In the UK, a person's 17th birthday is typically celebrated by allowing them to go out and terrorise other motorists from the driver's seat of a Vauxhall Corsa. It is the magical age at which us Brits are finally allowed to take to the roads for driving lessons, and set sail to a future of unprecedented independence. That sentence sounds a bit like something someone would say during Brexit campaigning, but never mind.
I've always believed however that a person's first driving lesson shouldn't take place on the road; instead, the venue should be a local cemetery. While that may sound like a completely random location, there is ingenious method to my madness. I mean, think about it: a cemetery is the only place you can't kill anyone; they're all already dead!!
The first driving lesson however is merely the device that opens the inevitable can of worms that comes from learning to drive. Nowadays, driving properly is harder than it's ever been thanks to maniacs bereft of patience who drive like they're playing Grand Theft Auto. It's critical to drive for everybody else's mistakes: to drive thinking "what first class cunt is going to do something absolutely fucking ridiculous right now?" And for a learner, gaining that ability is a long and arduous process – if that is, the learner even has the desire to be a good driver.
Amongst learner drivers, it's common for them to set examples in their own mind to inspire them and give them hope that they will one day be a licensed driver. They will think of the millions of 24 karat gold wankers that are driving legally right now and say "well if they can do it, I'll be able to!"
I hear people say this all the time, and it's clear and worrying that they don't quite realise what they're saying. When you break the phrase down and actually isolate its true definition, you find what they're really saying is "well, they can drive – and they're shit – so if I can one day be just as shit as them, I'll be able to drive too". The subconscious meaning behind what they're saying might not be blindingly obvious – but it's one hell of a slippery slope. *racist*
Some of the people who utilise the "if they can do it..." attitude may try to pass their test by doing the minimum possible. They don't try to learn to drive – they learn to simply pass a test. They approach the job of safety checks by reciting a rehearsed box-ticking exercise, and haven't got the sense to understand why they're doing what they're doing. After all, you can tell an idiot what to do – but you can't give them a brain.
Even if you're aiming to be as good as you can possibly be however, driving around in a car with "L" Plates plastered all over it inevitably makes you more vulnerable. I for one am always very sympathetic towards learners, giving them plenty of time and space to take some of the pressure off their shoulders. It's an attitude that all drivers are supposed to emulate – but what people are "supposed" to do and what they actually do are more often than not worlds apart.
People associate a learner driver with inexperience and slowness, and as a result, it can make their impatience come racing to the surface. They'll blast on by and cut you up, because once you're behind them, you don't exist anymore. They make learning to drive much harder than it needs to be.
Learning to control a car is easy; learning to drive is more challenging; but learning to drive safely is an art to master. And it's all made much harder thanks to the worrying number of tossers that are legally out there driving about.
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Written by: Angelo Uccello
Tribe: Speed Machines
Facebook: Speed Machines - DriveTribe
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