Safe driving lessons from the side of the road

Running shoesAs we mark National Teen Driver Safety Week, I’m reminded that driver education, while especially important to new drivers, is important to everyone who gets behind the wheel.

Ironically, some of my best lessons on driving have come while running.

From a pedestrian-level view of my town’s roadsides and sidewalks, I’ve received many a crash course on how not to operate a motor vehicle.

In one case, it was literally a crash course – or at least the aftermath of one – where a driver had smashed into the traffic light at the entrance to my neighborhood and then left the scene before the police arrived.

Another time, I witnessed a woman driving a minivan almost hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk. I’m fairly certain the dog on her lap didn’t help her concentration.

And then there are the cell phone users – drivers of all ages – who seem more interested in what the person on the other end of the call has to say (or text) than how the driver in front of them is turning or stopping.

Perhaps worst of all, I’ve seen my fair share of empty beer cans and bottles along the highway – especially on stretches of road outside town. I hope I’m never running alongside someone who thinks they can operate a vehicle safely after downing a 12-pack of their favorite brew.

What’s become abundantly clear as I huff and puff along miles of roadway is that good driving is about so much more than just obeying road signs and the speed limit.

Good driving is about taking responsibility when you make a mistake.

It’s about patience – even if you have to wait to talk to a friend.

It’s about leaving the driver’s seat to the driver.

It’s about never – ever – starting a car when you’re not 100 percent in control.

In a nutshell, good driving is about exercising common sense every time you get behind the wheel.

That’s a lesson we can all run with.

Editor's note: During Teen Driver Safety Week, talk with your family about distracted driving and what it takes to be a better driver. If you need some motivation, get everyone to take the American Family Insurance Safe Driver Pledge. And just for taking the pledge, we’ll enter you in a drawing for one of 10 $250 gift cards.

Posted by Paul Bauman on Tue, Oct 16 2012 12:58 pmPaul Bauman is a web experience administrator for American Family Insurance. When not developing content for the company’s websites, he enjoys sharing the running trail with his thoughts, which move at a much faster pace.
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