Driving with Dad

Since we just celebrated Father's Day, it seemed like an apt time to talk about how great Dad's can be. They teach us how to ride our bikes, burp the alphabet and how to change a car tire (but don't try swearing the same way they do throughout the process--my dad didn't appreciate that, not even in jest).

One of my favourite memories is Dad teaching me how to drive. He had a style of driving all his own, which he was more than ready to pass onto me. He drove us down to the Kmart car-park on a Sunday afternoon and we switched places. I put the car in first gear and bunny hoped across the white lines to Dad's staggered cursing. His thick fingers dug into the dash-board as he grumbled, "Release the clutch, release the clutch, no! No! Gently!"

Somehow, with Dad's vague instructions and my short temper I learnt to drive. Before the big driving test I booked in with a professional driving instructor, to polish up my driving skills. The driving instructor was not prepared for the driving style I'd acquired.

5 Things to avoid with your driving instructor

1. Turning off the car engine to save petrol

Imagine my surprise when the power steering locked because I'd turned off the engine to save petrol, something my dad insisted on. The instructor looked ready to die as she screeched, "Turn the engine back on! Turn the engine back on!"

2. Stopping between the boom gates in a panic, as a train hurtles toward you

Clearly Dad didn't teach me how to do that. It was just an automatic panic response when the boom gates began to lower. My driving instructor just about peed her pants as she screamed, "Drive! Drive! Drive!"

3. Changing gears in a roundabout

Dad taught me to always be in second gear when I drove through a roundabout, if I was driving too fast, I would just change the gears en route. 
The driving instructor freaked out, "You can't change gears in the roundabout, what if someone hits you? You'll be out of control."
To which I responded, "Why would anyone hit me?"
"Just don't do it," she said exasperated.

4. Don't forget to push the brake after you've parked the car

If you forget to hit the brake, the car will mount the curb, your instructor will yelp, and it's an automatic driving test fail. Fortunately I didn't mount the curb completely and my driving instructor talked the tester around, so I managed to pass, but it was close.

5. Doing a nine-point-reverse-parallel park

Dad never told me it was a three-point-park. I don't think I've ever even see my dad did a three-point park. 


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