Honolulu Lite

Charles Memminger

New ‘Lite’ guide will put
the fear of driving in you

Regular readers will recall that last week I began compiling a defensive driving manual called the "'Honolulu Lite' Guide to Surviving Hawaii's Highways and Byways (Without Resorting to Gunplay)." The guide is needed because the current official driver's manual does not contain truly relevant information.

The official manual, for instance, tells you what to do at railroad tracks (answer: Check your Global Positioning System gizmo because you've apparently left the state), but it doesn't tell you that the lady ahead of you with her right-turn blinker on intends to turn left as soon as you try to pass her.

Being a defensive driver is not enough in Hawaii. As I pointed out last week, to survive Hawaii's roads you need to be paranoid to a nearly psychotic degree. In fact, it is imperative to be filled with a sense of impending doom while driving. The "Honolulu Lite" driving guide is being designed to put you in that necessary state of mind.

Here are some of the latest entries:

>> A pedestrian is a person on foot or who uses a conveyance such as roller skates, skateboards, scooters, etc., to make your driving life miserable. Young pedestrians will walk as slowly as possible through intersection crosswalks to provoke your maximum displeasure, while elderly pedestrians will sprint like the devil to get safely to the other side.

>> When approaching an intersection with four-way stop signs, slow down and be prepared to spend the rest of your life there. Four-way stops were designed by Department of Motor Vehicle engineers with a sick sense of humor. Drivers at a four-way stop are expected to behave in a courteous, self-sacrificing way, which is why four-way stops are often the scenes of four-way head-on collisions.

>> Speed limits are another fiction perpetrated by DMV operatives and designed merely to generate revenue for the state. Speed-limit signs are installed by sight-impaired road crews who have no idea what numbers are printed on the signs. That is why the speed limits rarely have any rational relationship to the roadways they adorn.

>> Roadway lane makers. There are several types of roadway lane markers designed to provoke a specific act of dangerous driving by the people you share the road with. Solid white lines, for instance, allegedly are not to be crossed under any circumstances. Hah. If a solid white line separates you from a driver in the next lane, it won't for long. He will be cutting over to your side while he successfully punches the first three numbers of the telephone number he is dialing on his cellular phone.

Solid yellow lines mean the road crew temporarily ran out of white paint. Those lines are treated with more disdain than white ones.

Broken white lines are ignored by everyone.

Raised circular lane markers are installed on roads within a half-mile in all directions of a Starbucks to assure that you will spill scalding coffee on your crotch when you change lanes.

>> Right turn on red. At most intersections, you are legally able to turn right when the light is red. This, however, will rarely happen because there always will be some idiot one car ahead of you who doesn't know this rule.

(To be continued. Readers' contributions are welcome at

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards, appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. E-mail


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