So, it was with a bit of a harrumph and more than a bit of irritation that I signed up for a driverâ€™s refresher course.Â Not because I donâ€™t enjoy learning, or in this case re-learning, but it did mean I was old enough to qualify for a 10% insurance discount once I completed the eight-hour class.Â I still havenâ€™t made peace with the knowledge I get to live a â€œmarked-downâ€ life at this age.
The eight hours of material were split into two, four-hour nights at our local high school.Â My husband, who has taken the refresher numerous times, warned me that the class is ripe for derailment.Â â€œPeople attending like to use the class as a platform to vent about driving issues like tailgating, cell-phone use on the road, blinkers that never shut off, and why men wear two different patterns of plaid when they go golfing.â€Â Great.Â I was all a tingle.
Needing caffeine fortification if I was to survive, I bought a bladder-buster sized Diet Coke, dodged numerous teenagers oddly hanging around the high school hallways at night, and boldly strode into the room. I was ready to learn, darn it. Bring it on!
The instructor, John, was an energetic and upbeat soul.Â He assured me that I would have a great time, and regaled me with stories about how his life had landed him in his job. Â I sipped my Diet Coke and listened politely.
Honestly, after I walked away with my certificate, I realized I DID learn more than expected.Â Here are a few highlights that I feel are important to all of us out there on the highways and back roads:
–Because of the velocity (over 150 miles per hour according to John) that the airbags explode out of their compartments, it is recommended that you keep your thumbs on the steering wheel instead of wrapped around the inside of steering wheel.Â I know! It feels weird.Â However, John said if you have your thumbs inside the wheel and the airbag deploys those beloved â€œthumbs upâ€ digits will be found in the backseat.
–On the same track, he said passengers should never put their feet up on the dash or out the window.Â If the airbags go off, permanent damage will likely occur to the passengerâ€™s back and legs.
–The â€œnewâ€ thinking is a driver should have his or her hands at the 4 and 8 positions on the steering wheel instead of at the 10 and 2 as I was taught. Apparently the result is better control and maneuverability at the 4 and 8 spots.
–I canâ€™t speak to other states, but in Minnesota you cannot legally pass on the right side of a two-lane highway unless there is a passing lane in place.Â This one creeped me out because I see it happen all the time when my husband and I attempt to turn into our driveway off the highway.Â Vehicles, driving waaay too fast, zip around us on the shoulder instead of slowing behind us.Â What scares me is that we often walk our dog on that shoulder. If, for example, one of our neighbors is turning their car into the driveway, and another car attempts to pass on the shoulder where we are walking but doesnâ€™t see us untilâ€¦ well, we will be road kill.
There was lots more of course.Â I mean eight hours of information covers a lot of ground, or, road, in this case.Â All in all, I thought the time was well spent.Â Iâ€™m still peeing from all the Diet Coke, but thatâ€™s okay.
Oh!Â Not one person vented about their driving pet-peeves as my husband experienced in his classes.Â I have to take the course again in three years to continue to qualify for the 10% insurance discount, so maybe by then Iâ€™ll get the grumpy group.Â As Iâ€™m so often reminded these days, weâ€™re not getting any younger.