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September 11, 2011

Did you ever have one of those conversations which are really just a series of stories going back and forth between you and your interlocutor (a participant in a discussion or conversation…. it’s my new word for this month). Each one of you has a similar story but you intentionally or unintentionally try to top each other.


Although I should have realized it before I began, I found out that I should never try a “top this” contest with Peter. It started out innocently enough when I told Peter about the time Shelley and I were driving on one of our many road trips.  Before the days of GPS she would be the navigator and I would follow her instructions to the letter.  In the course of doing so I became an expert at the U-turn since she often noticed the street that we were to turn on just after we passed it.


This led to a discussion about U-turn’s. Peter said that the way he remembered it from driving school was that you are not allowed to make a U-turn on any street that has a traffic light but aside from that they were always fair game.


I told him that I distinctly remembered my driving instructor explaining that you are always allowed to make a U-turn except when it would make you cross a solid line, or there was a sign prohibiting it, or where there was a cop (pause for effect……) directing traffic.


Since the Highway Safety Code agrees with me, we will go with my driving teachers’ version.


Not to be out done Peter told me of the time when instead of making a U-turn he decided to make a three-point turn using the inside of someone’s driveway as one of his three points.  The owner came rushing out of his house to yell out Peter telling them that it was illegal for him to trespass on his property and to get off immediately.  And of course that’s when Peter’s car ran out of gas.  He pushed it out of the driveway all the while insisting that he had done nothing wrong.


As a matter of fact Peter was right for a change.  As long as you don’t interfere with traffic, pedestrians, or the owner’s immediate use of the driveway, you may use the driveway for a quick turnaround even if it is technically trespassing on private property.


So then I told him about the time my son Dov locked his car keys in his car with the engine running in front of his friends’ driveway.  Thereby earning two tickets, one for leaving his engine running for more than three minutes and the other for blocking a driveway.  Although this event never actually happened…. at least not to Dov I wasn’t going to let Peter know that it had happened to me or get away with having the last word.  Of course I was wrong.


Clearly seeing that he was losing our “top this” contest, he promised that he had once received a ticket for backing up about a meter on entry ramp to the Highway because he noticed that the Highway was clogged by traffic and changed his mind about wanting to get on.


I didn’t believe him.  I couldn’t imagine that such an offense existed until I read section 416 of the Highway safety code which reads as follows:


In no case may the driver of a road vehicle drive his vehicle in reverse on a limited access highway or on an entrance or exit ramp.


I had to admit that Peter won.


Due to circumstances beyond my control I’ve been advised that this will be my last column in this paper. If you want to read more I suggest you buy my book Steering You Right Greatest Stories available at Chapters, Coles, Indigo and on my web site


I enjoyed sharing my family stories with you as well as those of my good friend Peter and all the other characters that have populated this column for the past 11 years. I hope you had a laugh or two at Peter’s experiences and if you accidentally learned something that will save you from getting a ticket in the future…. well that’s all right too.


Thank you for all your positive feedback and support.

Jordan W. Charness






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