Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Life in the safe lane

On the website, we’ve suggested going back to school as one strategy for restarting. Well, I took my own advice recently and went back to school, although it wasn’t exactly what I originally had in mind.

It was driving school – a course for seniors whose skills behind the wheels may be slipping.

It was a pretty thorough refresher course, lasting about 2-1/2 hours and covering freeway, residential and downtown traffic.

I was encouraged to take this course by my wife, who sees my driving habits from the passenger seat and has a much more objective view of my abilities than I do. So while I was initially skeptical, it turns out she was right – the course did show me several areas where I can definitely improve, and underscored the fact that I am not the Mario Andretti that I used to be.

For example, glancing in the rear view mirror regularly to see who or what is behind you and what they are doing – closing on you, passing on the right or left, etc. It’s a way of staying mindful of your total environment. I wasn’t doing it often enough.

Another example, when exiting the freeway: don’t step on the brake pedal while you’re still in freeway traffic. Just take your foot off the accelerator, slow down to make the exit ramp, then apply the brakes. Putting on the brakes on the freeway may slow you down too fast and it also sends what could be an alarming signal to the car behind you.

And looking in the right hand side mirror (and turning around to look) before turning  right at a stop sign or traffic light – there may be a bicyclist or skateboarder slipping up beside you.

So, steering out of denial and into the safe lane. The life I save might be yours – or mine!