Now that the government has eased many restrictions from the most recent corona shutdown, the driving instructors, too, have gone back to work, with drivers-in-training once again filling the streets. First thing in the morning, when traffic is heavy and everyone’s playing beat-the-clock to get to work or school, I often count not one, but two, three, or even four of these slow-mobiles in a row.
I know that instructors have to teach (and were, like so many Israelis, robbed of their livelihoods these past few months), and would-be drivers have to learn, but the proliferation of “lamids” on our streets has reached unbearable proportions.
Surely you too have found yourself behind a vehicle going in the same direction yet which, unlike you, seems to have all the time in the world and finds two kilometers per hour a comfortable speed. You’d drive around it, but the road is too narrow, so you either honk your horn or curse silently and accept that you and your kids are going to be late.
Right now, the winding residential Jerusalem street where I live is under major construction, with varying sections blocked by bulldozers – definitely no place for a lamid. Yet on they come. Lacking the experience necessary to navigate the rocky mess, they further snarl the already strained traffic pattern. Considering that you can’t walk five blocks in this city without coming across some sort of construction, this is not an isolated problem. Impossibly narrow roads, made narrower by construction-related detours, challenge even the most experienced motorists. Adding untested novices to the mix? Cue the flashing yellow lights.
Perhaps we can set some ground rules that will give license hopefuls the behind-the-wheel experience they need while allowing harried drivers to get from aleph to bet in a reasonable time. I propose the following:
Student drivers should not be allowed on busy city streets during morning and afternoon rush hours – from, say, 7-9 a.m. and 5-7 p.m.
Zones should be designated where true beginners – those in the course of their first few lessons – can practice, places with wider streets and less traffic; they can take on the busier or more narrow thoroughfares once they are comfortable driving at (almost) normal speed.
If it is determined to allow driving lessons to take place during the aforementioned rush hours, those time slots should be limited to students further along in the learning process, and lessons should be confined to the designated zones.
Finally, learners should absolutely steer clear of major construction sites, with a list to be continually updated and made available online to driving instructors.
This framework would minimize disruption and increase road safety without putting lamids out of business. Honk if you agree.