Driving Lessons

I’ve been driving for seven years now and I figured a post about what the experience has been like for me is in order given the significance of this year in this respect. I’ll begin with why I wanted to drive.

From a young age, I just knew I was born to drive. Riding in a car, I would find myself checking how smooth the stop and go was and found a natural respect for the smoothest operators. My Dad was one.The friend who taught me to drive was one too.
Another friend introduced me to the pet peeve for folk who keep their foot on the brakes for inordinate periods of time. You don’t always need to step on the brakes to stop. Sometimes, just letting off the accelerator will do.

It was my goal to get my license as soon as I turned 16 but with no car and no money of my own, I was at the mercy of parents who seemed not to comprehend the urgency of this task. So it wasn’t until I l was firmly grounded in my college career that I found friends willing to risk their wheels on me.
Speaking of risk, my first lesson was in a minivan with a toddler in the back seat! Somehow, timing only worked out for that friend to give me but one lesson…

  • A good driver is always aware of what’s going on around her
  • Your stop and go should be so smooth that your passengers can’t even tell that you’d stopped
  • When you switch lanes, it should feel, to your passengers, like you were still in the same lane
  • Assuming the space is large enough, you should complete a parallel parking job in two fluid moves
  • Always check that the temperature is comfortable for your passengers (except on a long road trip – then driver’s preference takes precedence!)

Striving for perfection in my art has made driving a pleasurable experience. See, it’s not just about getting to where you’re going, but it’s also about how you get there, what you learn on your way; it’s about the experience of driving too.

For someone who prides herself as a pretty good and safe driver, you can imagine the shame and disappointment when she finds herself with points on her license. Yep. I got points on my license! One for speeding and two for driving the wrong way on a one way.

The speeding one was in Ohio. Need I say more? Ohio cops are known to be ruthless in dishing out those tickets, so I really should have been going a lot closer to the speed limit. But when you’re looking at nine more hours on the road and there’s a caravan of speeding cars, you can easily find yourself going 80 in a 65. Granted, this guy stopped me for going 85 in a 65 – which I never go over 80, ever – so the ticket was really meant for one of the other guys in our caravan… But he gave the ticket to me for going 15 over, and I was going 15 over, so my guilty conscience couldn’t argue, couldn’t even ask for mercy – I deserved the ticket 🙁

And driving the wrong way on a one way? Well, the road was usually two way but because of construction, they had converted it into a one way. I didn’t see the signs! Seriously, I didn’t! But I got the ticket. And when I got to court, the judge said, sympathetically, “People make mistakes and it doesn’t make you a bad driver. But since there were signs, you have to pay the fine.” So I paid and I got points.

That courtroom experience was quite fascinating actually. It showed me how brutal the law can be when you’re on the wrong side of it. While it’s there to protect us, when you cross it, it condemns you right quick! Unfortunately, I didn’t have a redeemer to pay the price for me.

In spite of my recent challenges with the law as a driver, I would say, I still enjoy the experience. I love road trips! I’m even seriously thinking about trekking it to Texas… ~20hrs! Only if the folk who’d have to go with me are down…

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