Officially an Oregonian

I had the joy of re-living the age of 15 this week.

I went to take my written driver’s test again. This time, it was so I could become a licensed driver in my new home state.

What’s that? Haven’t I lived here for a while now?


Yes, I have.

For some reason, I wanted to hold on to one of the last bits of proof that I was Pennsylvanian. Or maybe I wanted to make sure this whole Oregon thing would work out and save myself a trip to the DMV. Haha. Looks like we’re staying, so I had to make it official. I also finally realized that even if I traded in my PA plastic for some OR plastic, I still have my accent.  And luckily I met a New Yorker at the DMV who has lived here for 10 years and you knew exactly where she was from as soon as she opened her mouth. Perhaps that will hold true for me. I’d hate to start saying wah-ter instead of wooder. 😉

Of course, all these new license shenanigans meant that I had to read the Oregon Drivers’ Manual. I picked up a copy of the book when I arrived at the DMV – I knew if it was anything like the DMV experiences back in Pennsylvania, I’d have PLENTY of time to study while I waited for my number to be called. Oregon’s DMV didn’t disappoint. I arrived and was handed number 285. They were on 237. I read the whole book, cover to cover – AND had extra time to do the practice test in the back and re-read a few content heavy sections. Woot!

I wanted to share a few gems, because I assume most of you are like me and haven’t recently perused a Drivers’ Manual. Here are the most memorable sections:

1) Road rage.

I know this is a serious issue, and that road rage is very dangerous. However, I am not sure it was a topic when I originally took my written test 22 years ago. (Dear God! Why did I do that math?) It couldn’t have been, because I am quite certain the written definition of a ‘road rager’ would have stuck with me. In Oregon, it is worded as follows: These high-risk drivers climb into a vehicle and may take out their frustrations on anybody at any time. 

Interesting. I had always assumed they became filled with rage upon having a driving ‘offense’ done unto them, you know – another, lesser skilled, moronic driver had slighted them in some way – cutting them off or not allowing them to merge. The definition presented implies that they are already raging upon entering the car. Perhaps they are. I just never thought of it that way.

My next favorite line? Their frustration levels are high and their concern for other motorists is low. Indeed.

But my absolute favorite part is when they list what they call the “symptoms” of road rage (Symptoms! Is this a disease? Can I take an antibiotic and be clear of road rage? Again, I always figured that it was just someone who had a crappy day or had a short fuse.) Road ragers may run stop signs and red lights, make improper and unsafe lane changes, make hand and facial gestures, scream, honk and flash their lights at motorists who are in front of them. Good, fun times to be had by all.

They close it out by asking angry drivers to stay home and give a break to the other drivers.

The whole section was brilliant.

2) Animals.

This section was mostly what I would expect except for the part that says, “Report the incident to local law officials. Do not leave an injured animal to die.” Now, the two animals they had just described were large game animals – namely deer and bears.  And what I typed was the extent of the instruction. So, hypothetically and presuming I am not injured, am I just supposed to stand there next to the bear I hit and cross my fingers that he doesn’t regain strength and come after me in a revenge-filled rage before the police arrive?

I totally hate the idea of leaving an animal – any animal – on the side of the road to die. Especially if I was at fault. Something like that would haunt me. However, I also know I’d be terrified to stay there with it. And I probably wouldn’t be able to avert my eyes which compounds the trauma.

I am now nervous to drive, well … pretty much anywhere around here since we’re surrounded by wilderness. Woot!

3) Slowpoke.

They used the word slowpoke. In writing. As in a slowpoke on a highway can be as dangerous as a speeder.

That’s all.

4) Utility Pole Collision

They advise that you attempt to jump from your car without touching the vehicle and the ground at the same time, and to continue jumping until you are clear of the car and the pole. Dear heavens. My clumsly self would never be able to do that. Ever. The mere thought of me trying to do that is hilarious.

5) Sharrow.

That’s right, sharrow. Don’t know what that is? Me neither. It’s an arrow in a shared lane. Like ‘follow the sharrows, and share your lane with bikes.’ Uh, ok.

I am happy to report I am officially an Oregonian. I passed. Which means that I now have a driver’s license with my weight on it. Seriously. I know all my female family members and friends in Philadelphia are super jealous that their Pennsylvania licenses don’t contain this little information nugget.

And now, since my weight is public knowledge, I am off to have some chips.