Random Thoughts

A new generation of drivers

 ... no consideration for others

 Bob Ross

I got my driver's license in 1938 in Atlanta, Georgia. I was just over 15 years old. Dad had a Pierce Arrow. He started taking me for driving lessons on Sunday when I was nearly 13. I could never go over 40 mph and had to stay close to the right side of the road at all times.

He made me stop, back up and park on the side of the highway. If I failed to give a hand signal when I stopped, he gave a lecture before continuing. Hand signals for any action were necessary. Stopping, turning right or left. How long he made me drive in the country, I dont remember, but eventually he let me drive in the city. It was scary, but once I relaxed, it was nothing. Occasionally I drove around the neighborhood alone. Back then I dont think the police really worried about young drivers.

He was a good teacher, patient and I learned and soon he would let me drive when the family went out on Sunday. I drove to Grammas, Dads mother in Kirkwood, and Grannies, Mothers mother near the Spillers baseball field where the Atlanta Crackers baseball team played. Now and then we went to Stone Mountain and climbed to the top. A few times we went to the airport in East Point and we watched the airplanes come and go. It was just a small building and a landing strip then. Today it is Hartsfield Airport, one of the busiest in the country. We went somewhere nearly every Sunday, and mostly I drove.

Ok, the big day finally arrived. I was 15. Dad drove to the City Hall in downtown Atlanta. Went inside, filled out some papers, and the examiner got beside me, told me what to do. Man, I was nervous at first, but didnt make any mistakes, parked good, used hand signals when required. Went back and was given my license. All the hours of driving had made it so easy and I passed with flying colors.

That was over 65 years ago. Things have really changed since I got my license. Hand signals are not required, you use turn signals. Driver training is available in school and the instructors allow the student to ride in the middle of the street and hold up traffic.

In most cities today we have three and four way stops at busy intersections. I live near Cedar Park on West Emerson St. Just over the RR tracks is a three way stop at W. Emerson and Tremont St. Traffic heading east toward Main Street do not have to stop. It is a dangerous intersection as drivers going north, south and west seem to think they do not have to stop should a car be heading east and challenge you by attempting to make turns, requiring you to stop, or, and this gets me, do not follow the understood rules, of who was there first goes first.  

The young think they own the world, and the rest of us had better get out of their way. Some just slow down and take off.

Yes, I'm old, but watching the younger generation today scares me. What will it be like when they are parents and their kids are driving? I am thankful I was taught to respect other drivers, and wish parents of today would teach their children respect for other drivers  -- if they live that long...

July 2, 2004

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