The Perks of the Passenger Seat

February 14, 2011
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Driver’s Education is when most teenage drivers realize whether or not they are good drivers or if they are a hazard to everyone else on or near the road. For me, riding in the backseat of a Driver’s Ed car with Neil Flattery driving was a scary, life-altering experience.
It was our first day behind the wheel with an instructor. It was a hot summer day, while driving, and I had just gotten out of the driver’s seat to let Neil take a shot at driving our Dodge Stratus. Right of the bat, Neil was forced to check his blind spot over his left shoulder. Traveling at approximately 35 miles per hour, Neil turned his head and managed to crank the steering wheel to the right propelling the car over the curb and began driving on the grass next to the sidewalk. Our instructor, Dave, was yelling at Neil while stomping both feet on his instructing brake. I was sitting in the back seat not knowing what to do or say. I guess you could say I was speechless. Luckily, Dave had the instinct of a mongoose and hit the brake as soon as Neil began turning the car because if he hadn’t the car would’ve collided head on with a telephone pole. This specific situation gave me a great appreciation for the liberty to be able to walk on the sidewalk with safety. Being a pedestrian is one thing too many people take for granted.

All the other times I rode with Neil were too close for comfort as well. I felt as if I was toying with death by being in the back seat with Neil driving. We almost had a head on collision the second day of driving due to Neil’s lack of attentiveness. Also, we almost rear-ended other vehicles every day it seemed. Lastly, we were mere inches from going into a ditch on a gravel road on our way to Dakota City. Our instructor, Dave, lived in Dakota City and made it clear that it and Humboldt are very different. Neil was going 60 miles per hour on the gravel and came up to a turn and must’ve forgot to slow down. Dave was forced to slam on his instructor’s brake once again in order to save three lives. After completing each driving each driving session I would notice the little things in life that a person doesn’t normally notice. The aroma given off from the pine trees, the sound of running water, the sound of children laughing, and many other perks I began to feel grateful for.

It is the little things in life that a person may not notice and be thankful for until your own life flashes before your eyes. It is sad to say that it took Neil’s horrendous driving for me to have such a life changing experience. I am forever thankful for the experience, but I do not plan on getting in a car when Neil is the driver for quite some time.

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