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5 Life Lessons I Learned From Driving

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Learning how to drive is an auspicious moment in the life of a high schooler. Driving can teach you much more than the ways of the road -- from my experiences behind the wheel, I have made several observations about how the rules we follow while driving can also apply to everyday life.

Be alert. When I initially started learning driving from my dad, he spent aorund 99 percent of the time emphasizing how important staying focused on the road is. Even the slightest distraction can completely throw you off track. Not only do you have to constantly stay focused on your own driving, but also on those around you -- accidents can occur even if they are not your fault. In life, many factors beyond our control can have a huge effect on us.

Listen to your parents. When it comes to things like driving, experience is key. Your parents know much more about how cars operate (especially if it's their car, they have a much better feel of it!) Even though you might be 100 percent certain that you're a good enough distance away from that tree, if your mom is crying for you to stop and holding on for her dear life, you should probably trust her judgement. Parents are more experienced and therefore have a keener judgement of many things in life.

Don't panic. When facing stressful moments while driving, I was taught to not panic and lose control, and instead calmly slow down. This is counterintuitive, as our natural reaction is to speed up and to try to turn away from the problem. Conversely, when facing a difficult or alarming scenario, don't panic even if your gut reaction is to do so. Stop, slow down, and try and figure out the cleanest and safest way to get out of the mess.

Video games, movies, and television are not real life. No matter how good you are at Mario Kart or how many times you've watched The Fast and the Furious, driving in real life is a whole different ball game. Actors in TV shows and movies use stunt doubles and block off roads to perform their driving scenes, and in video games you're obeying a completely different set of laws. It may seem obvious, but these things are fictional; don't expect them to reflect reality.

Rules and laws exist for a reason. As I was practicing making left turns the other day, I had made a narrow turn and accidentally drove over a double yellow line. My driving instructor told me that this would be an automatic fail on the driving test. At first I was upset because I thought about how many times a day I witnessed people doing this. I soon realized that this rule was set for our own safety. Sure, a police officer won't necessarily pull over every person who forgets to looks both ways at a stop sign, but not doing so could result in harmful consequences.