The day finally arrived. My teenager is driving. He just has his learner’s permit, so an adult is always with him (that I know of . . . ), but I have just been hit over the head that the driving advice he is getting and that I got when I was learning to drive is just good life advice period.
From his dad: Ignore those passing you and keep your eye on the road you are traveling.
Great advice, Dad! So often we get caught up in those who are going around us or that we are meeting on the road. If we pay too much attention to everyone else, we will stray from where we know we are going. Keeping your eyes on your own path and doing the right thing will serve you well in life and on the road.
From my dad to me and now to my son: Never go at a speed where you feel out of control.
My poor father taught me to drive in a five-speed Ford Fiesta that had a “tricky” clutch. I lurched us down the street and the gravel roads outside of town. My father was one of the most patient people in the world, and I tried every bit of that patience with him. The one piece of advice he gave me when driving that has served me well in so many ways was to stay at a speed where I felt in control. If I was not feeling in control of the vehicle, I would wreck and hurt someone or myself. Boy, was he right. When life is feeling too full or out of control, we need to slow down, assess the hazards, and note where we are really headed. Going too fast or being out of control will lead to a wreck, figuratively and literally.
My advice: The world is full of idiots and jackasses.
Idiot drivers are just clueless and not clear on the literal rules of driving and the general social etiquette of being on the road with millions of others in potentially deadly machines. Their ignorance is dangerous, though. We have to always be observant and careful in our own driving and in life, but also be cognizant that others may not be as observant as we are.
Jackasses do know what the rules are but just don’t give a damn. They don’t care about the consequences of cutting off others, running red lights, exceeding the speed limit by too much, passing in no-passing lanes . . . they are out for themselves and don’t care who gets in their way. Sadly, we run into these people all the time, and they are the reason for all those professional development trainings we go to entitled, “How to Deal with Difficult People.”
My philosophy in life has always been that I expect to look out for myself and for everyone else. Driving is no different. We’re all in this together. When we don’t look out for each other, people end up needing the jaws of life to remove them from the wreck.
Photo courtesy of Flickr, Adrien Nier