A lot of things have changed since the days of Driving Miss Daisy and nothing points that out faster than taking a driver safety course.
In Carpenter Country a reminder from the insurance company informed the short one it was class time again. She braced herself for eight hours of boredom. What she got was a memory jog and quite a bit of new information.
The first eye opener was a page featuring unlettered road signs. What does a yellow diamond mean? How about a horizontal blue rectangle? Or a fluorescent yellow-green pentagon–which brought worried looks that eased into sighs of relief when the instructor said, “Relax. It’s a new sign.”
The following sections of the book included many different techniques and strategies: Keep your eyes moving. Expand your field of vision. Always signal your intentions. Continuously monitor your position in traffic. Plan an escape route.
Next up was the correct way to wear a seat belt, a tip about calling 677 if you were ever pulled over by an unmarked police cruiser, and a quick rundown on new vehicle technology. After a short quiz, the course was over.
As the room emptied, a voice in the crowd remarked, “I think cars are so dangerous.”
Everybody agreed. And that’s when the short one remembered her father-in-law’s long-ago reply to an identical statement.
“It’s not the car,” he’d said with a chuckle. “It’s the nut that holds the wheel.”