Driven to distraction?
PUBLISHED: 08:43 21 July 2017
If a road doesn’t look wide enough for two cars and there’s nowhere to pull over, when something comes the other way, what do you do?
I’m discussing driving with golden girl Sunny. She’s learning to drive, somewhat reluctantly, and there’s a large amount of fear involved.
We’re not talking about our rural roads, the ones where both drivers need to pull over but some barely bother, leaving you scratching your paintwork on the hedge while they zoom past without even a thank you glance.
Sunny’s talking about housing estate roads she’s been driving with her Dad. She says that with no central white lines and (after only one lesson) an uncertainty about exactly how much space her car needs, how does she know if there’s room for oncoming cars?
Good question and there are more. It’s easy for me, we’re at home and I’m not sitting beside her as she’s exploring her spatial awareness while at the controls of a potentially lethal machine.
It’s a nerve-wracking thought and huge credit to her father, no wonder he tells her 5mph is too fast to take a corner.
It makes me more understanding of my dad when I was learning to drive. He sat beside the original golden boy, my brother, on many occasions when he was learning and offered to come out with me once.
He was very quiet, but we only had a few memorable moments, one involving a very narrow bridge and another him grabbing the steering wheel when I let go in a flustered moment. He only put on the handbrake a couple of times though and I did most of my three-point turn okay.
But I wasn’t that surprised when, as we got home he said: ‘I think we can leave it to your driving instructor’ and raised his eyebrows to my mother.
But Sunny’s father is a lot chattier and Sunny’s had to renegotiated communication with him when she’s driving. She says if he’s talking when she’s thinking about mirror checks, clutch, gear, gas, signal, clutch, mirrors, handbrake, more gas, move, and whether that’s the right combination, she might snap back at him.
I think they’re learning about more than just driving with one another.