Driver Training – Why it Matters

An interview with Simon Rosien

Simon Rosien, a 16 year old Young Drivers of Canada student in Kitchener, is half way through his driver training with Young Drivers. We talk to a lot of parents about why  driver training is so important. But maybe it’s time to hear from a teen. What matters to them when it comes to driver training? Why does driver training matter?

The following is an email interview from Simon Rosien.

Why do you think taking driver training is important?

My grandpa is a retired driver training examiner and he’s a great teacher. So’s my dad. But since I’ve started taking classes with Young Drivers, I’m seeing all the little details they’ve forgotten. They’re trying to teach me the right way but stuff gets lost as you get older.

The most important thing I’ve learned so far is defensive driving.  Young Drivers of Canada makes me think 3 steps ahead.

  • Take into account what’s going on around you, make sure everything is where it should be.
  • You don’t need to be aggressive, just smart.
  • Young Drivers helps you develop confidence and good habits – corrects bad habits before they start.

What does getting your license mean to you?

Freedom is the biggest thing for me. When (and if) my mom lets me use her car, I’ll be able to go places by myself. And my mom will trust that I can make the right decisions because of the training I’ve had. Okay she probably won’t trust me totally but at least she’ll feel better about loaning me her car.

My parents are looking at the insurance benefits and my older brothers too. I don’t agree with how insurance companies penalize guys for insurance. It’s not right but it’s probably not going to change. At least with YD, it will be less for me.

In your opinion, is distracted driving an issue on our roads?

It kills me when everyone says 16 is too young for someone to drive. Have you seen how older people drive? They are more distracted than I ever am! YD teaches you what can distract you while driving. It’s not always the phone. Kids, music and earphones and crashes – there’s a lot going on that can pull your attention away.

How did you feel getting behind the wheel the first time?

Scared. I’m not going to lie. It’s harder than it looks to pay attention to so many different things at once. I had all the control and didn’t know what I was doing. And I was afraid I’d make a mistake – a really big mistake. I was worried if I made a mistake that I wouldn’t be allowed to drive any more.

It’s harder than it looks to keep everything going smoothly. I’m still working on the confidence thing and it helps that my teacher is so patient.

What was your favourite part of the Young Drivers in-class training?

The habits and sub-habits were interesting, they opened my eyes. I never thought about how you drive – I just figured there were rules to pay attention to and that was it.

  • The way you check your intersections – left, center, right – and mirrors. It makes sense but I wouldn’t have thought of it.
  • Maintaining flow – there’s more than just me on the road.
  • Always have an escape route – when you’re boxed in, finding a way out.
  • I learned from my Dad and Grandpa about the escape route but I didn’t understand it fully until YD.

What did you most enjoy about your Young Drivers in-car training?

I don’t know if all your trainers are so patient but mine made me feel comfortable. He took the tension off but still kept me focused. He asked me about the cars around me, details that you have to learn to pay attention to – but you may not have thought of before.

It’s so much different driving with my mom. She’s white-knuckling it the moment I put the keys in the ignition and it’s hard for me to relax when she’s so worried. When I do something wrong I freeze up. It’s different with YD.

What does driving responsibly mean to you?

  • Make sure that you and your passengers arrive safely.
  • Checking your blindspots, making sure you know what’s happening around you, managing your space
  • Being respectful of vehicles around me, by being predictable, like using a signal light
  • Being aware of non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians
  • Don’t jeopardized human life for a squirrel
  • Not drinking, using drugs of any kind (even stuff like cold medication)
  • Drowsy driving – being sleepy behind the wheel is as bad as being drunk
  • Distracted driving – focusing on the road and those around me
  • Making sure you take care of your vehicle so it’s as safe as it can be
  • My driving shouldn’t make someone else have to take the offensive – like pulling out and making someone swerve
  • Civic responsibility and good samatarin rules – there’s more to good driving than just good driving
  • Be prepared for every situation – first aid kit, survival kit if you’re driving through the wilderness

What would you say to someone who was thinking about taking a Young Drivers program?

  • Nobody can remember everything
  • Your dad doesn’t have all the answers
  • The experts are doing this all the time – they have the “RIGHT” answers
  • They teach the right habits, not the habits they’ve learned over 30 years of driving

I want to thank YD for helping me be a better driver. I also want to thank you for wanting to understand driving from my perspective and for letting me talk here. I hope other kids read this blog and will come to Young Drivers for their training.

In the interest of transparency, Simon’s basic driver training was provided free of charge. The above commentary is Simon’s opinion though and was not influenced by YD … or his mother, father or grandfather (who may actually benefit from a refresher course).

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