An open letter to students with a new carPhilippine Daily Inquirer
Dear new car owner,
School has just started and you kids are out with your new rides. From this day until about August, you will be showing off your wheels acquired after extensive groveling the past school year.
But owning a car is not a right. Like what Uncle Ben Parker [of “Spider-Man” fame] said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Please remember that your parents are not obligated to give you a car, they just gave you one from the goodness of their hearts. And they can easily remove this blessing when you do something stupid. So here are some tips that might just help you keep the privilege of driving a vehicle:
1.) Get an experienced teacher. The last thing you want is to get training from “Dumb and Dumber.” Picking up bad habits is easy when your teacher is not well experienced. A bad driving habit can make you a dangerous driver and can be very difficult to change.
2.) Always ask questions. We find that most young drivers tend to just follow what is being told and not understand the theories behind the concepts. By understanding why things are done in a certain way (like following the speed limit), drivers tend to be safer on the roads.
3.) Learn in a manual transmission vehicle. Although the trend is to go toward automatic-type vehicles, we find that drivers with a background in manual driving have more understanding and control of vehicles. It is also good to be able to drive anything that is available in the garage!
4.) Learn to drive slowly and smoothly before learning to drive fast. Nothing screams more amateur than a car that jerks and stops abruptly.
5). Learn to drive calmly. One of the most difficult things in teaching new drivers is to avoid panicking on the road. Accidents usually happen when kids panic and don’t know what to do with the pedals!
6.) Look far ahead. Have you ever followed a new driver? Does he/she tend to drive so slowly? Most new drivers tend to find things moving very quickly in the car because they look only at what is in front of the hood of the vehicle. Try to scan far ahead. Looking about 4-5 seconds forward gives new drivers more confidence because they have more time to react to what is happening in front of them.
7.) Practice, practice and practice some more. If there is a particular driving skill you are not comfortable with (e.g., hanging or parallel parking), practice. You can do this in the early morning at open parking lots and remote streets in your village. Don’t do this at night, though.
8). Don’t succumb to peer pressure. Your friends can egg you to do some really crazy stuff while driving (racing in the streets, picking up strangers). Remember when things go kaput, it’s not them who will lose their cars or driving privilege, it will be you.
9.) Set up rules with your passengers. Even people riding in the back are required to wear their seatbelts—though reminding them that may not sound cool. But it’s not cooler when your friend ends up in the windshield after an accident.
10.) Concentrate. We cannot emphasize enough that using cell phones, iPads and blasting loud music is a “no-no” while driving. If you are a new driver, the act of driving will take all of your concentration. So don’t get distracted with a call or text—you can always call or text back in a few minutes. Loud music will lessen your awareness of your surroundings, which you would need to figure out what the situation around you is.
With that, we from Tuason Racing School hope that you enjoy your privilege to drive. We are laying on you the big pressure of being a more disciplined generation of motorists, due to the education and exposure you get from your school and extensive “YouTubing.” So represent! We hope you drive well, and make your parents and Uncle Ben proud.
Tuason Racing School