Does it make a difference?
I was involved again with the Discovery Network’s hit series Canada’s Worst Driver, for my third year in a row. The vehicles we use on the show are a little older than a lot of the vehicles on the road these days, but that’s because they cost less and these drivers tend to beat them up a bit. I’ve often thought if these vehicles were the participant’s own vehicle, would they treat them any differently? How do you treat a vehicle that isn’t your own?
I know for a fact that when I’m teaching students in my car they are afraid to damage my vehicle. They’ve told me that more times than I can remember. I feel that’s out of respect. Some of the drivers in past episodes of CWD couldn’t care less. Just because the vehicle was 10 years old or so, doesn’t mean they could bang it again other objects, does it? These vehicles belong to someone else. They need to show their respect.
Growing up and driving my dad’s car, he made it very clear to me that if he found out I was driving his car without due respect; he wouldn’t let me drive his car again. I believed my dad and why wouldn’t I? My dad knew a lot of people who knew what his car looked like. It was a big, brown station wagon with paneling on the side, and rust. Okay, the rust wasn’t always there, but it was certainly a recognizable car. This taught me how to respect other people’s vehicles. It was either that, or buy a good pair of walking shoes. I was also afraid of getting caught!
Recently, I saw a couple of young people driving a very expensive vehicle. I was pretty certain it belonged to one of their parents. They were taking corners way too fast and squealing their tires leaving stop signs. What if they lost control and hit something? Would their parents shrug it off and say it was no big deal? I doubt it. To me, this shows lack of respect, not only to the vehicle owner, but for themselves and other road users.
In season 2 of CWD, one of the participants had a habit of damaging the cars so much, that he was expelled from the show. He tended to steer and accelerate into objects. If he bumped into something, he didn’t stop and reposition his vehicle, he steered toward it and gunned the gas! Expelling him was the easiest way to stop him from damaging someone else’s vehicle. Too bad it doesn’t work in life. But wait, maybe it does. Before you loan your vehicle to someone, determine if they are responsible enough to do drive it. Ensure they understand that if they damage it, they pay for the repairs.
I try to send this message to all of my students. I tell them; “Think of this car as your own. Just don’t sell it!”