Are you a believer?
I believe that we all have beliefs. Do you believe me? When we were kids we believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and perhaps even the tooth fairy. As time went on we stopped believing in those things and we started to believe in other things. We will believe in our own religion, our own abilities and the abilities of our family and friends. It’s our belief that keep us doing the same things all the time and that keeps us strong. Every now and then we find that we need to change our beliefs and do something different based on new information. Do you believe what I’m saying?
As a driving instructor with Young Drivers of Canada, I must believe in what I’m teaching because it would be extremely difficult to teach someone a skill if I didn’t believe in it myself. I also have to try to get my students to believe in it as well. Once you believe, you can turn that belief into a habit. For example, if you believe that rear crashes are a high risk, which they are, you’ll do what it takes to avoid being hit from behind. If you believe that drivers don’t always check their mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes, you’ll do what it takes to avoid sitting in a position that makes it possible for other drivers to hit your vehicle.
Recently my son and wife were making fun of me, which doesn’t seem to take much these days. They were saying how if I was the last person on earth I would still check my mirror before slowing. I would probably still signal every turn and I wouldn’t park at the end of the row in a parking lot in case someone cut the corner and hit my vehicle. Even though I was the last person on earth? Is it a belief, a habit or foolish of me to do those things? The funny thing was I couldn’t argue with them. I probably would do those things out of habit and my beliefs. Oh, and I’m pretty sure I would come to full stops at stop signs as well. But why do those things if I was the last person on earth?
Some beliefs go deep within your heart and other beliefs come from your mind. However, a belief can change based on facts and examples. Years ago I had a student who didn’t believe that a blind spot check before turning was necessary. He didn’t believe a pedestrian or cyclist would try to run across at the last moment, especially when we were sitting in plain view in the intersection waiting for our opportunity to make the left turn at the traffic lights.
However, I had the opportunity to show the student why it was important when we witnessed a cyclist almost get hit by another driver turning left at lights just ahead of us. My student immediately believed me after seeing it with his own eyes. For the remaining time I spent with him, he checked his blind spot before turning from a stopped position. He became a believer in our system and all it took was one opportunity to “sell it” to him.
So what would it take to make you a believer? Do you have to see it to believe it? Do you need statistics to make you a believer? Are you too stubborn to change without proof? Open your eyes and mind to new ways and research and listen to the professionals. To make our roads safer we need you all to believe that you all have a part in the process. Please believe me.