Random Ramblings by Mandy: Tips for the Driver
February 2016

We all have a love/hate relationship with driving. For some of us it’s not a perfectly balanced relationship, but say what, no one’s perfect. When I first began driving, I loved it. I enjoyed the feeling of being in control of my destination (pours myself another glass of wine for the unintentional life metaphor). Blame age, experience and/or influence but driving has become one of the most stressful parts of my day.

Call me boring or a “goodie two shoes” but I enjoy structure, rules and regulations, which explains my love for driving, or at least it did. Nowadays, many people simply don’t care to follow those rules, which are supposed to make everyone’s driving experience more enjoyable. There’s driving school for a reason people! We need to know how to do it correctly. Thinking about it in the grander scheme of things, our Automobile Operations Education actually began in Kindergarten, so strap up boys and girls, you’re about to go back to school.

Kindergarten focused on a few norms and values of life, like sharing. Share the road! Yes, we can argue that our taxpayers’ dollars pay for the maintenance of our roadways so it belongs to us but the road is not a box of crayons where we can give everyone a colour. One-dimensional pictures are just not very pretty. You need the entire box to create a beautiful picture. We were taught to colour in the lines. This is the fundamental principle behind driving. Colouring in the lines nicely equates to “driving in your lane”. As we developed more control over our hand eye coordination while colouring/gained more driving experience, we learned that colouring a section of the picture in one direction also made the final product look neater, just like driving. Swerving in and out of lanes makes you a messy driver and creates a messy picture in other drivers’ minds.

We were also taught to play fairly. Let’s talk about the crayons with the following scenario. Sarah is using the green crayon. Patrice is ready to colour grass and needs it, but there’s only one green crayon. In the spirit of sharing, playing fair and taking turns, Patrice must wait until Sarah is finished. Do you see where I’m going with this? If one road is on a green light then the perpendicular road must obey the red light and stop until it’s their turn to use the green light. While discussing this topic, a “smart” person said to me, “But you can break the green crayon in half, that’ll be sharing!” I agreed with “smart” person’s statement and replied by saying that at the end of the day you’ll have a broken crayon that we will now hesitate to use and maybe even throw it away. Similarly, if both traffic lights turn green then we’ll end up with a pile of broken cars and upset drivers. Then I walked away from the “smart” person laughing while thinking to myself that I’m taking the crayon metaphor too far.

At some point we were all punished for hitting someone. Except for me, I was a really good child (my mother may disagree). Before being assigned our destined punishments we were all made to apologise to the person. Now, I’m a self proclaimed Unicorn and I believe in rainbows and happiness and I choose to believe that no one will purposefully hit someone’s car. But unfortunately Unicorn Island is only a place in my mind and my only explanation for this spiteful act is: People!  That aside, car accidents happen. I’ve been in a couple minor fender benders myself (knock on wood) and while I understand the stresses that come with the situation, one thing slips away from people a bit too easily. Even though the Insurance Conglomerate (with extremely high premiums) advises us to never admit liability, we should be man/woman enough to accept responsibility. It takes less than a second to apologize to the person when you know you were wrong. It may not do anything immediately to console the situation but with continued use throughout the accident transaction, tempers will subside and both parties will walk away feeling less negative. If this doesn’t work, then at least you can say that you’ve tried to be the better person.

Lastly, for today’s Kindergarten session we were taught manners. When we want something we end our request with “please” and when we receive something, desired or not, we say, “thank you”. Imagine yourself in the driver’s seat. That big circular object in front of you is the Steering Wheel. The stick poking out of the base of the Steering Wheel on the left operates the wipers and even helps clean the Wind Screen. A similar stick can be found on the right of the Steering Wheel. Most people nowadays fear this object and refuse to touch it. This boys and girls, is the Indicator. Push the lever up and it illuminates a yellow flashing light on the front and back of the vehicle. Push it down and it does the same thing on the right side. This is the universal way of saying, “please” while requesting to turn left or right. You should try it! You’d be surprised how your driving experience will improve. Now we must practise saying “thank you.” This can be done in many ways but my favourite is a gentle “toot” of the horn to the person who graciously granted you a chance to turn to your desired direction. I know I don’t need to tell you where the horn is because we all know the universal sound for “you’re driving like an idiot” and other not so nice things.

Now that we’ve spent a couple of minutes in Kindergarten, this time with no snack time and evening nap, let’s go be better drivers. Remember boys and girls, we must share, play fair, say “Sorry” and remember our manners! Go now younglings, I have faith in you.


By: Mandy | FEATURES | February 2016