You will learn, soon enough, that one of the scariest days of your life will be the day you hand the car keys to your child and they drive off alone. Why this is scarier that riding with them when they have never driven at all, I can’t quite fathom; a parent is equally powerless either way, from the passenger seat or from the sofa.
Nevertheless, every time you drive away, my stomach turns over. So here you get a little practical advice that isn’t normally included in driver’s courses. You have hard some of it, but a reminder never hurts.
Learn to drive a standard shift, if you do you will never be stranded and you will understand how your car works a little more. This is a dying skill except amongst serious car aficionados. Remember when I reserved a moving truck and went to pick it up on a weekend, ready to load and leave only to discover that it was a standard shift truck (split shift at that) and the truck rental people had gone home for the weekend! Good thing I knew how to drive it.
When you feel sleepy, dizzy, lightheaded or generally weird, pull off the road. Don’t endanger yourself and others; no matter how much of a rush you are in. Late is better than dead every single time. Remember when Bob crushed his face.
Remember that if you count three seconds from the time the car in front of you passes a fixed point until you pass the same fixed point you will pretty much always be far enough back (relative speed). Nobody does this all the time but check it every once in a while to remind yourself of how much distance you need. When somebody cuts in front of you, reducing your space, make more space. Playing chicken is stupid and you don’t get there any faster.
Change your oil every 3,000 miles and generally do the maintenance on your car. Most cars will serve you well and much longer than the average American keeps a car if you just take care of them. It is nice to have a fancy new car, it is nicer to have no car payment! It is amazing how much money you can save when you don’t have to replace your car but can drive it past the end of the payments.
You have learned the hard way that when you don’t take care of things, you have to spend money to replace them. Imagine, if you took care of your stuff, how long it would last, how much money you could put in your pocket. This goes for your relationships as well. The more you care for them, the less energy you will spend and the longer they will last.