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Well, it's getting to be that time of year again ... I live in a place which seems to be a mecca for visitors every winter (mainly because our winters are gorgeous), but while they are decked out with ugly shorts, black socks and a gold card, they all seem to leave their driving skills back home.

I refer to "snowbirds," the primarily older, definitely confused tourists who infect our fair city beginning about October and don't leave until the temperature starts its climb to the triple digits.

These people, while probably well-meaning, are a menace. They ignore posted speed limits -- erring on the side of slower, for some reason, and typically right in front of me -- try to make left turns from the center lane, and stop in the middle of the road to consult their maps. And if you think I 'm making this up, come and see for yourself. I have witnessed every form of driving stupidity in my 5 years here, but I have little doubt I will be forced to watch one more Iowa plate try to force me into the canal because the concept of "2 left turn lanes" has not yet penetrated the Midwest.

(A friend recently told me what "Iowa" means on license plates -- "I'm Out, Wandering Around")

Now, I am justifiably proud of my driving. I have never had an at-fault accident & I stopped getting tickets around the time I realized what a boon radar detectors are. But I am in a sad minority. I am the kind of person who, when driving to a strange place, actually consults the map before I get in my car. If I miss my turn, I see absolutely no reason to stop in the middle of the street to make an illegal turn, thereby clogging the road behind me. (I guess the concept of finding the next left turn lane has also not reached the unwashed masses.)

This is not to say that all out-of-town drivers are bad ... but they're an overwhelming majority.

Take the car with Nebraska plates ... driving down the main street in our city, passes his right turn. Realizes it halfway through the intersection. Stops the car. Puts it in reverse. The madness continues ...

You want to know what I think? I think that where, when and how fast one is allowed to drive ought to be based on skill, not the fact that one has $12 and 2 forms of picture ID. I'm not sure how you would regulate this, but perhaps some sort of transmitter in your car that tells the local law that you have every right to drive 90 up Main Street, because you took an actual driving test that proved you have the skill.

I mean, I trust myself more going 90 than I trust most people going 45. (I think it might have something to do with the fact that I -- what a concept -- pay attention.) I deserve to be able to drive in the manner I choose ...

Hey, it could happen ... line intelligence . language . religion . driving . death . diversity . courtesy . losing things . spring . chatters . intelligence ... again line