Q Growing up in Montreal, where public transportation was a dream, I didn't have to learn to drive until I moved to a city where driving was pretty much the only way to get around. Learning how to drive at 40 was a challenge and I took many, many lessons to get my license.
Driving is even more of a challenge in California, where most cars apparently do not come equipped with turn signals, mirrors or brake pedals.
Bottom line: I can drive around the neighborhood, but I am terrified of highway driving, and when faced with multilane streets, I ask my husband to drive. I am really tired of being so scared of the road.
Can you recommend a VERY patient driving instructor who may be able to help me get over this phobia? Most driving schools only aim at helping 16-year-olds get their license ASAP. I would so appreciate your help.
A A former co-worker also had this phobia and would only drive South Bay streets, avoiding all freeways. It's been years since I sought recommendations on top-flight driving school instructors, so I'll turn to Roadshow readers for their advice.
I also want to hear from others who fear driving our crowded freeways. How do you cope with your anxiety?
Q Please print this so the idiot father who almost hit me last Friday afternoon might read it:
You were behind me at Meridian Avenue at Kooser Road in San Jose right after school ended. Your daughter was sitting next to you watching, as was I, as you bent over looking intently at your phone. The light turned green and we started to go.
Right after the intersection, I turned my signal on to turn right. You came really close to hitting me and you had to make a quick turn to the left to avoid me. I saw you holding your phone up still staring at the screen.
What was so freaking important that you endangered not only your daughter's life but mine and my son's life? Not only were you breaking the law, but you were a poor role model to your daughter.
A Near a school zone, on two busy city streets and distracted by a cellphone -- ingredients for disaster. A reminder that each day this month, as police clamp down on cellphone abuse, I'll print one cellphone or texting horror story.
Q While looking for parking at the Pruneyard Shopping Center in Campbell recently, I was slowly cruising a section of the parking lot with two opposing lanes of traffic. Angled parking spots facing the direction of travel occupied both sides of these lanes.
Up ahead on the right I noticed a car starting to pull out in front of me. "I got lucky!" I thought to myself. I had been looking for a space for several minutes and was tired of driving around in circles and wasn't about to pass up a spot right in front of me.
Then I notice the driver of a new Mercedes coming from the opposite direction turn on her left signal indicating she wanted the space. There was no way to know who saw it first, but reasoning that the space was in my direction and the other car would have to make a U-turn in front of a long line of cars to enter it, I took the space.
It was like a bomb went off! The woman started honking her horn, screaming that it was her spot, even using hand gestures to apparently indicate she was the first in line for the space. Wow, was she mad. She was so upset that after I exited my car, I stood a short distance away for several minutes to see if she would come back and key my car or do something equally vengeful. Was I wrong for taking that spot even though she may have signaled for it before I got to it?
A I'm only getting one side of the story, but I'm going to side with you, mainly because she had to make a U-turn to enter the angled parking space. On a downtown city street, that would be illegal. Parking is very tight at the Pruneyard. Next time, find an empty section in the garage or elsewhere with ample parking, and walk to your store. You'll get exercise and avoid confrontations like this.