Are you an open-minded skeptic?
I spend so much of my time teaching people, whether it’s new drivers, new instructors, new classroom teachers or even kids in sports, it’s always an eye-opening experience. I enjoy this part of my life very much, but sometimes I find people aren’t ready to learn new things. It’s always difficult to teach someone who doesn’t want to learn. They are often stubborn and set in their ways. Are you ready to learn? Are you open-minded enough to learn something new? Or maybe you’re a stubborn driver?
As licensed drivers, we often feel that we know enough about driving to drive safely for the rest of our lives. That’s not anywhere close to being a true statement. We always need to be open-minded enough to learn new things. Leave your ego and pride at home and open your mind to new driving skills and techniques. I was recently speaking with someone who said he was learning a few things from his daughter who had recently taken driver training at one of our Young Drivers of Canada locations. What she had shared with her dad were things he had never heard of in his 20 plus years as a driver. She was taught how to avoid rear crashes and also how to avoid getting hit by drivers in the next lane. Should he ignore the tips and advice that his daughter gave him, or should he try to use the same techniques she was taught as a new driver? What would you do if you were in the same position as this experienced driver?
For example, my dad was taught how to pump the brakes to stop quickly in an emergency. It was a technique that was taught to drivers many years ago and for it’s time frame, it was what you were supposed to do. Now its threshold braking; braking hard enough to almost lock your wheels provided you don’t have ABS. It creates a quicker stopping distance under a controlled environment. If the driver can open their mind to new techniques and have them compare the differences from older technique to the new one, they can decide for themselves which technique works the best. Drivers need to trust the advancement of new techniques and technology.
During each year that I was involved with Discovery Network’s series Canada’s Worst Driver I always had resistance from the participants on the show when I wanted to show them how to drive differently and safely. They often refused the training that I was offering them and for those who did take it, didn’t like the changes. They didn’t like to be told they weren’t doing things correctly. Maybe this was one of the reasons they were on the show. I said it then and I’ll continue to say it, I can’t teach you if you don’t want to learn. It’s okay to be skeptical; just be an open-minded skeptic. This means, you can doubt that something will work, but be open-minded enough to at least give it a try.
I once had a parent of one of my students who thought what we were teaching at Young Drivers of Canada was good, but that we had a couple of strange techniques that he thought were useless. When I asked him why he thought this way, he just replied “Just because they are.” That’s not a reasonable excuse now, is it? When I continued this discussion with him lesson after lesson, I found out that he was afraid to try new things. He had a fear of failure. He wanted to continue to do his “old way” because that’s what he knew. If he didn’t try new things, he couldn’t fail at them. There are many people who feel this way but who are they trying to fool? Deep inside their mind, they must know that new techniques can’t all be a bad thing, right?
I offered to take him in the car to show him how to do what his son was doing and he refused yet again. I really wished he could open up so he could take advantage of this information. I could only imagine what it would be like if he was this stubborn at his job. If they brought in new technology would he refuse to use it? Could that stop him from moving up the corporate ladder?
Educating our mind keeps us fresh with new technology and techniques. Learning something new and trying it over and over again will give you a new perspective on your driving. It may even help you enjoy a part of driving you never enjoyed before. What have you got to lose? Just your older habits.