Myths and Legends of Driving

Part II

Parallel Parking is on the Driving Test

Imagine the looks on the faces of those people sitting on the ledge

Parallel parking hasn’t been a requirement on the Virginia driving test since the late 1970’s. We get a ton of calls from people worried that they won’t pass the DMV Road test because they never learned to parallel park. They are stunned when we tell them that it’s not a requirement.

The Virginia DMV Road Test consists of backing out of a parking spot, driving around the block. Usually making a right and left turn and then returning to the DMV and safely parking in a designated spot. That’s it. There is nothing too complicated. I’m fairly confident that at least one scientist is fairly confident that a monkey could be trained to pass the driving test; and not even one of those super smart monkeys that knows sign language.

Driving Barefoot is Illegal

No one can see your pedicure in the floorboard, just an FYI

This is a myth. You can drive in whatever shoes, or lack thereof, that you want. The DMV and the Commonwealth do try to discourage this practice as it’s somewhat easier for your foot to slip off the pedal without a shoe; but it’s completely legal. However, please note that when taking the road test at DMV, you are required to wear shoes. Even flip flops or sandals are not allowed for a road test. Sorry, you’ll have to wait to show off your new pair of Birkenstocks.

We aren’t suggesting that you take off your shoes and socks to give it a go, however, ladies know that driving in clogs is really hard. In many cases, it may be safer to remove the 5 inch stilettos before driving. It’s hard to stay mentally alert when you’re battling with a shoe that’s two sizes too small and cutting into the back of your heel. Either way, not wearing the shoes won’t get you a ticket.

Sandbags In the Back Will Increase Traction

This guy is totally ready to accomplish nothing.

Do you know what a rear wheel drive car is? They’re usually cars with very big engines that can go very fast but don’t do much of anything else. If you’re pretending to be Vin Diesel in Fast and the Furious 189 (Seriously, there are too many of those movies) you may actually be able to increase your traction with sandbags.

The large majority of cars driven on the road today are either front wheel drive or all wheel drive *SHOUT OUT TO THE SUBARU CROWD*. This means that the rear wheels are not the main force that’s keeping traction with the ground or propelling the car forward. It’s a myth because that used to be the way cars functioned. We’ve learned a few things since we stopped producing those cool muscle cars from the 1970’s. Cars are safer and tend to perform better if the front wheel, or all four wheels, keep traction and work together to move you forward. If, as is most likely the case, you are stuck in traffic on I-66, it’s not going to matter which wheels are controlling the car because you aren’t going anywhere; but you can idle assured that you’re much safer in your Mom’s sedan than in anything Vin Diesel is driving.

Your Mom’s sedan will also gain precisely NOTHING from sandbags in the trunk. If you can fit them in the passenger seat you might be able to get away with using the HOV Lane. Don’t actually do that though, an HOV violation gets you 3 demerit points.

I’ll Just Go Around the Funeral Procession

This is one of those times when you have to make time.

Yes, you really do have to stop for a funeral procession. It isn’t a suggestion either, it’s the law in Virginia and most other states as well. Here in the Commonwealth, you can earn yourself a whopping 4 demerit points for going through, disrupting or joining a funeral procession.

We’ve all thought about it, because it seems like the only time someone ever decides to hold a funeral is precisely when we are on the road in a terrible hurry. In the immortal words of Buford T. Justice, “You can think about it, but don’t do it.”

According to the law, you have to yield right of way to a funeral procession. The correct thing to do is sit and wait for it to go by, hoping that the deceased wasn’t very popular.

Not Wearing a Seat Belt is just a Secondary Offense

A cop can write you as many tickets as you’re thought to deserve. There is no upper limit.

Many people think that a police officer can give you a ticket for not wearing a seat belt, ONLY if you were pulled over for something else first (Ex: speeding, failure to stop, etc.). That means it would be a secondary offense. Yes, this used to be the case some years ago in Virginia. However, that has changed.

Nowadays, you can get pulled over and issued a ticket for not wearing a seat belt as a sole or PRIMARY offense. Meaning you could do nothing else wrong and get a ticket just for not buckling up! Imagine driving along the road and obeying all the traffic laws, following every traffic sign, not speeding, not texting, being courteous to other drivers like a true angel, etc.. but then you get pulled over and the officer says, “Hey stupid, snap out of your fantasy! Why aren’t you wearing your seat belt?” You try to argue back, “But Officer, I was doing everything else right…” We can just stop right there. Good luck winning that argument. It’s the law, it can save your life, be smart and buckle up!