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Power Steering

The best bits of advice I ever got, and the two principles that have stayed with me the longest, both came from the same person. And they were given to me when I was 16 years old. I've buried most of the bones of my teenage years, but my driver's education teacher changed my life (and quite possibly saved it, somewhere along the roadways of America). I herewith share these axioms with the world, that they might save more lives.

Ready? Here we go.

Throw those eyes long. This admonition was given to counter my tendency to look nervously at the road directly in front of me, a few yards at a time, down instead of ahead. Apparently I did this to make sure I was staying on the road straight and true. That's a useless way to drive, as Wesley Colgan knew. You have to look forward, as far as you can see, to keep yourself straight and true, and to see what's coming up that you might want to either embrace or avoid.

And if you think I'm still talking about driving, wait until you see what's next.

The slowest point is before the turn. Slow down to make sure you have some traction, then move on with conviction. It keeps you from skidding into the gravel, and it keeps you headed forward. That's where you need to go, right? Forward.


I'm sure Mr. Colgan taught me more than just this. One thing I've never doubted about myself is that I'm a good driver. Maybe the only thing I've never doubted. Parallel parking, on the other hand, was a mystery to me at 16 and remains so to this day. I wonder how many extra miles I've driven just to avoid having to parallel park. But that's a metaphor for another day.

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