Thursday, May 27, 2010

Driving Lessons

I've been thinking about how ours is a driving culture. In many other countries, people either can't afford to own a car, or live in such congested cities that they choose not to drive a car. In our culture, teenagers start driving as early as 15 1/2 years old. Some who immigrate here were not exposed to driving at such an early age. When I was a teenager, driver's education was part of our school curriculum, including the actual driving portion of the lessons. Here in California, the kids are able to take the written part of the course, but must pay about $300 for the driving section, and must go to a private company. But I really think that driver's education isn't as good today as it was when I was a teenager. There are many things I was taught that aren't emphasized with my children.
Here are a few things that I was taught that aren't always stressed today.

--Keep your hands at 10:00 and 2:00 on the steering wheel. Holding the bottom of the wheel doesn't give you as much of a range of motion. I have to admit that I do hold the wheel in other places, but when I'm in heavy traffic, I go back to what I was taught.

--Always look over your shoulder before changing lanes. Don't just rely on the mirror. It's amazing how many people don't do this, and miss the "blind spot".

--Turn around and look behind you when backing up, and don't stop looking behind you as long as your car is still in motion. Sounds simple, but many people rely on their mirror, which can be deceiving, or they turn around before stopping the car.

--Don't change lanes in an intersection. This may even be a law, I'm not sure, but many people don't follow it.

--Don't change lanes near a stop light. If you are coming to a stop light, and change lanes at the last second, the person behind you might not be able to stop in time if the light changes.

--Signal your turn 1/2 a block before the actual turn. So many people wait until right before the turn to signal, and this can cause accidents.

--When turning at a light signal, stay in the most inward lane, don't let your car drift to the outer lane. There may be people turning right, and in a state like ours where a right turn on a red is allowed, this could cause an accident.

While I'm at it, I have a gripe on a similar subject. This may seem off topic, but I feel it goes along with "Driving lessons". I think many people these days need driving lessons for grocery carts! I think some of the same "laws" of driving could apply to grocery carts. It's amazing how many people don't understand "cart etiquette". :)

--Don't leave your cart in the middle of the aisle. Leave room for others to pass.
--Don't stand in the middle of the aisle. (same reason as above)
--If you see the aisle is crowded, consider leaving your cart in an area outside of the aisle before going in to the the item you want. (be sure and take your purse/child/valuables.)

Those may sound simple, but it's amazing how many times I have trouble getting past a person who is hogging the aisle with their cart! Seems like common sense to me, but some people just don't think.

Okay, this post may qualify me as a road rage driver, but I think these are some things people need to know! :)


Becky said...

I was taught the 10:00 and 2:00 hand placement, and it bugs me to no end when my teen drivers hold the wheel at 8:00 and 4:00. They look so awkward when trying to turn. However, they say they're taught that way to prevent broken arms if the airbag deploys. I still like the old way better; I feel like I have more control of this massive vehicle! And if I avoid accidents, I don't have to worry about the airbag!!

Mediocre Renaissance Man said...

Most of what you (and I) learned many years ago still applies, but the 10 and 2 thing is definitely not safe any more. It's not just due to the risk in case of airbag deployment, it's also a comfort/ergonomic issue. I actually have a hard time remembering to keep myself from putting my hands at 10 and 2, but when I think of my arms snapping in half when the airbag blows, it helps. Here's a link for more information:

Amber said...

they say now that 9 and 3 is also fine that it's just as good as 10 & 2. I agree with you about the grocery cart thing, I hate it when people are so oblivious and I have to turn around and go back down the aisle because I can't get past them, it's so rude. Walmart is the worst I've noticed.