- Photo Sourced from Samuel Foster on Unsplash

Conversation Thread: What Were Your First Moments Behind The Wheel Like?

1w ago


The first time you get behind the wheel of a car can be very daunting. You're suddenly in control of a roughly 3,000-pound machine filled with enough power to kill you, and the only thing that is stopping you from going to the big scrapyard in the sky is you, and in some cases a suite of safety features. Remember back to a time when you had no concept of power, or much car knowledge at all. The only thing that might have been drilled into your head at the time was that PRNDL (pronounced "Prindle") stood for Park Reverse Neutral Drive and Low, thanks Mr. Moseby.

I took my driving lessons in a white 2010 Hyundai Elantra that had about 130 horsepower and I thought it was the most powerful thing on the planet. During my driving lessons, my instructor made me drive to his house because he forgot paperwork for other kids that were taking their lessons after me, so I had to wait in the car, parked outside his house for fifteen minutes while he went inside. I remember thinking to myself that I would be a worse driver because I was wasting precious minutes behind the wheel parked on the side of the road.

My driving test was hilarious, because in the US, specifically New Jersey, it is required that the vehicle you take your test in has a center mounted parking brake. That is because a bunch of road tests are out on actual roads, while some of them used to be on closed courses as well. Anyway, the only vehicle at the time that I could use was my Dad's 2007 Nissan Maxima. I had barely gotten to drive my Dad's car at all before the road test so I was a nervous wreck, and the icing on this cake of nightmares, was actual ice! It had started snowing before we left for the test, and I called the DMV to make sure I could still take the test.

Accurate representation of what it felt like driving in the snow for the first time - Photo Sourced from Håkon Sataøen on Unsplash

By the time I had gotten to the course, about two inches of snow had blanketed the single-lane roadways and my Dad's 255-horsepower silver bullet of a car had already lost traction from its aging Turanza tires, still I pressed on. Thank the driving gods for traction control, because with every press of the throttle I had to fight the front end from sliding around. The examiner was giving me all sorts of looks because of the lack of grip and I had this expression on my face that said, "Go ahead, try and tell my father that something is wrong with his car."

I wound up getting my license, but I was absolutely horrified my first few times behind the wheel. Now I take corners in my land-yacht with enough body roll that my car looks like the Leaning Tower of Piza, while stuffing my face with Wawa's finest cuisine.

So my question to all of you is, what were your first moments behind the wheel like? What do you remember thinking? Did you remember the PRNDL? Comment Below!

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