Between the ages of 18 and 24 years old (statistically the most likely period for a male driver to be killed on the road, a fact of which I was blissfully ignorant at the time) I was a white van courier, happily being paid by the mile and constantly battling against the clock; not a great combination!
Thankfully I, and everybody else, survived it and when I entered the driver training industry in 1999, whilst I may have already amassed something like 300,000 miles thus far, I was about as far from ‘correct’ in my driving style as it was possible to be. And like many of my clients, my only previous experience of driver training was in preparation for my Driving Test, and the overly prescriptive thinking that often goes with it; let me give you a couple of examples.
You should never cross your arms when steering and, always leave enough room in front whenever you stop in traffic, so that you won’t be pushed into the vehicle ahead if you are hit from behind. Sound familiar?
Firstly, my specific problem with these statements is the presence of the words ‘always’ and ‘never’.
I am of the opinion that’ always’ and ‘never’ represent a potential blockage to open mindedness, it may be true that I would take a certain approach 999 times out of 1000, but doesn’t that make the one-in-a thousand rather more intriguing? Such rarity must make that possibility easy to dismiss or overlook, which could one day be a problem.
So what should we do, or not do, when we’re driving? What makes drivers say ‘I always do this, or I never do that’? Can I conceive a scenario where the opposite will be true? These are the types of questions I like to consider, they help me expand my creativity.
So as a natural cynic myself your own scepticism is welcome.