Nizar al Musalmy –
On our way back from our trip into the interiors last weekend, I was late in the night and I decided to let my son, Junior drive. He had recently received his license and I took this opportunity to teach my son how to drive.
As we were driving through the dark roads, I took the chance to coach him through this new skill and give him some driving tips to help him become a better and safer driver. He reminded him that in any traffic situations, there are some things to be expected and things that are unavoidable but if once is wary of his surroundings and follows the rules. One should always keep in mind the dangers and pay heed to the movement of other cars and make sure of their surroundings.
I took the opportunity to coach him because I believed that the attributes of a good driver such as a developed sense responsibility, concentration, anticipation, patience and confidence depends on the training received early on.
Although my son was given lessons by a trained professional from a driving school, other than providing him information about car control and the rules and regulations of the roads, most trainers fail to provide a thorough understanding of driving.
Wrongly taught or lack of a thorough understanding, it could ruin a new driver’s confidence once they are on their own and in a situation that they might not be prepared for. In a sense of the saying, they are taught to ‘run before they learn to walk’. I believe it is best that the parents give the initial and post license driving training allowing the new driver to gain as such experience and understanding of the roads and traffic.
In driving, it is most important to understand your surroundings and make most of the available information. It is important to act promptly and understand the other drivers on the road, one should be able to figure out the traffic behaviour and adjust to it accordingly.
Anticipating the roads and the traffic is extremely important and the question that one must keep asking themselves — what am I likely to find, what is he going to do, should I slow down or speed up, must I stop and be sure of when to do what…
I told junior that he must always check his surroundings and since the traffic situations are constantly changing, this process of checking and rechecking must go on all the time until you reach your destination.
As an example, on a clear sunny day, a driver on a dual carriage road with moving traffic on both lanes should understand that in this scenario the traffic movement will have a tendency to continue at the same pace and speed. On this understanding has happened, then the driver can move onto shift a part of his concentration on other things such as their next junction whilst being wary of unexpected changes, ensuring that the driver is always ready for any changes in the traffic flow.
When coaching my son, I asked him to compare the above mentioned scenario to the one we were currently in. Although the roads were new and strange to him and it was close to midnight and dark, with moving traffic all running at various speeds, junior had a hard time estimating and anticipating the movement of the traffic. I comforted him that in a situation that he was new to, one must always do what is safest and most sensible. When unsure of the traffic conditions and the roads, driving slowly is a much better choice giving the driver more time to understand his surroundings.
But a driver needs plenty of practice too. Every now and then a driver must learn all driving skills – however long it takes. Here again the experience and knowledge of a good professional instructor are essential. Take care and be safe!