To teen drivers: practice makes perfect

New drivers should be excited, careful when learning to handle the road

Riley Garand, Staff Writer

Remember that slow, student driver that you and your parents sat behind who always seemed to ruin your day? Don’t yell, don’t beep, because either that was you, or that’ll be you soon.

Unlike learning how to ride a bicycle, learning to drive a car does not come with training wheels; it takes practice. It’s something everyone looks forward to, and I was no exception. The first time I went out driving, I thought I would be a natural.

I was wrong.

As soon as I drove out of that parking lot, I had dropped into an environment that was very different from anything I’d ever experienced: the road. Although we see and ride on roads all the time before we drive, once behind the wheel, the road becomes a whole new place. The road is the real deal, with pedestrians, road ragers, and cops. They could care less about how experienced you are. They will beep at you, pull you over, and in some cases give you the finger, but through this all, you have to stay calm.

When I first got on the road, it felt like I was embarking to a point of no return, putting me and other drivers in danger.

Even before driving on an actual road, when practicing in parking lots with my dad and mom, I was driving slower than a ninety-year-old and breaking furiously despite my sluggish speed. I can’t even count how many people beeped at me.

You can’t practice staying calm on the road. I felt like a small kid trying to handle something meant solely for adults, but I’ve realized that this feeling is incredibly important.
I should be scared.

You can’t practice staying calm on the road. I felt like a small kid trying to handle something meant solely for adults…

Confident first time drivers out there should know something very important that I wish I knew before. You are going to make a ton of mistakes; it’s just a given.

I made tons of mistakes while driving for the first time.

My parents can attest to it; I slammed the brakes at every stop sign, I struggled to keep steady in the middle of the road, and I couldn’t stay at a good speed. One dark night I almost ran over a family of turkeys. It was a rough first week.

But that rough week, along with the excitement and anticipation of driving, helped make me a better driver. I used my excitement to get through the major mistakes I made, and still make, while driving.

In the end, the goal, like anyone who is a new driver, is to get my license. After I got my permit I wanted to drive everywhere: school, practice, New York. You name it, I wanted to drive there.

The more I drove, the more confident I became. So yes, your nerves will improve and get better. Having your permit and being able to drive isn’t all anxiety and stress.

Sure, the week-long class can feel annoying at times, but you’ll learn what you need to know. It just takes practice, and getting through the constant mistakes to get better.

Just like a sport, instrument, or even a subject you take at Algonquin, it takes practice.

However, while driving can be fun, and it does give you freedom, it is important to remember that unlike sports, music, or school, people’s lives are in our hands when we drive.

Just remember to follow the rules, be cautious, and get a lot of practice, and you’ll be fine.

But if you see a car with the student driver logo on it, don’t beep or go around. It may be one of your classmates learning something new and difficult and exciting: driving.