Driving can be related to…
I’ve coached kids in a number of sports over the years. A few years ago I was coaching my son’s hockey team. During one of the practices I noticed a few of the players weren’t following through with their shots. When I asked them to follow through, they looked a little confused. I asked if they played baseball and they all said they did. I asked when they swing at the pitch do they stop their bat once they hit the ball or do they continue following through. They all said they continue through with their swing. Once they answered, they realized they needed to follow through after hitting the puck; which allowed the puck to travel further and harder. Relating something new to something they have done previously helped their understanding. Can these methods help pedestrians to better understand how to drive a vehicle?
When I’m teaching students from Young Drivers of Canada, I will often relate driving to walking, riding a bike and sports. Hand/eye co-ordination works in all of these activities, just like it needs to work with driving. The general rules of the road are also similar between pedestrians and drivers. For example, before crossing the street as a pedestrian you’ll tend to look to see if it’s clear first; even though the crosswalk symbol is saying “walk”. Why not do the same thing when the traffic light is green? Remember, red lights don’t stop vehicles; drivers stop vehicles. Checking to see if it’s clear for the same reasons makes sense to these new drivers. How about you?
Since driving is done with your eyes; with hands and feet being tools for your eyes, it’s important to “aim” your vehicle where you want to go. I use the example of playing sports with my students. If you want to shoot a basketball, you need to aim at the basket. If you want to shoot a hockey puck, you need to aim at the opening in the net. When I coached soccer, I stood in the centre of the goal and asked the kids to score on me. To make it easier for them, I wasn’t going to move from the centre of the net. Most of the shots hit me because they were looking at me. When I showed them to look into the opening, they scored.
Driving is the same. Look and aim where you want your vehicle to go and it will make it there. Look at an object and your vehicle will go there. It’s referred to as ‘target fixation’. Many of my students have said they become a better cyclist and pedestrian once they learn how to drive a vehicle. Why not? They’re all quite similar in thought.
Using the same knowledge that you have for sports, riding a bike and walking will help you drive smoother and gain enough common sense knowledge that every driver needs. Doesn’t this make it easier to drive, knowing you already have some of the knowledge you need? All you have to do is give some thought to what you already know and ask yourself; does it relate to driving?