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Thread: xkcd

  1. - Top - End - #361
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    The worst part about parallel parking is that inevitably, another driver behind you will run up right to your back bumper and then sit there infuriated at you while you try to back up to get into the spot and not hit their car at the same time.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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  2. - Top - End - #362
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    The worst part about parallel parking is that inevitably, another driver behind you will run up right to your back bumper and then sit there infuriated at you while you try to back up to get into the spot and not hit their car at the same time.
    I don't understand why anybody thought parallel parking should be a thing we try to accommodate. Yeah, it can be a useful skill, but don't actually design parking spots with trying to make people do that in mind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    I don't understand why anybody thought parallel parking should be a thing we try to accommodate. Yeah, it can be a useful skill, but don't actually design parking spots with trying to make people do that in mind.
    Sadly, a lot of developed areas end up either by age (built up before lots of cars) or poor design (parking lots don't make money, more space to rent out does) don't have room for any other kind of parking.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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  4. - Top - End - #364
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5a Violista View Post
    On the other hand, I had to learn those maneuvers, regularly use the parallel-parking one, and I'd have failed my driving test in the US if I didn't know how to do those maneuvers.

    It seems like driving test requirements vary greatly depending on location in the US.
    There is a rumour/urban legend that some small towns of the empty bits of the US don't even have driving tests. That you show up to the local Sheriff's office, ask for it, pay the fee, get a lecture on being careful (and how he knows your parents) and that's it.

    Whether this is true, or even if it ever was, I cannot say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    There is a rumour/urban legend that some small towns of the empty bits of the US don't even have driving tests. That you show up to the local Sheriff's office, ask for it, pay the fee, get a lecture on being careful (and how he knows your parents) and that's it.

    Whether this is true, or even if it ever was, I cannot say.

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    That sounds a bit out there. Most states are required to follow licensing procedures, thanks to Federal DHS and DOT requirements.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Nobody has the time to drive two hours to the nearest city just so you can spend even more time showing off to some official that you've been competently driving a pickup since you were 14.
    Why is it impossible for a small town to have its own driving test centre? Is there some rule saying they can only be in cities?

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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Why is it impossible for a small town to have its own driving test centre? Is there some rule saying they can only be in cities?
    I don't have time to do research on it, but I am fairly certain that most US states have a minimum of 1 DMV office per county, probably more for geographically large counties. As such, if it is 2 hours to the nearest city, you probably can accomplish most of the DMV-ish stuff in a closer town. Possibly the most remote place in the US is Pie Town, New Mexico, which is almost 2 hours from the nearest DMV (though the time changes by about half an hour depending on which of the 3 closest offices you go to). At the same time, I am fairly certain that the closest grocery store is also about 2 hours away (and is in the same town as one of the DMVs). I don't know what New Mexico does for testing, so there might be somebody who can give the test much closer to Pie Town.
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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Why is it impossible for a small town to have its own driving test centre? Is there some rule saying they can only be in cities?
    Money, generally. A small town isn't going to have enough people to make it worth the cost of having its own dedicated driving test centre.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEO|Phyte View Post
    Money, generally. A small town isn't going to have enough people to make it worth the cost of having its own dedicated driving test centre.
    But if it's 2 hours to the nearest city, all the towns within 1 hour's drive (or thereabouts) of the small town will go there too, so it's not just the population of the town itself to think about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    But if it's 2 hours to the nearest city, all the towns within 1 hour's drive (or thereabouts) of the small town will go there too, so it's not just the population of the town itself to think about.
    Considering that small towns are likely to have lots of businesses that have multiple vehicles, I expect that having a DMV in a smaller town is probably worth the expenses. Even if you only have it open 1 day a week, it would probably get enough use to justify paying someone to drive 2 hours from the nearest city, open the office for 4 hours, and drive 2 hours back. Just because there aren't very many votes in out of the way places doesn't mean that encouraging them to break the law is a good idea.
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    Do DMVs do driver's training in some states?

    Here, the equivalent state agency just administers the tests, and they do include a driving portion for first-time applicants. The most rural parts of the state might have branches an hour or so apart, but the populations just don't justify a branch office in every little village of 100+ people. If anything, they could use more branches or more staff in some of the more populated areas, the lines are chronically ridiculous.

    (And I say that as someone who normally frowns on metro-centric policies.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    The most rural parts of the state might have branches an hour or so apart, but the populations just don't justify a branch office in every little village of 100+ people. If anything, they could use more branches or more staff in some of the more populated areas, the lines are chronically ridiculous.

    (And I say that as someone who normally frowns on metro-centric policies.)
    There is a vast, vast gulf between having enough additional branches that you don't need to drive 2 hours to reach one, and having a separate branch in every little village of 100+ people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    There is a vast, vast gulf between having enough additional branches that you don't need to drive 2 hours to reach one, and having a separate branch in every little village of 100+ people.
    In my example of Pie Town, New Mexico, it is on US 60, and has 3 choices for Motor Vehicle Division offices. There is one about an hour and a half south in Reserve, one an hour and a half north, in Grant, and one an hour and a half east, in Socorro. Of the three, Socorro is the farthest drive, but the quickest (if google is to be believed, my experience is that you need to tack on an extra 10-20 minutes to go through one of the small towns between them).
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    I first got a license in New Jersey, where it was a pretty easy written test and then a short drive. I actually failed that driving test three times (all for new and exciting ways my car was unsuitable - thanks for teaching me my parking brake did nothing, test administrator!), but it didn't prepare me for the road at all to be honest.

    Meanwhile, in Japan, I had to memorize a 53-step process on a course using a stock car, and it was ridiculously strict with things like how far you could crane your neck or the order you did checks before starting the car. Much more stringent, although that, too, had little to do with the reality of driving in Japan, which is mostly a matter of keeping your 1.5m wide car from rolling off the 2m wide, 2-way road and into a rice paddy.

    In both cases I had to go a good distance - about a 40 minute drive in NJ, and about 2 hours in Japan.
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    In MD we have a written test and a closed course test, but there's a prerequisite of taking an instructional course which involves x hours driving with the instructor, and that's to get the learners permit. Then I have to log about 40 hours driving with my parents before I could get the real license.
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    Ah, I'll note that what I went through is for people who already drive (I had been driving in Japan for a year already by that point). Apparently if you want to start from scratch you have to do a far more difficult set of exams and practical tests, and, if I was hearing correctly, pay something like 400000 yen (which is about $3600 right now).
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    Yeah, getting a license in a country that takes it serious is ridiculously expensive... I think all things considered German license might be around the same. And as much as I'm for proper driving training this is a serious issue. Getting a license shouldn't be a luxury.

    Also, regarding the new comic... So, is there a way to name these people? Not that I care much, but I'm still curious.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Claudius Maximus View Post
    Ah, I'll note that what I went through is for people who already drive (I had been driving in Japan for a year already by that point). Apparently if you want to start from scratch you have to do a far more difficult set of exams and practical tests, and, if I was hearing correctly, pay something like 400000 yen (which is about $3600 right now).
    Quote Originally Posted by Kato View Post
    Yeah, getting a license in a country that takes it serious is ridiculously expensive... I think all things considered German license might be around the same. And as much as I'm for proper driving training this is a serious issue. Getting a license shouldn't be a luxury.

    Also, regarding the new comic... So, is there a way to name these people? Not that I care much, but I'm still curious.
    In most countries where it's very hard and very expensive to get a driver's license, it's just lingering elitism, covered with a fig leaf of "public safety".

    And where it's not, it's just plain old technocratic garbage... "No, no, you don't need to drive, that's not how the society we're expertly constructing works. Leave everything to experts that we've certified expertly."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    In most countries where it's very hard and very expensive to get a driver's license, it's just lingering elitism, covered with a fig leaf of "public safety".

    And where it's not, it's just plain old technocratic garbage... "No, no, you don't need to drive, that's not how the society we're expertly constructing works. Leave everything to experts that we've certified expertly."
    Now, that's not entirely fair. There's a noticeable difference in traffic accidents and deaths per capita and per vehicle in countries with stricter rules (and that despite our stupid 'no speed limit on Autobahnen' rules). No offense, but if we gave out licenses as freely regulated as other countries, I think our motorways would be death traps.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kato View Post
    Now, that's not entirely fair. There's a noticeable difference in traffic accidents and deaths per capita and per vehicle in countries with stricter rules (and that despite our stupid 'no speed limit on Autobahnen' rules). No offense, but if we gave out licenses as freely regulated as other countries, I think our motorways would be death traps.
    There is also a noticeable difference in traffic accidents when daylight-savings-time hits and (if memory serves) when nations switch from continental traffic patterns to british traffic patterns (i.e. they swap which side of the road they drive on).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kato View Post
    Now, that's not entirely fair. There's a noticeable difference in traffic accidents and deaths per capita and per vehicle in countries with stricter rules (and that despite our stupid 'no speed limit on Autobahnen' rules).
    It's interesting to note that the road death rate per capita in Mexico (where there is no driving test) is 12.13 per 100,000 per annum, whereas in the USA (where they *do* have a test) it's 10.04...surprising how little difference that makes! Of course, those are leagues higher than Germany (3.54) and the UK (2.58), both of which have quite strict test regimes, so I'm not sure what to make of the raw stats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    It's interesting to note that the road death rate per capita in Mexico (where there is no driving test) is 12.13 per 100,000 per annum, whereas in the USA (where they *do* have a test) it's 10.04...surprising how little difference that makes! Of course, those are leagues higher than Germany (3.54) and the UK (2.58), both of which have quite strict test regimes, so I'm not sure what to make of the raw stats.
    Hm... I find varying information but no comprehensive summary.. States have very different laws but nothing stricter than the simpler US tests, it seems. (i.e. the worst is written test plus simple driving) I'll agree, this is poor evidence for the importance of a stricter test. (also, China apparently has a rather strict test but comparatively high accident rate, though I feel there might be unlicensed driving in the more rural areas)
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    Personally, I suspect that population density and road maintenance would affect accident rates more than the strictness of getting a license. In the US, states have to fund and maintain their roadways on their own for the most part, so if youre in a state that cant or wont put out a lot of money towards that goal like Pennsylvania, you end up with potholes in every roadway. And New York has something like an eighth of the population of Germany crammed into one city (which itself existed before cars were a thing), so im not surprised the US has more traffic accidents.

    I'd be curious to see a breakdown of accidents by region.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Personally, I suspect that population density and road maintenance would affect accident rates more than the strictness of getting a license. In the US, states have to fund and maintain their roadways on their own for the most part, so if youre in a state that cant or wont put out a lot of money towards that goal like Pennsylvania, you end up with potholes in every roadway. And New York has something like an eighth of the population of Germany crammed into one city (which itself existed before cars were a thing), so im not surprised the US has more traffic accidents.
    Cities exist outside the US, you know? Even some quite big ones. (London has fractionally larger population than New York, for example, and it also existed before cars). And the *overall* population density of Germany and the UK are higher than most US states, so if population density was the prime factor, you'd expect our roads to be quite dangerous--which they're not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Cities exist outside the US, you know? Even some quite big ones. (London has fractionally larger population than New York, for example, and it also existed before cars). And the *overall* population density of Germany and the UK are higher than most US states, so if population density was the prime factor, you'd expect our roads to be quite dangerous--which they're not.
    London also covers about twice as much area as New York City.
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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Cities exist outside the US, you know? Even some quite big ones. (London has fractionally larger population than New York, for example, and it also existed before cars). And the *overall* population density of Germany and the UK are higher than most US states, so if population density was the prime factor, you'd expect our roads to be quite dangerous--which they're not.
    Of course, there can be other factors at work also. Houston has an almost total lack of mass transit, especially in the suburbs. That dramatically increases the number of cars on the road, as well as the people who feel they have to drive even if they aren't good at it. And with the total lack of pedestrian culture, the number of drivers goes even higher.

    I'd be curious to see direct comparisons of accidents between the actual cities (i.e. London vs New York) rather than a nationwide figure, because that would eliminate a good few variables.

    Anecdotally, the tests don't seem to help all that much. From my experience of US vs UK driving, the difference in actual skill is pretty minimal. You're less likely to be run down by someone looking at their phone in the UK, but vastly more likely to have someone decide to charge into oncoming traffic to get around a parked car. US drivers are careless, UK drivers are nuts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodin View Post
    You're less likely to be run down by someone looking at their phone in the UK, but vastly more likely to have someone decide to charge into oncoming traffic to get around a parked car. US drivers are careless, UK drivers are nuts.
    I think that depends where in the country you are. Northampton, where I was born, seems to have a far greater proportion of wheel-toting lunatics than Manchester, where I live. Also, driving into oncoming traffic to get round a parked car isn't necessarily a lunatic move--if there's a sufficient gap before any oncoming traffic arrives, or if the person at the head of said oncoming traffic is explicitly letting you pass, it's not so bad.

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    On the size of the city:

    Out here, there is a city with about 8000 people, and a developed area outside the city limits with another 8000 people. (It's technically county).

    Then, about 25 or 30 minutes away, are two major subburbs, each of which has 4000 people.

    The nearest DMV is easily 30 minutes from the main city, and 55/60 from the two subburbs.

    So, even fairly large population areas (about 25K people total) have no local DMV.

    Meanwhile, that nearby DMV? "small", low-density population area that can be best described as ... a community college town?. More than 8K people, but a whole less than our area.
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    Wisconsin has classroom/simulator training, then written test for temps; then behind-the-wheel driving leading to a comprehensive driver's test, usually of no more than a half-hour (if memory serves - it's been a few decades).

    Not sure about Arizona, though.

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