Do you know where your car is?
Do you know where your car is? If I made you look out onto your driveway, that’s not exactly what I meant. I will see drivers hit objects on the road, including driving through the centre of a pothole or hitting poles at the local drive-thru. Why couldn’t they avoid that object or pothole? I’ve also see drivers hit things with their bumpers while parking, including other vehicles. Did they not realize their vehicle was getting too close for comfort? How good are you with judging the position of your vehicle?
At Young Drivers of Canada we do an exercise in the vehicle to allow our students knowledge of where their vehicle is within their lane. They learn to judge their front and rear bumpers and each wheel. This allows them to be able to stop before hitting the concrete block in the parking lot. It also allows them to avoid hitting objects on the road as they drive including driving into those dreaded potholes. If new drivers can benefit from this exercise, why can’t licensed drivers learn too?
Each time I watch the participants from Canada’s Worst Driver hit objects, including other vehicles, I ask myself, why wouldn’t they stop and reposition their vehicle and then try again. Maybe they didn’t realize they were as close to those other objects as they actually were. Almost each time I’m in a parking lot I see drivers taking a corner a little too close for comfort and come within inches of hitting another vehicle. Why wouldn’t they stop and reposition their vehicle?
I also watch how drivers will back out of their parking space and stop almost a full car length way from the vehicle behind them and then reposition their vehicle going forward to try to continue to get out of their parking space. They did the right thing, sort of, by stopping before they hit the vehicle, but they were never really that close to the vehicle to begin with. They too didn’t know where their vehicle was but at least they avoided hitting something.
If you learn to judge where your front wheels are located, you will have better control over your vehicle. Every now and then my sons will want to test my own driving ability. They’ll place a paper cup upside down on the road and see if I can hit it with my tire. I usually do and explain that I know where the wheels are so I can avoid debris on the road and save my tires from damage and also my suspension from undo wear and tear.
So, how can you the licensed driver learn how to judge where your bumpers and tires are while you’re driving? It’s easy actually. Go to a quiet parking lot with empty parking spaces and try to line up the parking space lines with your bumpers and wheels. Once you’re successful, look to see where the vehicle is located in reference to the lines so you can judge it again. Doing this a few times will help to test your understanding of knowing where our vehicle is compared to objects on the road.
Not only will this exercise give you more control over your vehicle, it will also give you the needed confidence to become a better driver…and that’s not just a line.