I am currently one of the million learning drivers on the roads of Canada.
It can be challenging and tense at times to learn from a family member as daily contact with them and their driving can affect your ability to see them as a teacher.
It is also difficult to remain objective when you are teaching or being taught by a family member, as disassociating unrelated traits and mistakes can be nearly impossible.
Although my parents are both educators and experienced drivers, they have only had the opportunity to practice their driving lessons once before on my older brother, and then it was my turn.
The result is a mother who would laugh hysterically every time I stalled while trying to learn how to drive a manual transmission, and a father who, due to a major accident two years ago, has little faith in other drivers and will clutch the assistance handle above the window for the entirety of the trip.
I consider both of my parents to be good drivers, but nobody is perfect.
The National Roads and Motorists’ Association of Australia recently conducted a survey among driving lesson costumers regarding its supervising drivers.
The association found that 84 per cent of customers identified parents as the ones who taught them to drive.
Most of these supervising drivers had not studied driving skills since they got their licenses, 20 to 40 years prior.
The rules and atmosphere of the road may have changed since. This may be why half of those surveyed said that their professional instructor taught them rules that their parents were unaware of.
As well, nearly a third of the almost 900 learners between 16 and 19 reported having been taught incorrect skills and rules by their parent or supervising driver.
Although some teachers decide to address driver’s education in their classes, it is not mandatory.
The 2007 B.C. Planning 10 curriculum features important skills, such as financial planning and healthy living choices, but there is no driver’s education component.
As for the new, diversified B.C. curriculum, it still neglects this critical life skill.
Many students must postpone their driver’s tests for months and, in certain cases, over a year because they are too busy to study for their test after school.
Simply taking the time to review the lessons provided in ICBC’s Learn to Drive Smart driving guide could help students to better understand driving concepts and rules, and help them pass their knowledge and road tests.
But it may still be difficult for some to find the time to practice their road skills.
There are also situations that cannot be practiced during the day to day driving routine, such as driving in dangerous conditions and reacting to a potential crash.
Last month, while driving to school, as I turned onto Golden Ears Way, I hit a patch of black ice and started to slide towards oncoming traffic. My father clutched his handle tightly while I used the skills we had practiced in an unplowed parking lot a couple of weeks before to regain control. I’m certain my father would have been much happier if I had learned this important lesson in a safer environment.
Exposing students to realistic driving simulations in school could help them to prepare for any of the dangerous circumstances they are likely to encounter on the road.
Learning from multiple sources could also help students become better, and safer, drivers.
Bronte Miner is a student at Maple Ridge secondary.