Let Inga Tell You: The ultimate California driver’s test

This is the street sign for a roundabout, which Inga says "are confusing and terrifying to just about everyone."

Despite five decades of clean driving records, Olof and I were required to take a written test to renew our driver’s licenses, since we’re over 70.

Lifelong Type A students, we took some 40 practice exams just to make sure we didn’t fail by missing one of those trick questions the DMV is famous for.

I think I can save readers a lot of trouble and just sum it up in one all-encompassing test. Pass this and you’re good to go:

1. At a stop sign with at least a little bit of visibility on either side, you should:

(a) Quickly glance both ways then increase speed and blow through it.

(b) Forget the glancing and just blow through it.

(c) Realize that “STOP” means “Slow To Observe Police.”

2. You are stuck behind a geezer driving the speed limit on a two-lane road where passing on the left is prohibited. You:

(a) Pass him on the right hoping to nudge him into oncoming traffic.

(b) Wait for the next ravine and make your move.

(c) Old people should be put on ice floes and sent out to sea.

3. As the light turns green, a blind person with a service dog is crossing in front of you. You:

(a) Honk and proceed (the dog needs to learn to walk faster).

(b) Assume the guy bought the cane and the dog’s vest on Amazon and is faking.

(c) Should make a donation to the Humane Society in the dog’s name if you were wrong.

4. With a Class C driver’s license, a person may drive:

(a) A two-axle vehicle if the gross vehicular weight is less than 6,000 pounds and you are towing a horse trailer.

(b) A two-axle vehicle if the gross vehicular weight is more than 6,000 pounds but the horse trailer contains goats.

(c) No one, including the DMV, actually knows what a Class C driver’s license is.

Any similarity between the California Driver Handbook and Inga's California driver’s test is ... not going to happen.

5. You do not have to signal a left turn:

(a) If one hand is occupied with the wheel and the other with your cellphone.

(b) If you drive a black SUV.

(c) Because it’s nobody’s business which direction you’re turning.

6. Children who say “Are we there yet?” more than 10 times may be:

(a) Left by the side of the road.

(b) Given phenobarbital.

(c) Addressed in a tone that is not our “inside voice.”

7. Hitting a tree at 80 mph while intoxicated:

(a) Is most damaging to deciduous varieties and ornamentals.

(b) Makes a moot point of the whole 400-feet-to-stop thing.

(c) May require your estate to replace the tree.

8. The yellow light in a traffic signal:

(a) Means “Speed up or you’ll miss the light!”

(b) Is also known as a “pink” light if the light has already turned red when you go through it.

(c) All of the above

9. Alcohol concentration in the blood is legally described as:

(a) A “buzz”

(b) “Hammered”

(c) “Basted”

10. Just before a train hits your car that is stalled on the railroad tracks, your last words are:

(a) #@%^**^&!

(b) @(&^%$$%!!

(c) &$#@###*&%!!!

11. You must stop at railroad tracks when the bell sounds and the gate goes down:

(a) If you actually have time to wait for a whole freight train to go by.

(b) Unless you think there is room to get around the gate before the train gets there.

(c) This question should have been before the last one.

12. If you park your vehicle in an area not usually used for parking:

(a) It usually means it is a primo make-out area.

(b) You have no memory after that 10th Jell-o shot how you got your car on top of that storage shed.

(c) You think the parking control people are too rigid in their definition of “sidewalk.”

13. State law requires children to be restrained in an approved car seat until:

(a) The square root of their age plus the reciprocal of their weight.

(b) The square root of their weight minus the reciprocal of their height.

(c) They whine so loud that you can’t stand it.

14. When using a roundabout, drivers should:

(a) Be prepared to get sucked into a vortex from which they’ll never escape.

(b) Petition your Congress person to outlaw roundabouts, which are confusing and terrifying to just about everyone.

(c) Just drive over the median on the smaller ones.

15. It is OK to smoke in a car with passengers younger than 16 if:

(a) The kids are not coughing violently.

(b) You can still see out the windshield.

(c) It really depends on what you’re smoking (wink wink).

16. You can make a U-turn in the middle of a block when:

(a) You see a prime parking spot on the other side of the street.

(b) You spot a Taco Bell advertising a two-for-one chalupa special.

(c) Police officers pursuing you have put up a road block ahead.

17. The best mindset toward other drivers when navigating California’s roadways is:

(a) It’s all about me.

(b) It’s only about me.

(c) Move over.

Inga’s lighthearted looks at life appear regularly in the La Jolla Light. Reach her at ◆