot out and 3/4 of the car length, turn the steering wheel hard right, back till you almost hit the car in back, then straighten the wheel and pull forward into the space.

B. Drive till you see an opening that is at least two spaces long, so you can just pull in.

C. Look for an open spot that’s at an interesection or alley opening, so you can easily back in.

D. Drive a pickup with big tires, so you can angle in forward, hop the curb, then settle into your spot.

6) An electric sign next to the highway advises you to “Watch for ocks on the road.” What does this mean?

A. That there’s a steer loose up ahead, and nobody at the Colorado Department of Transportation knows how to spell “ox.”

B. Some electrical malfunction has occurred and they really mean you should watch for “pocks” in the road, as chuckholes are abundant this season.

C. Who cares? It’s not as if anyone ever pays attention to these signs anyway.

D. They mean “rocks” in the road, but given our terrain, there can always be rocks in the road, so why do they need to tell you what you already know?

7) Nature calls as you cruise along a mountain road. You should

A. Keep driving until you find a rest area.

B. Keep driving until you find a convenience store with public restrooms.

C. Pull over at the next wide space and discreetly relieve yourself.

D. Keep driving until you reach the top of a pass, and relieve yourself there. It counts extra if you’re on the Great Divide.

8) You see a road-kill deer in the highway. You should

A. Swerve around it.

B. Stop, and pull it off the road.

C. Report it to the State Patrol or Division of Wildlife when you get a chance.

D. Check it for freshness, and take the meat home if it’s edible.

9) You’re driving along at a leisurely pace, enjoying the beauty of the mountains. You notice a line of cars building behind you. You should

A. Speed up so as not to impede them.

B. Pull over and let the by, then resume at your comfortable speed.

C. Slow down so it’s easier for them to pass you.

D. Ignore them. Their desire for haste is their problem, not yours.

10) Which of the following is illegal to do while driving?

A. Chat on a cell phone.

B. Fish for a cigarette that fell onto the floorboard, causing noxious fumes as something else starts burning.

C. Attempt to find a station on a modern car radio whose controls are incomprehensible even when you’re sitting still with the manual in hand.

D. Stare at an abandoned mine on the hillside, instead of watching the road.

ANSWERS: If you live in Central Colorado, you already know them. If you don’t, then it doesn’t matter, since you’ve doubtless got your own rules in your part of the world.

Ed Quillen, former co-owner of Colorado Central, is the master of Bodie the dog, who is reportedly pleased with the extra walk time he now receives. His cats? Not so pleased, as their warm laser printer no longer runs nearly enough.