The World's Dumbest Traffic School

Virgil Hilts
by Virgil Hilts
the world s dumbest traffic school

I drive around 30,000 miles a year and so it is inevitable that I occasionally get stopped for speeding. Thanks to taking “Traffic Safety” schools that allow scofflaws like me to avoid having the infraction appear on my driving record, I have a spotless history: numerous arrests, no convictions.

A few weeks ago I blundered into a small-town speed trap while going 67 mph in a 50 mph zone, ignoring a radar detector signal that I wrongly assumed was false. Throw in the fact that it was at night and that I was in unfamiliar territory meant I absolutely deserved getting pulled over.

Little did I know that the online ticket-beating traffic school I chose to attend had a curriculum written for 10 year olds.

The name of the school and the municipality shall remain anonymous, as my ticket has yet to be officially dismissed. The bizarre course was written at grade-school level, perhaps because I live in California where we give driver’s licenses to anyone who can fog a mirror, a group soon to include undocumented immigrants.

Here are a few of the gems of knowledge I gleaned from this primer:

  • Driving an automobile has been a way of life since the automobile was invented in the early 1900’s.
  • Driving in reverse presents its own risks and dangers. In fact, statistics point out that backing up accounts for almost 25% to 30% of road accidents across the country.
  • All cars in the United States should head towards their destination on the right side of the road.
  • Sidewalks are paved areas on the side of the road reserved ONLY for pedestrians. You must never drive on the sidewalk unless when entering a driveway or a street alley.
  • Passing is any driving maneuver where you pass ahead of the vehicle in front of you. This is a very useful and common technique if you are traveling at a faster speed than the car ahead of you.
  • If you have looked into a cars speedometer, you will notice that many are capable of going well beyond 100 mph. Car manufacturers certainly drum up the maximum speed when advertising new vehicles. Sometimes, this is even the main selling point of a car.
  • Highways are public roads which generally connect major cities with other suburban and rural destinations. They transport many people and vehicles to their designations quickly…Freeways are larger roads, which are characterized by having multiple lanes and they allow faster driving. In fact, large freeways can have as many as 16 lanes!

See Dick drive. Drive, Dick, drive!

The course also inexplicably threw in passages on each page from, such as:

  • “Every politician should have been born an orphan and remain a bachelor.”

    – Lady Bird Johnson

I highly doubt the target audience understood any of them.

A few years ago I was caught speeding in a city where they required your penance to be eight hours in a classroom with an instructor. Our teacher was hilarious, opening by making the point that had we been paying attention, we would be better drivers and would have spotted the cop before he spotted us. He cited real world situations and managed to hold our attention all day.

This worthless class cost me $199 and four hours of my life that I can never get back. Next time I just might take a live course again instead of an on-line version.

Join the conversation
3 of 179 comments
  • Thirty-three Thirty-three on Apr 04, 2014

    My neighbor needs to take this course. He parked his truck on my front walkway over the weekend. Make it kind of hard to get into my house. The walkway runs between our houses, and is about 1/2 foot wider than his truck.

    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Apr 04, 2014

      Sounds like a weekend a couple years ago where my neighbor's daughter (who was renting the place from her mother) backed her Envoy SUV into the garage (common garage shared among all four units in my condominium building) much further back than she should have; she was likely well "into her cups" at the time! Mine and my other neighbor's garage access door were blocked! Had to walk out my front door and around to the garage to get to my own car! Oddly, banging on the door by both my neighbor and I didn't roust her to get her to move the damn thing -- she may have slept the whole weekend away! Almost called a tow company to drag the damn thing forward! Transaxle/transfer-case damage would have served her right!

  • NoGoYo NoGoYo on Apr 04, 2014

    Is it normal for driving school to be half parallel parking instruction? Because, well, that's what mine was...and even with all the parallel parking practice, I STILL failed the parallel parking part of the test on the first try!

  • Donald More stuff to break god I love having a nanny in my truck... find a good tuner and you can remove most of the stupid stuff they add like this and auto park when the doors open stupid stuff like that
  • John Williams Sounds like a Burnout Special you can put together on any 5.0 F150. Whoever said this was Cars and Coffee bait is right on the money.
  • ToolGuy Question: F-150 FP700 (  Bronze or  Black) supercharger kit is legal in 50 states, while the  Mustang supercharger kit is banned in California -- why??
  • Scott "It may not be the ideal hauler to take the clan cross-country to Wally World considering range anxiety "Range Anxiety is a chosen term that conceals as much as it discloses. You don't care about range that much if you can recharge quickly and current BV's (battery vehicles) can't, no matter how good the chargers are. From what I've been reading it is likely that within 5 years there will be batteries in cars, most likely Tesla's, that can charge fast enough with no harm to the batteries to satisfy all of us with no need to increase range beyond a real world 300-ish miles.And that's when I buy one.
  • Charles I had one and loved it . Seated 7 people . Easy to park , great van