Driving habits

This post is brought to you by Ice Storm Jupiter, recent conversations, and various other ideas that were floating about in my head. Sounds about par for the course with the way I write blog posts!

Last weekend, when Dina joined me in Kenosha, she pointed out that I often coasted toward stop signs, and approached them very slowly. Naturally, I have my own method of driving and don’t really question it now, but it was interesting that she brought it up.

And it led to a question: “Are driving habits formed more by one’s own experience, or from their parents or others that were there early in there driving years?”

When I started driving, my predictive abilities were not well developed. Though I never got into a crash by rear-ending someone, my Mom had to worry a lot. I would approach stop signs too quickly, and Mom would yell, “braking, braking, BRAKING, STOPPING, STOPPING!!” to me.

She probably wished that she had the auxiliary brake that is installed in student-driver vehicles.

As a result of these experiences, I feel that I have overcompensated, and start coasting long before a stop sign. Granted, this is probably the right thing to do, but it is hard to know what is “right.”

This, along with my behavior near red lights, is pretty conservative on the brake pedal. This might be an influence from my Dad, and maybe it’s aggressive at some points and conservative at others.

Speaking of my Dad, there are two other influences of him on my driving habits.

The first of those is a disdain of parking and parking lots. Dad wants the car to be absolutely silent whenever he is backing up or navigating a parking lot. Though I don’t require this, I still have some amount of fear or difficulty with parking lots. I am not very good at parallel parking, but the rearview camera has made me much more likely to succeed with that.

The second of those: Anti-Lock brakes! Actually, it was 14 years ago, nearly to this day that Dad introduced me to anti-lock brakes! He was the required adult passenger as I drove the van for a round at the hospital that he had to do. When we were on Sumner Street, there were no cars approaching or trailing, and there weren’t any parked cars around. There was ice and snow on the ground.

He barked, “SLAM ON THE BRAKES!!” because he wanted me to feel what happens when a vehicle’s anti-lock brakes engage. This made me more comfortable in future situations where I drove on ice.

With this unconnected set of anecdotes, I’d like to ask my readers: Are your driving habits similar, or significantly different from your parents’?


Spring Semester: 16 days

Road Trip: 60 days

Israel: 138 days

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