Pique'n Yer Interest 

Driver's Ed.

I'm not a great driver. I admit it. It took me months to learn to drive a standard car without stalling and even now I'm terrified driving the steep streets of Vancouver, lest I roll backwards into a car that's worth more than my life.

Even now, six years later, I still ride the clutch and occasionally miss-shift to the engine's everlasting sorrow. I also tend to wait until the road is completely clear before I merge with traffic because I'm not great at judging the speed of other vehicles, and have no faith in my ability to shift quickly enough to get up to speed with traffic. I'm "that guy."

But the fact that I'm not a great driver, and know it, has at least made me a safe driver. It all comes down to the fact that I don't trust myself - or anybody else, to be honest. As far as I'm concerned every car and truck on the road is out to get me.

In short, I try to do everything by the book. I took the Young Driver's of Canada course, and while I don't remember much from high school biology or math courses I remember every driving class and lesson like it was yesterday.

I had some extra incentive to concentrate. Not too far from the house I grew up in is a rehabilitation centre for people with spinal injuries, over half of them the result of car and motorcycle accidents. Every high school class visits that centre to get scared straight by young men and women who had their lives changed in an instant. I've never been in a car accident, but I know that I don't want to be.

That keeps me alert, checking mirrors and the speedometer constantly. I drive slowly (which means I drive the speed limit), and at night, when it's wet and the lines on the road are invisible, I might even drive a little below the limit which people seem to hate. My hands are almost always at 10-and-2, and I'm not shy using the brakes to slow down or warn off tailgaters. The car in front of me is always three seconds ahead and sometimes further - especially at night, when I know how annoying it is to have another vehicle's lights in your mirrors.

I also slow down and cover the horn while driving through intersections or passing through someone's blind spot. I check my own blind spot before changing lanes, even though a car would have to be travelling near the speed of light to surprise me. I'm always in the right-hand lane on the highway and only pass the occasional RV.

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