And, we continue…
It is normal to enjoy the speed and the power of a car. I tell my sons they must be on guard in managing this feeling. The feeling will be there; why deny the truth? I try to work with them to find other ways to fill that need. There are other things that can create excitement. It is important to keep driving in its proper role.
When I take my sons to the street to drive the first thing I stress is space. The next thing we work on is selective viewing as well looking twelve to fifteen seconds ahead of where the car is currently positioned. When driving down a busy street there are often many lights and signs that distract a driver (especially a new driver) from watching for important things like other drivers and traffic signs. When practicing, we spend all of our time driving on these types of streets. Most anyone can drive on some street named “Elm” in the suburbs. It is a whole different game to drive on “Main” during rush hour.
The final issue that I deal with is teaching my sons to drive on the “expressway” at the higher speeds. This is a difficult lesson. Learning to drive with traffic and yet not get caught up in a “lemming-like” flow is difficult.
We end our “lessons” with a fifty mile trip. This is fun for the family and gives that particular son a chance to show off his skills. In addition, it shows the rest of the family he is competent. This soothes the worry of my wife as well as making her more comfortable riding with him; a problem which is a bigger problem in some families than you might imagine. A family never knows when one member is going to be pressed into service, and, it is important to know they can handle the task.
Looking back over my approach, seeing that my sons could drive included making sure they were exposed to good training at school. Next, I worked with them to become intimate with the workings and rudimentary handling of the car. This was followed by the importance of understanding the value of “space”, and, what the other drivers could be doing that made it so valuable. “Street training” consisted of helping them learn “selective focusing”. I tried to help them understand their own desires. We discussed the age group who most often dies in wrecks and why. And, finally, we took a trip to enjoy their new-found skills.
There are no guarantees when it comes to driving. The streets can be dangerous. However, I fully believe as fathers, we increase the chances of our children’s survival when we take the time to impart what we’ve learned.
As a side note I might add that we did involve our insurance agent in the training. Not only did it make it more real, but, it has helped our sons understand rates and the value of paying less money on insurance premiums, which soon, they are going to care about!