BEYOND SIGHT: Mind the ‘Zipper’

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By Monsi A. Serrano

One thing that makes Canada a good place to get a license, is the fact that you will be disciplined. You’d have to work hard to earn that driver’s license because it’s a “graduated license.” Interestingly, it takes around 20 months to get the G license.

The process may be cumbersome, but definitely helpful as you will be forced to adjust to the Canadian way.

First, you have to take the eye and written tests, second you have to pass the G1 test which allows you to drive but not on the highway and you must be accompanied by a G driver’s license holder. Apart from that, you cannot drive between midnight and 5 a.m.

After 12 months, you can take your first road test with a G1 license for your G2 license. When you get your G2 license, you can drive without another experienced driver in the car and on all Ontario roads almost at any time except on the highway.

Then after 12 months with the G2 license, you have to pass the second of two road tests you take as a new driver. But this time, the test is more difficult because it covers more advanced driving skills such as driving on a highway, speeding up as you approach the highway upon exiting tollways, parallel parking, uphill and downhill parking, and a lot more.

Of course, a representative from the Ministry of Transportation will accompany you to evaluate your readiness to get your full G license.

The challenge is how you apply what you learned during the time you were aspiring to get your G license. In my case, I got my G license in a span of 2 months instead of the normally 2 years of waiting. Does this mean I am an excellent driver? No. Not at all. I am a good student who listened to my driving instructor. Perhaps my more than 20 years of experience holding a driver’s license in the Philippines helped, and also my experience driving in the US and UAE gave me that confidence.

Through the years of driving in Canada, not just in Ontario but also in other territories like Quebec, which would take around 6-7 hours, I assimilated the important things I learned in driving like minding the speed limit, parking properly in the designated parking or get stiffer fine and penalty, ensuring that I park between the designated line or be towed (exaggerated? No. They are dead serious). And last but not the least,, the importance of “zipper” especially at parking lots inside malls or along the highways where merging is inevitable.

Who wouldn’t be taking conscious effort to mind the speed limit if the fine is CDN$10,000.00? The fine is even doubled when you violate along the road with “Construction on Progress.
Photo was taken by me on our way to Quebec
This reminder is shown in the parking of a hotel in Montreal, Quebec

This is one thing I wish that we Filipinos can adopt, especially when we encounter that situation – by giving way and make alternate turns to proceed.

For someone with a PWD child and with PWD stickers attached to our car, I find it disheartening to see some drivers tend to be on the “me first mentality.” On several occasions, we encountered drivers cutting through or blowing their horns. Still, other drivers who have a sense of entitlement use sirens as if telling everyone ahead of them to give way to the royal highness.

If you are not a PWD and without any permit to use the designated PWD parking slot, you will be fined CDN$5,000.00
Photo taken by me

Zipper helps! That is my belief. In a tight situation and when merging is unavoidable, let there be a zipper lane. There is nothing to lose when you mind your zipper. Remember, a little courtesy or consideration goes a long way, and it makes our life and others’ less stressful.

Can Filipinos make do it? I most definitely believe yes, if we will make a conscious effort to be mindful of our “zipper duty.” As the saying goes, “Repetitio la mater educate set” (Repetition is the mother of education.”)

Happy New Year, Happy Driving! Let’s zip it!

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