There's a difference between driving in Uganda and driving in Nebraska.
But, I wouldn't know a whole lot about it because I didn't drive in Uganda. However, because I'm a renowned back-seat, passenger, any-seat-in-the-car driver, I feel like I learned the ways of driving in Uganda. Either that or I just completely forgot how to drive.
I used to love driving, but prior to this week I was afraid the last year had stripped me of my will to drive. Up until Monday, I was driving old farm vehicles. Vehicles that had minor parts missing or major parts going out. Vehicles that prevented me from driving fast, being distracted or multitasking while driving because it simply wasn't an option. But, Monday I bought a new car. Used, but new to me. And, it's fun. It's fun to drive. It accelerates - quickly. It's sporty. It has a nice radio, a sunroof, and way too many gadgets for me to dink around with while I'm driving. It's a distraction haven.
In Uganda I didn't realize it, but living in America, I'm so aware of how low my multitasking ability has become. It's actually frustrating. I used to be the best distracted multi-functioning driver in the state. It's gone.
And, you know how I know for sure? Four hours after getting my new car I hit a raccoon. The next day, I'm back in one of the old farm trucks and you know what happens? I get pulled over. I've joked with my friend Layne before about how funny it would be to get a speeding ticket in that truck because of how ridiculous it would be. I mean the truck runs well once you get it started, but very rarely do I ever reach the actual speed limit! I'm the old farmer driving in the fast lane, going ten miles below the speed limit, acting like I'm taking in the scenery, when really my truck just won't go any faster. Yet, I manage to get pulled over.
I was driving 47 mph in a 35 zone, looking at my phone, unaware of my surroundings and thinking about how quickly I could make it to my sister's softball game. I glanced up as I passed the officer. For a split second we made eye contact, and I swear I saw the disappointment in his eyes. I looked at my speedometer, and thinking the speed limit was probably around 45 mph, thought I was safe. Until the red, white and blue flashing lights came on behind me. It was in this moment that I realized how totally and completely out of the habit I am at reading road signs, spotting for police, and hitting the brakes. So, I pulled over into the turning lane to get off the road and said a little prayer that my brake lights and turn signals were working. As I drove into the gas station parking lot, the officer gets on his loud speaker and politely tells me to please pull behind the building. As if the produce truck alone doesn't get enough attention...
Fifteen minutes later and I'm off with a warning. I'll take my lucky break. However, I'm seriously considering submitting my license before I do anything terribly stupid in my new car.
When in America, it's not okay to:
- Overtake vehicles at any split opening in traffic
- Fit as many bodies in the car as it will hold
- Ride side-saddle on motorcyles
- Drive on the left side of the road
But you probably should
- Yield to pedestrians
- Wear a seat belt
- Pay attention to street signs and read them
- Follow traffic signals (turns out there are consequences if you don't and even hidden cameras to catch you in the act!)
That's all I remember for now about driving, so do yourself a favor and steer clear of any unlicensed Mazdas you see on the streets of Omaha for the next month.