Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Where Left is Not Right

I got my US license in April after almost a month of driving. And within the first couple of weeks of getting my license, I managed to get my first ticket.

It was 6 am and I assure you folks I was fully awake. I had an overwhelming day ahead filled with meetings in San Francisco. I was to leave my car, considering my driving skills in US, in my senior colleague’s house, which is two miles away from mine, and to go in his car from there.

From Alvarado Boulevard, a road with reasonable traffic though empty at that hour, I turned left into Lowry. For almost 12 years before coming to US, I have driven in India where vehicles are driven on the left side of the road. Lowry too was empty and does not have a divider in the middle to separate the lanes. I, by habit and already thinking about the meetings, turned into the left side of the road. I was later on told by my US friends and colleagues that all of them had done this in the past, but then you are wrong only if you get caught. And like the rabbit that was unlucky and was killed for its foot, inspite of having more than one rabbit’s foot, I was unlucky too.

A cop was coming from the opposite direction in Alvarado Boulevard and he turned into Lowry behind me with his lights on. I, not realizing the mistake, drove on for about 15-20 seconds thinking about the day ahead, before I noticed the cop’s car on my right side (the ‘correct’ lane, by the way). My first reaction was to look for a vehicle ahead that the cop might be chasing. Not finding one, I looked at the cop’s car again in my rear view mirror to if he had his lights on. And at that moment, to my horror, it dawned on me that it was me whom he was chasing. And guess what, I am driving on the wrong side of the road!

By then I had reached the turn to my colleague’s house. I turned right into Larkway and kept to the right side (the ‘correct’ lane) of the road this time. I ‘hopelessly’ hoped that the cop would not be chasing me or that he would leave me seeing that I am on the right lane this time. But he came right behind me and stopped after I had stopped in front of my colleague’s house.

I stayed in the car and rolled down the windows, as I was well informed about the process thanks to my colleagues. The cop came up to me and asked in a polite tone whether I realized why I was pulled up. On my admittance that I knew, his tone changed to surprise as he asked why I did that. And when I replied that I am from India where we drive on the left side and that I was new to US, his tone changed to amusement when he replied that I could do that in India or even in UK but not in US. He told me that it was dangerous driving and it could have resulted in a head-on collision with a vehicle on the left lane that would not have expected me to enter that lane.

He took my licence and the registration/insurance of the car. He went back to his car and for the next 15 minutes was on his comp and cell, busy talking and keying away. I guess he was checking the information on the registration and licence. He came back, handed back the documents, showed me a slip which he said was not an acknowledgement of the mistake and wanted me to sign. I signed without reading as I wanted to get away as soon as I could. And the cop went his way.

My colleague, during the most part of our drive to San Francisco, admitted that he had done more mistakes in the first few months of driving in US (but he “did not get caught”!) and narrated incidents where he was caught, thinking it would make me feel better. But I felt miserable throughout the day and also the following few days, whenever I thought about it.

I received a notice by post after couple of weeks and had to go to the Court and pay a fine of $188. I also have agreed to take a driving class to avoid the points to get onto my licence.

Moral of the story – In US, right is right and 'left' is always wrong. Ask a Chinese or a Russian!


Anonymous said...

"When thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth - Matthew 6:3"

But Salil this is very right, looking for more.

Salil said...

Thank you for passing by.
Ahem ahem.. what is with 'alms'? Just for the records, the 'fine' wasn't a donation :-)
But I guess you are RIGHT :-)

Unknown said...

Qua thực tế và nhiều chuyên gia đã chứng minh, dùng dầu dừa dưỡng tóc là liệu pháp chăm sóc tóc tốt mang lại hiệu quả rất cao, đặc biệt là đối với tóc khô và tóc hư tổn. Việc sử dụng dầu dừa đúng phương pháp và đều đặn chắc chắn bạn sẽ sở hữu một mái tóc đẹp.cùng tìm hiểudưỡng tóc óng mượt từ dầu dừa
dưỡng tóc và trị rụng tóc bằng các phương pháp khác nhau. Tìm hiểudầu dừa dưỡng tóc hiệu quả
Dầu dừa ngày càng sử dụng rộng rãi được nhiều người biết đên và hôm nay cùng chúng tôi tìm hiểucách dưỡng tóc hiểu quả bằng dầu dừa
Dầu dừa là một trong những giải pháp tốt nhất cho chị nào đang khổ sở vì chứng rụng tóc hay phải xót xa nhìn từng nhúm tóc lần lượt “ra đi” mỗi ngày. Cùng tìm hiểu cáchdầu dừa dưỡng tóc hiệu quả
Ủ tóc với dầu dừa là một trong những biện pháp làm đẹp được chị em phụ nữ thực hiện khá nhiều hiện nay. Đây cũng là biện pháp chăm sóc tóc đắt khách của các trung tâm làm đẹp tìm hiểucach duong toc bang dau dua
Sử dụng dầu dừa là một cách tự nhiên tuyệt vời để làm cho mái tóc của bạn trở nên mềm mại, bồng bềnh và khỏe mạnh cùng tìm hiểu dưỡng tóc với dầu dừa
Lần trước mình đã chia sẻ cùng chị em cách chăm sóc tóc bằng dầu ô-liu, hôm nay mình vừa tìm ra một phương pháp chăm sóc tóc cũng hữu hiệu không kém nên tiếp tục giới thiệu đến các bạn. Đó chính là dầu dừa. Tìm hiểu làm đẹp bằng dầu dừa
Dầu dừa ngày càng sử dụng rộng rãi được nhiều người biết đên và hôm nay cùng chúng tôi tìm hiểutrị rụng tóc bằng dầu dừa
. Tìm hiểu cách trị rụng tóc với dầu dừa
Sử dụng dầu dừa là một cách tự nhiên tuyệt vời để làm cho mái tóc của bạn trở nên mềm mại, bồng bềnh và khỏe mạnh cùng tìm hiểu cách phương pháp dưỡng tóc với dầu dừa