We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

More answers to questions from readers

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, January 26th 2018

It’s a good idea to front-load a few lessons from a professional driving instructor for a young driver who is just starting out, Steve Wallace writes.

More questions from readers:

David wanted to know the best time to start driving lessons with a new driver candidate.
Should they begin right away, or after several months of supervised practice with family members?

To avoid acquiring any bad habits, it is best to do a few lessons with a professional driving instructor before handing off to a well-intentioned co-pilot.
Front-loading a few professional lessons can be a good way to avoid the rookie mistakes of both the co-pilot and the learner.
There are two rookie mistakes that can confound the best of copilots.

The first is experienced by many learners when they start moving by manipulating the brake and keeping their foot on the brake pedal.

When they release the brake pedal, the vehicle begins to move forward, and the speed can be governed by pressing down on the brake or releasing it gently.
Leaners will often get the feeling that the brake is used to move forward, and they may quickly hit the other pedal, thinking it will be the one to stop them.
The second common mistake occurs when a learner is not confident that the vehicle is reacting quickly enough on a steering-wheel retraction after rounding a normal intersection turn.
Many believe they can correct the situation by quickly turning in the opposite direction.
To correct the situation, they often mistake the gas for the brake, with negative results.

Loretta made a great suggestion after reading last week’s column: She knows where to get see-through umbrellas.
They not only provide visibility, but also light the shaft and pointed parts of the circumference.
Check out safetbrella.myshopify.com. It is a Vancouver company, and shopping locally is an added bonus.

Marlene wants to remind drivers to retract their side-view mirrors when parallel parked at the side of the road.
This will help avoid the clipping of the mirrors by passing vehicles.
Mirrors are so much bigger these days, and are more expensive to replace.
Sometimes the replacement cost for very expensive vehicles can run into four figures.

Peter and David challenged the necessity of a shoulder check. They claim to be able to set up side-view mirrors in such a way as to eliminate the blind area.
This is done by big-rig drivers and school-bus drivers, as well.
The typical commuter can accomplish the same thing with the addition of custom mirrors.
They are correct in their assertion, except for one instance: The shoulder check is mandatory for all passenger vehicle drivers while on a practical road test.

Tacnight.ca is the website to get the night-vision glasses that I promised to track down several months ago.
A smart reader guided me to this website. These glasses work well in several types of atmospheric conditions.
Colleen was upset with provincial driver testing, which does not include a high-speed highway segment.
She believes doing a road test at speeds of no more than a 50-km/h limit and then allowing the successful candidate to drive at legal speeds of 120 km/h is a recipe for disaster.

She also believes that parents of students who take an accredited driver education program are the ones who should receive an insurance discount.
This constructive criticism was not reserved for the province alone.
Why are driving courses, which provide high-school credits, not deemed to be tax deductible?
Colleen scoffs at the idea that taking a cooking class at night school is likely deductible, but a potentially lifesaving activity is not deductible.

A vehicle crash is still the greatest cause of accidental death in our country.






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