What Driving Advice Would You Give Your 16-Year-Old Self?

Photo:  DavidPrahl (Getty Images)
Photo: DavidPrahl (Getty Images)

Do you remember your first time behind the wheel? The first time you shifted the driver’s seat so you could comfortably reach the pedals? The first time you placed your hands at 10 and two? Were you nervous? Excited? Overly-confident in your own abilities?

Chances are, in those early months of driving, you did something wrong. You sped, you caused a fender-bender, you ripped your front bumper off on a curb — we all make mistakes. But what if you could go back? Warn yourself? Have as many bones as a baby? What advice would you give your sixteen-year-old self about driving?

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My advice would be of the avoiding-a-particular-fault variety. I got my first speeding ticket in high school, traveling 83 miles an hour in a 55 zone westbound on I-84. I was headed towards my high school, over the summer, to play a board game with my D&D party and math teacher. I was incredibly cool. But, as I drove along in the left lane, I saw blue and red lights appear in my rear-view mirror. I began to pull over — onto the left shoulder.

The officer, behind me, came on the PA and corrected me: “Pull to the right. Pull to the right.” Unfortunately, in my panic to pull over I hadn’t turned down my Evanescence Pandora Radio station — I couldn’t hear the cop’s PA.

After a few seconds, I realized my mistake, and pulled to the right while turning down my radio. But had I been warned before, that you should always pull over to the right shoulder when you’re being penalized for speeding, maybe I wouldn’t have made the same mistake.

My advice to sixteen-year-old Steve would be to always pull over on the right shoulder. But what advice would you give to your own teenage self? Leave your best answers in the comments — bonus points if there’s a good story involved.

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