A Den Full of Snakes!
Have you figured out if you’re a good driver yet? People who know how to drive are a dime a dozen but good drivers are hard to find. So, what is a good driver and do you fit the description?
Too many of us associate good driving with the ability to “handle” a vehicle. Auto racing pros will tell you that driving too fast, cornering too fast, following too close and other similar behavior just waste your gas, wear out your brakes and have no place on public roadways. If you want to do that stuff, take it to the track! Yes, driving does require some degree of physical skill and coordination but, barring a limiting disability, this can be mastered without much effort. There are three things which set a good driver apart from those of us who just know how to drive.
Superior Social Skills
Driving is a social task. We are interacting with other people (that’s what social means). The trouble is that when driving we are interacting with a bunch of total strangers about whom we know nothing, in motion, in close quarters and under dangerous circumstances! We know nothing about their ages, their physical or emotional conditions, their driving skills or anything else about them. It’s like walking blindfolded into a den full of deadly snakes and hoping that none will bite you. A good driver anticipates that others will make mistakes and adjusts accordingly. One sadly lacking social skill in today’s aggressive driving is basic courtesy. A good driver is courteous and cooperative. Is this you?
The Ability to Make the Right Decisions
Driving is a mental task, a complicated decision-making task. Everything is changing in relation to everything else, all the time. It’s a dynamic environment. The experts tell us that we may have to make as many as twenty to twenty-five separate, conscious decisions within the space of a city block. Most are routine but some (approaching a busy, signal controlled intersection for example) will be critical to your safety and to the safety of others. Your hands and feet are responding to orders from your brain. A good driver consciously develops an organized thinking and responding process that he or she uses to identify potential hazards, anticipate possible conflicts, decide what actions are appropriate and then execute the correct response as required. Is this you?
A Mature and Responsible Attitude
A good driver knows, understands and obeys traffic laws and rules of the road. Is this you? Attitude is everything in driving! If you have a defiant attitude toward traffic laws and routinely ignore them you are a danger to yourself and others and not mature enough to be behind the wheel.
If you answered “yes” to each of the above, then there may be hope for you. If not we need to talk some more. Stay tuned. In the meantime, tell me how you think speed limits are determined. Why do you think the speed limit on this street is 25 when you think it ought to be 35?
This is not about how to drive. This is about staying alive. See you next time . . . I hope!