I had some limited car-driving experience in India. I knew that in Canada, traffic rules are actually followed, unlike in India, where the only rule is, “Don’t get yourself killed.” So obviously I tried to “do in Rome as the Romans do”. I was very cautious with my speed, following road signs, yielding to pedestrians etc. About two years passed driving like this. Just one speeding ticket and maybe a few car honks. Not too bad for a new driver, I thought. Life was beautiful! I became more confident and relaxed on the roads.
Then one day, I got called by the Calgary Police Department. I was told to come and meet them at the police station. I was horrified! Apparently, my offence was “hit and run”. Before you block this blog thinking I’m a vicious criminal, let me explain: The previous day, as I was reversing my car to come out of a tight parking lot, my back bumper touched (yes, it only “touched”) the front of another parked vehicle. I did not think it was a big deal (or damage) at all. But apparently it was and I was supposed to leave a note on that vehicle with my name and phone number and all. If you don’t do that, it is considered a “hit and run” and it costs you five demerit points on your driver’s license (plus a huge fine). Huh. That was something the Driving Rules book did not cover. Argh!! Too bad this was not India where I could just hand the cop 500 rupees or simply tell him that my dad is a government medical officer and get away with it.
Oh how sad I was that whole day. Five. Freaking. Points. I looked up and found that if you accumulate 15 or more demerit points within a two year period on your driving record, your licence will be suspended for one month. My insurance would also go up. In that one day, I learnt more about Alberta traffic violations and their consequences than I had in my entire life!And then, from the clouds (of the internet), my fairy Godmother appeared. In the form of a traffic ticket fighter. She fought my ticket in the court, reduced my demerit points to 2 and my blood pressure by 50!
After that incident, for at least six months, I can bet you I was the slowest reverse-driver in the universe.