Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Drunken-Driving Simulator Without the Drunk

Before I left the paper, one of the assignments I covered, oddly enough, was around this time of year. It was a pre-prom prep assembly at the high school and one of the activities was a driving simulator designed to discourage underage drinking.

The simulator put students behind the wheel of a vehicle and let them see what it would be like to drive at varying states of impairment. While I didn't try it, I think I now know what it must be like.

Before returning to This D*mn House with the newly repaired car on Friday, mechanic Jim warned me repeatedly how out of alignment it is. (The car essentially has a new front end after having virtually every piece of the front suspension replaced.)

I've driven cars out of alignment before, they pull to the left or pull to the right. Well, as I pulled away from the curb Friday night, I quickly realized this eclipsed those experiences. The car was quite literally swinging wildly into the street and I had barely touched the wheel, which had been at a 90-degree, hands at 9 and 3 o'clock position.

What it amounts to is that to keep the car perfectly straight, the wheel is turned most of the way to the right, with hands at 11:30 and 5:30. It's got to be the simulator in real life!

But not for long. On my way to work tomorrow, I'll be dropping it off at the tire store since I couldn't get an appointment for yesterday. Cross your fingers that I have a "perfect" car tomorrow night ...