Driving Lessons

It sounded like a good idea at the time.

I had read an article about these super-cool magnetic bumper stickers, CAUTION NEW DRIVER, and thought to myself. What a brilliant idea! Whenever I'm having my newly permitted child practice driving skills, I'll just slap it onto the back of the ol' van. Then all the other kindly drivers will be instantaneously aware and think to themselves, "Oh, look. How sweet, a new driver. I'll give him a nice, wide berth so he has plenty of room as he learns this new skill of driving."

I should have known better.

I was totally appalled. People spotted that sticker and raced as fast as they could to get around my poor kid: cutting in front of him as he slowed to a stop at red lights; illegally shooting past on the shoulder as he waited to make unprotected left-hand turns. Instead of patiently making allowances for him, as I'd thought they would, it was more like other drivers were in this frantic frenzy to get away from him before (Heaven forbid!) they were trapped behind him while he drove the speed limit or came to a complete stop before the white line.

One time, I forgot to take the thing off while I was driving around, and some dude passed me as I was accelerating on the entrance ramp to the highway!

Thinking back now, I didn't take it seriously enough when my son told me stories about driving lessons in the official student driver car. You know, the one with the BIG "Student Driver" sign stuck on top? He told me he and his fellow trainees had been cut off, shouted at and one older gentleman (cough!) had even honked at him while he was negotiating his way into a parking space.

Seriously, what is wrong with people? Are we really in such a rush we have no patience for newbies? And honestly, he's not that bad. (Thankfully, he doesn't read my blog and won't get a swelled head, but he's truly a focused, safe driver without being unusually slow or anything.)

Well, with all this being said, I still remain a hopeful optimist. I hope these were just a few unusually crabby folks we encountered. I hope that other drivers will exhibit patience and kindness during those times when they may least feel like it. And most of all, I hope people remember what it was like to be on the road for the first time: scary, nerve wracking, requiring full concentration. And the kid who's driving doesn't have it all that easy either. (Ha, ha!)

So, how about you? How do you handle situations when you encounter a new driver on the road?


Brandy said...

I always try to be courteous to my fellow drivers. but i think the power trip of operating a machine goes to people's heads.

NaNa Ruth said...

You should see what they try when they "think" they are behind a little old lady. Sometimes I would love to have a camera as Mabel the Sable accelerates away as the light turns green.

Dalia (Generation X Mom) said...

People are just unbelievable sometimes. When I see a student driver it brings me back to being in that car. I was so embarrassed with the bright sign on the car. I feel for them!

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

You did NOT do that - I am sorry I am laughing so hard - your poor kid.

Go and buy him something - NOW!!!


Vivianne's Vista said...

I hate to admit, I try to get away from student drivers for fear they hit me. I saw one hit a lamp post a month AGO!

Do your son a favor and burn that sticker!

BTW: I have an award for you here-


Meagan Frank said...

It must be the teacher in me, but I am probably overly patient with new drivers, and it made me sad to think about how impatient the drivers were around your learning son. I can totally see myself deciding to put on the big magnet when my kids learn, and I so hope other drivers have more compassion than that. Just like working with "learning doctors" they have to get good somehow!

Annette Piper said...

I'm not sure what system you have over your way, but here in Australia we have to display "L" (learner) plates and then when you get your licence "P" plates (provisional driver i.e. one strike and you're out!) I groan sometimes when I'm behind a L-plater but providing they're driving OK it doesn't bother me. If they're incredibly slow and/or wobbly (!) I will overtake at the first opportunity though.

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Wow, that's so interesting, Annette. No hiding the fact you're a new driver when living down under I guess! Ha, ha! ;o)

Christopher Keiner said...

I agree with each and every conclusions you have made on driving. Thanks for sharing.

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