After a recent trip to Madison, Wisconsin, my astute observation is that the people in Wisconsin do not know how to drive. Particularly frustrating is watching how they enter a highway from an on ramp. When I took Driver’s Education, admittedly a long time ago, we were taught to accelerate while entering a freeway via the on ramp and then merge with the already moving traffic. In Madison it is the opposite. The traffic on the highway notices a car coming up the on ramp and everyone slows down to a crawl! “Hey everyone, here comes another car, let’s all be really nice, slow down and let them in.”
I’m reminded of the cartoon called Goofy Gophers. These two gophers, Mac and Tosh, are overly polite and even when being chased by the villain, usually a dog; they risk their lives in formalities. As the dog is almost ready to overtake them, they stop at the gopher hole, their avenue to safety and the dialogue begins. “You first, my dear,” Mac says with a slight bow. Tosh politely responds, “No, no, no. It must be you who goes first!” Meanwhile the dog draws ever closer. Mac replies, “Indubitably” as they both jump into the gopher hole, just out of the slobbering animal’s reach. They were funny. The traffic in Madison isn’t.
While on my way south, heading home, I saw something that I had never seen in my life, not once but twice. Cruising down the interstate I glanced over to my right and noticed a lineup of cars on the ramp, waiting to enter the highway. In the front car was someone who had completely stopped and was craning their neck sharply to the left, trying to see if there would be an opening in the traffic flying by at seventy miles per hour. I laughed out loud. I said to myself, “Only in Wisconsin.” A few miles later I crossed the border and not long after entering Illinois I saw the same scenario repeated before my incredulous eyes. Two times in one day! Wow! I suppose that because it was so close to the border, the second person stopped on the ramp could have been raised in Wisconsin. Or they could have attended the same Driver’s Education course.
My favorite part of the Driver’s Ed class was the open road driving. I had gained plenty of practice since all of my friends were driving long before I was and they let me practice on the back roads; varoom! When it came time for the “How to enter a freeway” part of the course, I soon discovered that they must have designed this particular training just for me. As the instructor said, “Floor it!” I at first hesitated, thinking that he couldn’t mean what he just said. At the second command, “Hit the gas!” I jammed my foot down and all heads in the car were pinned to the back of their seats as we sailed up the ramp. I would never have to be told to “hit the gas” again. Maybe they don’t have Driver’s Ed in Wisconsin.