Almost exactly fifty years ago, my dad took me to the Illinois Secretary of State Driver Testing facility in Joliet so that I could get my driver's license. I passed easily. After all, I had been driving for the previous six months on my learner's permit and had taken driver's ed at our high school. (Do they still do that, or has the Governor cut that out along with music and gym class? Ahh.. the rush to ignorance.) Anyway, to celebrate my passing the exam, my dad took me across the street to Shakey's Pizza. At least I think he was celebrating. He could have just been hungry. I mean, why would my dad be celebrating his sixteen year old son driving the family car? But not to worry, I had my own car. A 1935 Studebaker Commander with a straight eight engine and a four on the floor transmission that could attain the thrilling speed of forty miles per hour. I was free. From the moment I got my license, my ass was nailed to the seat of that car. Forty miles per hour kept me pretty local, but I still managed to put a few thousand miles on the Studebaker.
Now I am sixty six and I have to go get another Illinois driver's license. Mark does too and he is scared. He started to read some of the rules of the road and they seemed a bit difficult. For instance he didn't know how many feet before he had to dim his lights, or just when he was supposed to use his turn signal. Was it a hundred feet before the turn, or two hundred? From the example other Illinois drivers give me, I'd say never. You never have to use your turn signal. You only would use it if you want to confuse another driver before cutting him off.
I have found a nice web site that gives you practice written tests, and I let Mark try it out a few times. He really has nothing to worry about. Most of it is common sense and things that he has been doing for years. You can get seven wrong out of thirty five and still pass. I am pretty sure Mark will pass it, just as long as he remembers that he is not supposed to take his cocktail to go, or use his cell phone while cursing out the window at pedestrians who are in a crosswalk.