How NOT to park
Photo by Todd Dwyer on Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

As a follow-up to last week’s post, “Life Lessons from Driving in Snow,” I thought I’d continue on the topic of driving and give you the best driving tip I’ve ever heard.

I learned this valuable piece of advice from watching the TV programme, “Canada’s Worst Driver.” There are various iterations of this show around the globe: perhaps your country has something similar. These “worst driver” shows are often hilarious but are also educational. You can learn a lot about how not to drive from atrocious drivers.

Before I present the best driving tip of all, here are some memorable examples of appalling driving as reported by driving instructors:

During a driving lesson on the highway, one young woman asked the instructor if she could pass the truck in front of them. He said that would be fine. He suddenly had to grab her hand in alarm, however, as she tried to shift the car into park while driving at 60 mph. It turned out she thought “P” stood for “Pass”!

Another young woman was taking her driving test and was told to make a right from the Department of Motor Vehicles’ driveway onto the street. Somehow her right turn turned into a complete U-turn: she mounted the curb and crashed into the DMV building itself.

One driving instructor taped plastic fruit to the dashboard of the driving school’s car. The reason? One of his middle-aged students had trouble telling right from left, and the frustrated instructor discovered it was easier to simply tell her to “turn toward the banana/grapes.”

Finally, there was Edna, who insisted on learning to drive at age 84. Three hundred lessons and 13 failed driving tests later, she finally passed her driver’s exam. The following week she rear-ended a truck.

Edna’s instructor had to keep his hand on the steering wheel during most of her lessons to prevent collisions. Edna had a habit of turning wherever she looked, and that was often towards pedestrians.

Which brings me to the best driving tip I learned from “Canada’s Worst Driver”: “Look where you want to go.” This tip is considered so important that it’s a constant refrain on the show.

It almost sounds too simple to be useful, but the concept is used by professional drivers around the world. Race car drivers know that your car will usually end up where your eyes are looking.

Why? Because if you’re distracted by looking at something off to your left side while driving straight, your arms unwittingly turn left too, and with them the steering wheel. You’ll find that you’re inadvertently steering your car in the direction of your gaze.

This rule really comes into its own when you want to avoid a collision. So often we fixate our gaze on an upcoming obstacle instead of looking for a way out of the impending crash. The result is that our car heads in the direction we’re focussed on, and we plow straight into a pole or another car. In psychology, this tendency is called “target fixation,” and contributes to many collisions which could have been avoided.

Instead of fixating on what your car is about to collide with, look where you would rather go. Seek an open space to steer toward; focus on a way out and your hands will naturally turn the steering wheel to go where you’re looking.

We can also apply the advice to “look where you want to go” to spiritual matters.

If it seems like your life is about to become a wreck, try not to fixate on your problems or obstacles. Turn your attention onto Jesus instead; He’s not just your Saviour but is also your example. Focus on what He taught us about how to live a good life, and you’re less likely to crash.

And while travelling through your life’s journey, you should always keep an eye on your ultimate destination: Heaven. Don’t fixate on this temporary life here on earth, because it will soon be over. Look where you want to go, Heaven, and store up treasures for yourself there. Focus on doing things here that will have a lasting impact for eternity.

Keep your gaze focussed on Jesus, believe in Him, and when this life is over you can join Him in Heaven.

In driving and in life, look where you want to go, and that’s where you’ll end up.

© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

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