Erika Preval - Simply Put

DRIVER’S ED: A Refresher for Those Behind the Wheel


Driving has been a major theme for my family this summer. We kicked off the season in celebration of my older teen gaining her learner’s permit. I’ll admit that I’m still taken aback by her independence in earning it – I was in no hurry for her to drive. Her driver’s manual provided a great deal of rules for the road, but there are certain courtesies that seem to be forgotten in our rush to get from Point A to Point B. In case your tendency towards Southern hospitality doesn’t kick in during such scenarios, do allow this reminder of how to make things a bit safer while sharing the road:

Pump your brakes – Live long enough, and you’re bound to find yourself in a traffic jam. Though you can’t control the flow of traffic, you can control your reaction to it. Do your best to remain calm, despite the actions of those around you and phone ahead to anyone who might be awaiting your arrival (with an apology). This can help ease the anxiety of running late until things clear up a bit.

Remain neutral – An important part of being considerate on the road is allowing fellow drivers the ability to merge. No matter how long you’ve been driving in it, the right-hand lane does not belong to you; especially when an on-ramp is within sight. Safely move into the left-hand lane when vehicles are present in an on-ramp, so that you might provide those drivers time to safely enter the lane without interrupting the flow of traffic.

Put on your hazards – Consider this: When standing in line at the grocer, you allow a certain amount of space between yourself and the guest ahead of you. Shouldn’t even more space be allowed between your 4000-pound vehicles than the plastic thing dividing your groceries on the conveyor belt? Add any number of distractions and speed, and tailgating lends itself to a particularly unsafe driving scenario.


Our season has ended with the descriptor of Car 3 in a 5-car collision. The culprit? Tailgating by Cars 4 & 5. Please take good care and consideration while traveling this holiday weekend, so that you might arrive safely to your destination. I’m counting on you to keep my teen driver and the loved ones of others in mind while on the go. I promise to do the same.

Safe travels,