Everyone’s a Bad Driver

A family of five was killed in a car accident by my house on Sunday. Someone passed a red light at a high rate of speed and hit their minivan as they were crossing the intersection.

A couple of days ago, Spanky and I passed there on our way home and noticed a bunch of flowers and teddy bears people left at the accident site.

We observed a moment of silence and then Spanky asked me, “Can you teach me how to drive?”

“Right now?” I asked.

“Yeah, now.”

She’d been asking. I’d been putting it off.

So I detoured over to the elementary school parking lot. The same place I taught Blane and Sweetpea on their very first lesson. I explained the clutch, gears, breaking, etc. and told her the first time she hits the gas the car will hop and conk out. It happens to everyone. It’s tradition. Not to be embarrassed.

She gets behind the wheel and just as I predicted, the car hops and chokes. Her face turns beet red and she laughs, exactly as I thought. A man walking his dog pauses and watches for a while. He’s stuffing a smile, possibly revisiting a memory of when he learned how to drive or when he taught his kids or both.

Some skate board kids zing by and when they notice someone practicing driving, they sit down and watch the show.

Spanky finally makes it past the conk out stage and heads straight for one of the grassy islands in the parking lot.

Although I have my hand on the parking brake, I yell, “Stop! Press the gas!”

I can’t explain what it looked like the car was doing, but she stopped just in time to miss the curb. She was laughing so hard she could barely breathe.

“Woman! You’re going to get us killed! What do you mean, ‘Stop! Press the gas?!'”

My turn to blush, “I meant the brake…”

Before long she’s doing perfect circles in the lot in first gear. She tells me she thinks she will start using the sewing machine so she can develop better control of a foot pedal. I thought that was pretty smart.

And she did. She just finished sock monkey pajama pants (cute!).

Spanky officially begins driving school in August. I’m terrified. I’ll keep telling her as I told the others, assume everyone else on the road is a bad driver.

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13 thoughts on “Everyone’s a Bad Driver

  1. Geez, that is the scariest time with kids. I still worry, and mine are 25 and 21 and probably better drivers than I ever was.

    And agreed on the advice. So many people are also just so distracted. They’re on the phone or eating or angry and reliving that fight with their boss or significant other and they miss something.

  2. I hate to say it, but I became a better driver because of the ex. His mom has arthritis in her neck, and so turns her whole upper body to look before changing lanes, etc. The ex picked that up, probably from learning how to drive from her, and so I did too by way of just being around him as he drove. My driving was a lot more fast and furious before that.

    The other thing that helped my driving was when I went through the motorcycle safety training program and got my motorcycle license. The program talks a lot about the ‘calculated risks’ involved. It would be good if driving schools (for cars) would put that same amount of emphasis on risk.

  3. oooohhhh…good luck! I have 4 more years until the last one drives and thankfully his dad will be a natural to teach him. Still…that rule that everyone ELSE is a bad driver is very wise.

  4. Radio, Blane had a bike a few years ago and had to get rid of it. He said no one watches for them and almost got killed quite a few times.

    TP, Blane says go karts are great for teaching kids how to drive. LOL.

  5. Eeghads. My step-dad is a driver’s ed instructor. My gosh, the stories he tells. Like the kid who actually did hit the broad side of a … barn. It’s the overconfident ones, though, that worry him. Spanky sounds like she’ll do fine. But the ones who speed up when the light turns red. . . “Oh, I can make it!” That just makes me so sick. So sad about that family. Ya know, I always hesitate before entering an intersection, even when it’s green. I just do. You never know….

  6. You did such a great job of capturing the terror we face teaching our kids to drive by beginning with the death of that family.

    Nice piece of writing.

  7. My friend gave me the best advice. Get the kid into classes and grab that beginner’s license as soon as you’re able, and then make her drive everywhere you go from that point forward, until she’s complaining, “I don’t want to drive this time,” and then make her drive anyway.

    You want to see her drive as many miles as you possibly can see her drive and see her driving in all sorts of situations until the day when she’s on her own.

    It made sense to me, and yes my guys did get to the point where they were sometimes asking not to drive, but I made them anyway. LOL!

  8. Pooks and Radio, that is what they tell you at the driving school, to make them drive everywhere while they have the permit. We did that with Sweetpea and it wasn’t long before she complained about all the driving.

    Writinggb, a guy I graduated high school with died just like this family, someone passed a red light. That was about 5 to 10 years ago and I have never felt the same about crossing an intersection.

    Thanks Kym.

  9. Hi Kitty,
    every time i come here and read your posts i feel great to have you on NET and to know people far away from me are really the same as the people here, with those emotions and feelings.Healthy blog with healthy people and posts.

    regards,
    kumar.

  10. Hey Kumar,Thanks for saying that. I agree that people cross culturally are at the core similar. Most of them all want the same thing. Healthy children, good schools for them to go to, a good job.
    It’s great to see you around.

  11. Pingback: This is Gonna Hurt « The Show Must Go On

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