Driving lessons from Dad started very early in my life. Not that I knew he was teaching me but I sure learned a lot just observing him as he drove. The lessons were many and varied that he taught me unawares.
First lesson I learned, as I sat in the seat behind him or between Dad and Mom in the front seat, was not to follow another car. It drove him crazy to have to stay behind another car.
My Dad would talk to the driver that was driving under the speed limit even though, I finally figured out, they couldn’t hear him. He would tell them: Drive it, Park it, or Get it off the road. All the time he was talking to them he would be moving out to check around them to see if he could pass. If there was a car coming he would slide back in behind them.
Okay; so the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, I do that too. And yes I even talk to the slow driver. One of the reasons I don’t like to follow another car is I can’t see the road to know what is ahead of me because they are blocking the view.
Or maybe it comes from racing my Dad’s car when I was a senior but I like to be ahead of the other car. So as soon as I can get around someone that is driving under the speed limit I will get in front of them and get back up to the allowed speed.
Second Lesson that I learned at my Dad’s elbow in the car was speed. He had been an ambulance driver when I was little and could never seem to slow down even when he quit driving the ambulance.
I don’t remember my Dad driving anything but 80 miles an hour. That was what felt normal to him. He was a safe driver and I thought everyone drove that speed, well almost everyone. So when I started to drive in high school and got my license I wanted to drive 80 too.
Third Lesson was something he always said when Mom would question him about how fast he was going. He said that the highway patrol would not bother him going 80 if he was not weaving in and out of traffic. This was back in the 60’s and 70’s that he got away with that.
He said if you didn’t constantly whip around the car in front of you and then right back in front of them, the cops wouldn’t bother you. It must have worked for him because he didn’t get very many tickets.
Of course Mom always thought because he was a Mason had something to do with him not getting a ticket. I don’t know that to be true, but I do know he always handed his drivers license to the patrolman with the right hand which just happened to have the Masonic ring on it.
I think Mom said that the two county sheriffs and the Kansas highway patrol man that lived around our area were both Masons so who knows if that made a difference or not. He sure gave them reasons to give him a ticket that is for sure.
He did real well not getting tickets for speeding until he was 52 years old, but they had dropped the speed limit to 55 across the United States to save gas. He had two tickets by the first of September and I am sure he would have lost his license that year if he had not passed away in mid September.
Fourth Lesson he taught me was that a yellow light means to clear the intersection. Now for Dad that didn’t mean if you were in the middle of the intersection to clear it. It meant when he was coming to the intersection that he should go clear through it when it was turning yellow.
That is one lesson that I had always questioned until I learned to drive a 22 passenger bus and got my CDL. When I took the driving test I asked the gal that was riding with me, to give me the driving test, about that when I came to an intersection and the light was just turning yellow as I neared it.
She told me to keep going, don’t stop. I did as she said but it made me nervous to keep going through it. She said that semi trucks and a bus the size I was driving can not stop on a dime like a car at the intersection and that we should not try to stop.
It made me nervous the whole time I drove the bus when I came to an intersection when it was turning yellow. I would look in the mirrors to see if any one was behind me and then each side road as I sailed on through it.
I often wondered what the riders in the bus thought when I kept right on going and didn’t stop but maybe they knew I was not supposed to stop. When I am in my car now I have to watch myself to be sure that I don’t go through the yellow light because in the car I should stop.
So the four driving lessons from my Dad, I learned as I watched him drive were: 1. never follow anyone, 2. drive as fast as you can, 3. if you don’t weave in and out of traffic the police will leave you alone and 4. clear the intersection on a yellow light. To contact Sandy: [email protected]