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Traffic Talk: In summer, many new drivers leave training, hit the road

By DON GAMMILL Published: July 24, 2012
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Think back to when you first began driving. Remember how excited you were?

It may be that you just slid in behind the steering wheel and turned the key as Dad, Mom or some other licensed driver rode shotgun on the passenger side.

Or maybe it was taking your turn in driver's ed, with the instructor beside you, watching every move.

“Adjust your seat, fasten your seat belt,” the instructor says. “Adjust your mirrors and make sure the vehicle is not in gear. Now, put the key in the ignition.”

Finally, you're ready to start the engine and drive, right?

“Stop!”

And you did ... quickly hitting the brakes as your heart bumped up against your chest wall.

“Did you check around you in all directions? Did you signal or need to? Are you actually ready to go?”

You thought: “Well, I would be, if you would quit barking orders at me.”

It wasn't that the instructor didn't like you. It was a matter of preparation. You have to be prepared.

My granddaughter, who now is driving, told me recently that one of the toughest things she had to do before she got that all-important permit was wait. She and her dad, my son, apparently sat in line two hours at a Department of Public Safety office before she walked out with her permit.

I told her that was not unusual these days, particularly in the summer months, when so many young people are either going for their permits or for a new license. There are literally thousands more potential drivers out there than when I went through the process. My wait was measured in minutes, hers in hours.

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