Was I Ready to Learn to Drive?

Young Drivers of Canada LogoBe careful what you ask for! I needed a topic to write about here so I sent a message to DriveSmartBC followers on Twitter and asked for suggestions. The one that intrigued me the most came from fellow road safety blogger Scott Marshall, the Director of Training for Young Drivers of Canada. He asked if, when I learned to drive, was I really ready?

It would be easy just to say yes or that my parents must have thought so because they let me get it on my sixteenth birthday. In fact, my father let me drive the ten miles home with my new learner's permit in my wallet. Maybe we were both overconfident! I had practiced before hand driving around the trails of the rodeo grounds in our Toyota pickup set for four wheel drive in low range. You could shift gears a couple of times this way and still be moving not much faster than a walk.

The only incidents that I recall now are two: My mother being upset because I had passed too closely behind a logging truck as it turned. I had no appreciation for the sweep of the logs as the turn progressed. My father let me approach our snowy driveway at too great a speed and I ended up stopped part way onto the lawn because I didn't have traction for the turn.

I can probably truthfully say that I might have been ready, but I lacked thorough, organized training and the class five exam should have been more difficult to pass. My parents led by example, instilling a good attitude and respect for traffic laws, but they were not prepared to build a defensive driver through step by step introduction of skills with necessary repetition to master them.

I appreciate that my children learned to drive after hearing stories from my work and completing a full course of driver training. They were more skilled at driving than I was at their age and they probably will be again as I grow older. This raises the question of hanging up the keys by my own choice when I am no longer a safe driver. Will I be ready for this too?

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