The Hindsight Notes: Drive My Car

20 Nov

The Hindsight Notes is a recurring section created for all you readers desperate to participate in THL, but lacking time to write a full letter. Each Note is composed of a question. All you need to do is answer it, in the form of a comment (below).

This week’s topic is: Driving. Or, probably more accurately, Crashing.

Remember that moment when, shaky hand on the steering wheel of your Mom’s minivan, a rotund stranger to your right shook your hand and gave you your license? Remember the joy, the freedom, the sheer, gut-wrenching terror?

Getting your license as a teenager opens so many doors. Your first parent-free road trip. Your first in-car makeout session. And, more often than not, your first accident. Whether getting your license led to bliss or disaster, we want to hear about it!

As always, I’ll start us out:


20 Responses to “The Hindsight Notes: Drive My Car”

  1. thehindsightletters November 20, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

    I got my learner’s permit shortly after my 16th birthday. I was completely terrified of the road. I am not a “driver”. I am not someone that likes to be behind the wheel. I don’t care about horsepower or torque or whatever else my husband likes to rattle on about. I have often been told that I drive like a granny. I’m okay with that.

    So, it was understandably a huge blow to my confidence when, a few weeks after receiving my learner’s permit, I got into an enormous accident. I was driving my high school boyfriend home one night, with my father in the passenger seat. We were waiting to turn left into a residential area. I had pulled my wheels into the intersection, just as my Young Drivers instructor had told me. The light turned yellow. There was a car far ahead coming our way. I started to make my left turn, with the assumption that everyone stops for red lights, and that this incoming driver must be slowing down at the sight of a yellow.

    I was wrong.

    It was a terrible accident, but miraculously everyone walked away unscathed. I learned a priceless lesson though: Never assume that anyone else on the road knows how to drive, or is paying attention. Good to know.

  2. magnolia November 20, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    my father’s admonition to me as he taught me to drive was this: “assume that EVERYONE ELSE on the road – from jesus to me and everyone in between – is the stupidest person who has ever lived.” this is the best advice ever.

    too bad i forgot it when i was driving to school to decorate for 12th-grade homecoming. i was in the left lane of a four-lane road (2 in each direction) with no turn lane. the light turned green; the people in front of me had no turn signal. “ah. clearly they’re not turning; i can change the radio station.” CRASH. turns out they were turning. not only did i rear-end the people, they swindled us out of $700 by committing insurance fraud.

    killed my car. massive bruises. oh, and it was raining. just. awful.

    • thehindsightletters November 21, 2010 at 9:46 pm #

      That’s the worst! Sounds somewhat similar to my accident. Your Dad’s advice is bang on. That is precisely what I will tell my daughter when she gets her license 🙂

  3. Anna November 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm #

    Once upon a time I had a very fast car and my stupid friends convinced me to see how fast it could go and a cop saw me and I got in big trouble. The end.

    The ticket was for 102 mph…which is where she had clocked me…but I had been going 133 before…

    My parents took the car away and I walked to and from school for the rest of my senior year. 2 miles each way.

    • thehindsightletters November 21, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

      Oh no! 2 mile walk vs. fancy car must have hurt big time 😦

    • Sandra Branum November 24, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

      You got off easy. You could have hit someone and been killed or killed someone else.

      • thehindsightletters November 24, 2010 at 9:43 pm #

        Everyone replying here is so blessed that we were as lucky as we were!

  4. Nini November 22, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

    Driving to work, first day of summer vacation, first day on the job. 8:30am. Minivan. 30 km/h. Go speed racer.

    Stop and go traffic. I apparently have difficulty with this pattern. It stopped. I went. Smash.

    7500$ damage to my dads car, 200$ to the car I hit (coincidentally an identical van only with Quebec plates).

    Better still. When the kind officer arrived to tell me I was blocking said stop and go traffic, he also asked me if I had been drinking. Uhh, no Officer, but I could really use a drink now since I just TOTALLED MY CAR!…

    315$ careless driving ticket, killed car, 2 court dates, charges dropped, very forgiving dad.

    • thehindsightletters November 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

      YOU are hilarious 🙂 Accidental wrecking of cars, not so hilarious. Holy moly, $7500! Papa Mike was most certainly forgiving 🙂

  5. classbookworm November 22, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

    My accident story is pretty boring; someone was waving/beeping to get someone’s attention about a gas cover being open (the tank was closed), she thought she had a green and missed it, and she went straight when I had a green left turn. Luckily no one was injured other than my bobble-head cow.

    My most memorable story about learning how to drive was the first time driving on a main road with my stepdad. He was not a good passenger.
    Exchange 1: “Go the speed you’re comfortable at.” “I’m comfortable going the speed limit.” “I’M not comfortable with you going the speed limit.”
    Exchange 2: “Get on your side of the road.” (I move closer to the right.) “Your side of the road.” (I move closer to the right.) “GET ON THE ROAD!” (Oh, you meant I was too close to the shoulder– why didn’t you say so?)
    Exchange 3: “You’re turning too fast! Turn on zero!”
    (next right turn) “The speedometer has to be on zero when you turn!” (Is that possible? By this time, I’m in my neighborhood and I idle home. I was literally on zero when we turn on our street…) “SLOW DOWN!”
    Fun times… fun times…

    • thehindsightletters November 22, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

      Ha! That is hilarious!! That is exactly the type of exchange that I had with my husband when he was trying to teach me to drive standard. We both decided that the best thing for our marriage was to just stop the “teaching” and buy an automatic 🙂

  6. The Original Kate November 23, 2010 at 12:49 am #

    To Fifteen: Your hopes have just been shattered. A wise woman has just told you that, no, you’re too blind to drive and you shouldn’t even bother taking the driver’s ed classes because you’ll fail the vision test horribly.

    It really was blunt. You’re not mistaken about that. I don’t even doubt you those wild sobs and honest tears at the loss of rite-of-passage. Like a monument from afar, some teenagers are offered a sight of that rite of passage from a distance and are able to pass through it however many times they want. You can only snatch glimpses at it as you’re held back by blindness.

    But girl, that woman with the flickering eyes, with one eye socket that looks like it’s been popped in too far and the eyeball sticks out? The woman who oozes confidence and know-how and connections even though she reads with her nose touching the paper? She really is wise.

    You’ll find that, in five years, you won’t be able to read street signs until they are right upon you and you’d be veering off the road to try to read every one. You’ll find that, in ten years, it takes your eyes a full thirteen minutes to adjust to the dark. You’ll also find that you enjoy the world so much more when you’re permitted to stare at it out of car windows, turned to face the door, nose against the cold glass, instead of having to concentrate on the road.

    You’ll also see that walking gives you so much more scope and you can discover details in gutters, in yards, on signs, on building fronts. You’ll find that children love the bus much more than they’d ever love the car seat.

    Children. Your children. The children you still have the ability and the mobility to raise even though you have to adjust your mentality from Soccer Mom with Van or Suburban.

    • thehindsightletters November 23, 2010 at 9:09 am #

      Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your story! So well written. I would be thrilled if you ever wanted to submit a Hindsight Letter on this topic. Would you be interested?

      • The Original Kate November 29, 2010 at 11:11 am #

        Yeah, I would; you can re-publish this as its own Hindsight Letter, if you like. And I’d like to submit letters on other topics as well. Email me for further details?

  7. Sandra Branum November 24, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    Driver’s Ed at 15. Finally took the driver’s test and got license at 21. Why so long, you ask? The driver’s ed. instructor had a very bad habit of buying hot coffee, and sitting the cup on the dashboard. Twice he got christened with hot coffee by yours truly when I pressed the gas pedal a little too hard. Shook me up so bad, I never tested for my driver’s license. Moral of story: believe in yourself and don’t let some idiot make you feel guilty about his stupidity.

    • thehindsightletters November 24, 2010 at 9:45 pm #

      It’s amazing how a bad driving teacher can frighten you off the roads! (see my comment here about my hubby attempting to teach me to drive standard 😉 ) Thanks for reading!

  8. Faith A. Geek November 25, 2010 at 2:08 am #

    I recently got my license this summer but I finished driver’s ed about two years ago. My worst memory? I was trying to get on the freeway my very first time. Going about fifteen miles per hour. I think my driver’s ed teacher swore at me that time…


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