It’s been a couple years since I took my driver’s test (okay, maybe more like 13 years, 9 months, and 15 days, give or take), so when I was invited to take part in CAA’s Road Test Revival, a little nervousness was mixed in with my eagerness. Like all men, I know I’m an amazing driver. But I’ll admit, I wasn’t entirely sure my reflexes were as razor-sharp as they once were, or that my memory of all the rules hadn’t become slightly cloudy with the passage of time. Besides, we all get a little lax in our habits over the years, don’t we?
Brushing up on the rules of the road every once in awhile is absolutely necessary. It’s easy for bad habits creep in over time, especially since you probably learned them when texting wasn’t even a thing. So I fully committed to soaking in all the learning the CAA instructors had to offer in the three skills they focused on:
I knew it wasn’t actually legal to use someone’s driveway to complete a three-point turn, it was something that nearly failed me on my original driving test. What I had become totally lax on, was checking my blind spots at each point of the turn. Use yer peepers!
Reverse Into Parking Spots
I think this point is absolutely imperative when you’re in a kid-heavy area, like a school parking lot. It’s not as practical when you’re grocery shopping in a hatchback car, at Costco, on the Friday before a long weekend, when every second counts or you won’t get a spot. But still – safety over convenience, I get that.
The benefits are many: better visibility, easier exiting the spot, and far easier access if you end up needing a boost or tow from your spot.* This hit home so much that I applied it the next day when I picked up the kids from school.
* The towing comment doesn’t apply equally to rear-wheel drive cars. Also, some cars actually have the battery in the trunk (e.g. many BMWs). But generally this is true.
I think living in the ‘burbs, we often lose this skill. Parking lots are plentiful in our neck of the woods, and it can be intimidating for some when they are forced to parallel park. But it’s such an important skill to keep!
You’ll need a spot that 1.5 times the length of your vehicle to be sure you’ll fit in, and make sure you signal to let the rushed drivers behind you know what you’re about to do.
Make sure you check for pedestrians, too!
I’m pretty proud to say (to everyone who will listen) that I rocked the written test (90%), and smoked the road tests, too. I guess my reflexes haven’t become quite so dull, after all. How would you fare?
As a parent, I urge you to check out the CAA Driver Training courses for any teens you have in the house nearing driving age. Taking the course means they can fast-track their G2 licensing process by 4 months, which is good for them, and (more importantly) they’ll be safer drivers, which is good for you! With more than 18.5 million vehicles on the road in Canada, you need your family to know the rules of the road, how to be safe drivers, and to understand how to avoid collisions.
As a Registered Insurance Broker, I think you should also consider the savings you’ll likely receive when your fresh-faced driver gets insured, as there are often healthy discounts for new drivers that have completed driver training courses.
Why not check out CAA’s Tear-Up-The-Tuition Contest running until November 30, 2014? Students registered for the CAA How to Drive Course at any ADSN location can enter to win back their CAA How to Drive Course tuition, or win an $200 Apple Store® gift card, a choice of $75 CAA Rewards Partner gift cards, or a Cineplex Great Escape Package.
Disclosure: I got paid some money to attend the event and write about it. They also gave me some nifty swag (flashlight, water bottle, and some auto-themed stress-balls). And! I got a yummy lunch. Just thought you should know so this is on the up-and-up.