This month’s blog post comes to us from the talented and prolific Scott Marshall, who is director of training for Young Drivers of Canada and founder of The Safe Driver blog. We are honored to have him share his thoughts on the pitfalls of driver mentality changing over the years.
Let’s face facts; life is busy. We know that. We fill our lives with our jobs, family, friends, and adult responsibilities each and every day. It’s sometimes difficult to focus on the things we need to because we’re so busy. We also tend to take many things for granted. With so much on our minds as the days pass, it’s sometimes tough to realize how much we’ve changed over time, especially when driving is concerned. How much has your driving mentality changed over the years?
Learning to drive is a big step for many people. It gives them the opportunity to travel to more remote areas, obtain employment, and live their lives with more conveniences in this fast-paced world. But with the years passing us by, how much has your driving mentality changed? Has it changed for the better or the worse?
When most people learned to drive, they kept two hands on the wheel, they looked out for the other driver, and, for the most part, followed the rules of the road. As I watch many drivers over the years, I see most of these things changing. To those who make these changes to their driving mentality, I ask this question: why?
As time goes by, we tend to get a little sloppy with things. Do you check your mirrors as often as you should? Do you make quality turns, or do you cut the corners? What about full stops at stop signs? Do you speed up toward a red light? Has your mentality changed from doing things safely to “it’s close enough that I won’t get a ticket”?
If something goes wrong, do you blame someone else, even though you know deep down that you screwed up? I doubt you started your driving career like that. It’s time to think back to the beginning. It’s time to take ownership of your own actions. No one really belongs to the “It won’t happen to me” club. In fact, it can happen to you if you’re not careful.
I remember speaking with a former student a few years after I taught them to drive. I asked them if they were still driving the way I had taught them. They smiled and said “Yes. Why wouldn’t I? Why change something that works?” Sound advice, don’t you think?
A responsible driver respects themselves, their vehicle, their passengers, and other road users. It has to change from being a “me – me” attitude. Following rules, being safe, and taking your time while on the road will get you to your destinations safely. It will also help other road users reach their destinations safely. Driving is a journey, not a race. Take the time to enjoy it—safely.
Scott Marshall is director of training for Young Drivers of Canada and started in road safety in 1988. He was a judge during the first three seasons of Canada’s Worst Driver on Discovery Network. Scott started writing columns on driving for his community paper in 2005. Since then, his columns have been printed in several publications, including newspaper, magazines, and various websites. You can visit his own blog at http://safedriving.wordpress.com and follow him on Twitter @SafeDriver.