Practice the skills to get you there..

  • December 10, 2011

Look where you want to go.  We’ve established it as a good idea for driving and a good idea for life.

For all the looking you do, it will not be helpful unless you have the skills to take you where you’re looking.

Canada’s Worst Drivers regularly smash into obstacles in front, behind, and to the left and right of themselves.  Sometimes the show gets criticized for putting the drivers into an impossible situation that is far and beyond the capabilities of a typical driver.

How often do you think of yourself in a situation you feel you can’t get out of?  How often do you worry about being stuck in an impossible scenario with no solutions in sight?

During the show, we occasionally hear the bad drivers say that the lane is too narrow, there’s just not enough space to drive safely, it’s too tight to turn around.  The beauty of the show is that Andrew Younghusband drives each challenge first to prove that it can be done, but also that it’s just a condition that any driver may find themselves in while driving.  When you’re driving in the real world, you don’t always have the choice of just pulling over and quitting.  You’re going to have to drive and adapt to the circumstances on the road at any particular moment.

During the show, I just wish that some of the drivers would stop the car, walk around it and look at the obstacles, think about the best way to escape the allegedly impossible scenario.  Rather than sit in the car and frustratingly struggle for an hour, if they’d think about it for an hour and perhaps come up with a way out it may happen safely and smoothly when they succeed.

Oh, but don’t I just know what it’s like to sit behind the wheel and feel there is no way out at all.  The frustration and desperation of being willing to try anything to escape masks the better solution of analysis and figuring out what gives the best chance of success.

That really is the best approach, though.  Take the time to figure out your situation.  Make a plan.  Follow through with your plan.  Analyze your results, think about what happened and how to apply it the next time around.

So those impossible courses and scenarios the Canada’s Worst Driver team sets up:  Remember that they’re done in a safe environment with trained professionals to both teach the drivers and keep them safe.  You and me on the real roads, we don’t have that luxury.  We don’t want to get in over our heads and have to struggle to get out of a bad situation.  Instead, we need to learn early and often.  Every moment you get behind the wheel of a car, you should be thinking about what you’re learning about how to control a vehicle better.

Your driving today is teaching you more skills that will serve you tomorrow.

We know this, it’s obvious!  As we get more experienced, our insurance goes down.  Teen aged drivers have a terrible record that we expect to improve over the years.  The best drivers tend to be the people who are driving the most.

We know we can’t stop.  As we get older our reaction times increase while our vision and strength decrease.  We need those better driving skills for when our bodies start to let us down.

Move it from the background of your driving to the foreground.  We don’t have a Canada’s Worst Driver Wonderland where we get to practise our skills.  But we do get a chance to improve our driving each and every time we get behind the wheel.  Put that into the forefront of your driving and intentionally think about how your driving can improve when you’re behind the wheel.

And if “Look where you want to go” is an analogy for life, isn’t this entire entry an analogy about how we ought to live?