I don’t want to make light of this condition, but because I must be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, I don’t think I’ll be the one teaching my son to drive.
I remember that when my sister was ready, my mother began the process, but she soon surrendered the job to someone else. So when it was my turn to take the wheel, I knew that asking her was completely out of the question.
As a driver myself, I think I understand why she bailed. Even now, whenever I’m in the passenger seat next to the driver (seasoned or not), I’m still pressing the brakes, holding on to the door handle and looking out for the crazy drivers conspiring to do us in.
There is so much questionable behaviour that passes for driving these days that I’m convinced that God is on both sides – of the street. How else to explain the fact that they’re aren’t more accidents taking place on a daily basis?
I may have mentioned that I’ve been in an accident or two – but they didn’t happen because I was overtaking around a bend or over a hill or backing out into oncoming traffic. But it’s true that everything does happen in slow motion, which is why I remember the incidents so well.
For months after they occurred I was uber-cautious whenever I approached the site of the accident because it wouldn’t look all that good to have another dust-up at the very same location – since some people might call that not learning from my mistakes.
However, as time passed without incident I began to relax a little more. Of course, other drivers continued to act as if they were the only ones on the roads and I continued to marvel at how they managed to get away with it. But since I was actively driving two cars – mine and theirs – my comfort level increased.
Until someone rear-ended me. And because my eyes had been glued to the road ahead, I didn’t nearly see that one coming. As typically happens when it’s the other person’s fault, my damage was greater than hers, but given that she ran into me, she immediately knew that she would be paying.
As a result of that unfortunate occurrence, I’ve developed a new set of coping mechanisms.
It’s become increasingly hard to keep my eyes from drifting from the road in front of me to look at what’s coming up behind me. But if anyone gets within 15 feet of me I’m tipping the brakes. When I’m 30 yards away from the turn I’m going to make my indicator is coming on, and my hazard lights (not my running lights) now make a permanent appearance as soon as there’s a hint of 6 o’clock shadow outside.
This kind of behaviour might be a little difficult for a learner to handle, so I know my son will understand when I suggest that he go with someone else.
This is one time when I won’t mind history repeating itself.