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Thread: The Definitive Driver's Ed. Thread

  1. #1

    The Definitive Driver's Ed. Thread

    Bear's thread about stick shift driving reminded me that I never had the driver part of driver's ed. Since my birthday was in the summer and school was over-stocked with kids in DE, I got my license before they could get me scheduled for the road class.

    The cool thing is that my school offered an advanced driver training class. We had a 74 Pontiac Catalina with the police package that they would take us out to a closed portion of Interstate 78 and teach us safety maneuvers. As an example, the car was rigged so that the instructor could blow the front tire at high speed so you could learn to handle the vehicle if ever that happened to you. (Came in handy for me personally, and worked like a charm). Emergency evasive maneuvers, driving on ice (soap slickened roadway) and other cool stuff. We got a 15% discount on our insurance for passing the course (a major premium in NJ, where rates are astronomical).

    On the seedier side, the instructor had apparently become fond of the young co-eds and had been caught acting inappropriately. He was slapped on the wrist and the policy became that he had to have a male driver included in each road class. Our senior class "willed" him a blow-up doll for the glove box

    My mom never got her driver's license (Be very glad all you NH residents). She signed up for the class from Sears and took the test but somehow managed to stall out an automatic during a three-point ("K") turn. The instructor ordered her from behind the wheel and drove the car back himself, destroying her confidence forever (and doing a service to all the other drivers in the northeast).

    So, how and when did you learn to drive? Who wrecked the DE car? Any driver's license test stories you care to share?

    Rev. Pete:

    What

    does

    a

    yellow

    light

    mean?
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  2. #2
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    My driver's education classes were pretty uneventful. One of the local goofs was the one to "wreck" (really barely a fender bender).

    Up till this past Sunday, I ahd apparently been drivering for two weeks without my license in my wallet....whoops....no problems though.

    Gedunker, that advanced class sounds cool.....bet your high school doesn't offer that anymore.....the 70s must have been a much less litigious time.....sigh.....
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Our instructor told us about one student who parallel parked the car on our main street and they where going to change drivers there. Well he did not look as he opened the door, right as a delivery truck was about to go by. It sheered the door off at the hinges.

    I personally had no problems other than driving faster than the posted speed limit, but hey traffic was still passing me.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Gedunker -
    Part of our DE was to drive to Newark Airport and back on Rt. 22.
    If you are learning to drive would you consider that scary enough for you ?


    Best DE I ever had was the Fire Dept driving rodeo for insurance coverage - chief's car, Rescue, Engine; those w/CDL could drive the Truck (Ladder).
    Last edited by JNA; 06 Oct 2005 at 3:26 PM.
    Oddball
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    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


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    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    Gedunker, that advanced class sounds cool.....bet your high school doesn't offer that anymore.....the 70s must have been a much less litigious time.....sigh.....
    I don't know if they offer it anymore. The Interstate was closed because of a lawsuit -- it threaded a wildlife reserve -- and it has long since been completed and is heavily traveled. I can't imagine where else they could offer that class.

    On a side note, when I took the class I'd been driving my Beetle for 9 or 10 months. Top speed about 60mph on a hill, fully loaded, with a tailwind. Here comes the instructor telling me to stomp the accelerator on the Catalina and MAN, that thing just about took off. I look at the speedo and I'm going about 90mph. Yeehaw! That's when he blows the tire
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  6. #6
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    My birthday falls at the end of August so I ended up taking the abbreviated winter drivers ed course (75% of DE courses were summer sessions). At one point we got to do donuts in the school's enormous iced down back parking lot so we learned how drive on snow and ice!
    Weeeee!
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Our school didn't have driver's ed so our parent had to pay for us to go to a private driver's school. I think I went the summer I was 15, when I got my learner's permit. Nothing eventful there. Malls were closed on Sundays then, so our parents would take us to the nearest mall parking lot to practice. My dad had been letting us "steer" from the middle of the front seat since we were around 11, though.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Driver's Ed was not discounted on my insurance (and still isn't as I had to do the City's driving course) so my folks decided not to sink the money into it.
    I learned to drive just fine, with my folks, grandparents, and an older friend who would let me drive frequently.
    In fact I got a 98 on my Colo. Driver's test without any education.

    Of course, back then any class would have me checking out girls, and not really learning anything.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  9. #9
         
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    I never took driver's ed I learned how to drive in parking lots with my dad as the teacher. I also used to drive one of my friends cars around late at night after we would get out of work. I learned how to drive in an old El Camino...the first time I got in that thing I about through my dad through the windshield the first time I stepped on the breaks!!
    As far as my drivers test, I failed it the first time for going over the speed limit but passed the second time around, no troubles since then

  10. #10
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    I took drivers ed during the winter when I was 17 and had my premit for awhile. The instructors name was Stan. One time we were driving around a suburban residential neighborhood and he had me slam on the brakes when there was snow on the road. Needless to say I spun out. Luckily no one was around or else I suppose I could of done some damage. I guess I know now not to slam on the brakes on snow. Of course their could of been a safer way to teach this.

    Another time Stan had us driving around the 'hood and had us stop at the Bailey-Delevan mini-mart and had the girls who were 16/17 go in and try to buy him lotto tickets (which they didn't). I remember him telling us that you could go there at night and there would be people standing outside who would go in for you and get whatever kind of drugs you wanted.

    Throughout the course Stan had us drive to area parks and he kept on telling us they were good places to go drink.

  11. #11
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jsk1983
    I took drivers ed during the winter when I was 17 and had my premit for awhile. The instructors name was Stan. One time we were driving around a suburban residential neighborhood and he had me slam on the brakes when there was snow on the road. Needless to say I spun out. Luckily no one was around or else I suppose I could of done some damage. I guess I know now not to slam on the brakes on snow. Of course their could of been a safer way to teach this.

    Another time Stan had us driving around the 'hood and had us stop at the Bailey-Delevan mini-mart and had the girls who were 16/17 go in and try to buy him lotto tickets (which they didn't). I remember him telling us that you could go there at night and there would be people standing outside who would go in for you and get whatever kind of drugs you wanted.

    Throughout the course Stan had us drive to area parks and he kept on telling us they were good places to go drink.
    Another fine upstanding Stan of the world who clearly took pride in his chosen profession. What a heartwarming tale!
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  12. #12
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    Rev. Pete:

    What

    does

    a

    yellow

    light

    mean?
    hushed: SLOW DOWN!

  13. #13
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Since I did well in the class at my high school, I got to do the driving test with the school too. That's how they ran it, otherwise you had to go take it at the dmv.

    Anyways, I ended up passing the school's driving test by only 1 point.

    I didn't give peds the right of way, I apparently didn't do mirror checks well, and I do left turns a lot better than right turns.

    Oh well. I am an excellent driver now, and I'm more relaxed when I don't have my driving being critqued.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  14. #14
    I never took drivers ed and nobody I knew growing up ever did either. I don't think any high schools in Pennsylvania offered/offer it.

    I was 17 when I got my lerners permit and I set up lawn chairs at the curb in front of my house and practiced parallel parking on them so I wouldn't scratch cars trying to do the real thing. Our neighbors were pissed that I was wasting parking spots and one of them threw the lawn chair at our house when he was trying to park in that spot.

    I still failed the test the first time because of parallel parking, but I took it again a week later and passed.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Driving is such a neurotic thing in my family. Mom was like 28 when she got her license. That was before I was born, but I have been told that Dad kept saying he would teach her, never did (AND put the car on blocks any time he was gone for an extended time), she finally paid for a driving course and got her license while he was away for a few weeks. She is very big on telling people how very important it is to get your license -- how much freedom it gives you, etc. However, my sister and I both moved out months before and owned a vehicle for a few days before we each finally got a license. In contrast, our brother got his license AND a car(!!) at age 16.

    I did take driver's ed. I also had various family members take me out to teach me to drive. Dad -- who has a heart problem -- made panicked "I am going to have a heart attack and die on you any minute now" sounds (gasps and such) pretty continuously. I never went driving with him again. Mom took me on some country road and I can remember her telling me to "turn left" into a parking lot which had several entrances/exits. I slowed down to turn and I asked her "which left" and she began screaching at me "JUST TURN LEFT!! TURN LEFT!!!!" like we were in danger of being run over on this empty country road with one car in sight in any direction the entire time we were on it. I never went driving with her again either.

    So I was nearly 21 when I finally got my driver's license.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Back in the 1960's, Driver's education was a course only "nerds" took. Because this Bear didn't master the fine art of "nerdsmanship" until later in life, I did not take the course.

    I am a relatively safe driver. I understand the concept of "watching out for the other guy and the stupid thing he will do in front of you". I drive my wife batty when I pay attention (from a distance) to traffic lights, assuming that they will change before I get there.....I start to slow down. She is from the "punch it and beat the light" crowd.

    Not sure about other places, but around here kids cannot get auto insurance until they take the course.

    Bear With Whiplash
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    Let me begin by saying the I'm a very safe driver and get the discount on my insurance for years but when I took drivers ed it was similar to a Cheech and Chong movie if you get my drift. Even the road tests. The teacher was clueless, thank God. It was the 70s afterall. Crank-up the Led Zep!!!

  18. #18
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    We did not have a driving portion in our driver's ed program It was just a 1-2 hour class taught by one of the history teachers after school. Subsequently, several of my classmates died in horrendous self-caused accidents. The teacher ended up quitting the driver's ed assignment after the fourth or fifth former student killed himself.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    We did not have a driving portion in our driver's ed program It was just a 1-2 hour class taught by one of the history teachers after school. Subsequently, several of my classmates died in horrendous self-caused accidents. The teacher ended up quitting the driver's ed assignment after the fourth or fifth former student killed himself.
    Wow!

    So, no one ever had to take a driving test...period???
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  20. #20
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    Wow! So, no one ever had to take a driving test...period???
    I did not say that. What I said was that driver's ed had no provision for road lessons. After successful completion of driver's ed, you received a permit that allowed you to drive with an adult in the car during the day. When you went to get your license, you had to bring a car and drive around with an examiner.

    Some people of course took private driving lessons. What I am talking about is public high school driver's ed.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    I did not say that. What I said was that driver's ed had no provision for road lessons. After successful completion of driver's ed, you received a permit that allowed you to drive with an adult in the car during the day. When you went to get your license, you had to bring a car and drive around with an examiner.

    Some people of course took private driving lessons. What I am talking about is public high school driver's ed.
    Oh, I see. Why all the bad accidents though??
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
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  22. #22
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    Oh, I see. Why all the bad accidents though??
    I think it was just a serious of unfortunate events. But it did hit the driver's ed teacher pretty hard. They all drove like maniacs. One of those who died picked me up hitch-hiking a week before after doing a high-speed u-turn across oncoming traffic. At the end of the ride, I thanked him and told him that he was going to die if he kept driving like that. He laughed.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    I think it was just a serious of unfortunate events. But it did hit the driver's ed teacher pretty hard. They all drove like maniacs. One of those who died picked me up hitch-hiking a week before after doing a high-speed u-turn across oncoming traffic. At the end of the ride, I thanked him and told him that he was going to die if he kept driving like that. He laughed.
    Wow...crazy stuff.

    So far, only one person from my H.S. graduating class died in a car accident. Another committed suicide freshman or sophomore year.

    It's pretty crazy and quite sad when stuff like that happens.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  24. #24
    I had to learn and take my drivers test on a stick shift - that was what my parents drove. DE was a joke at my school - most of the kids who took it were girls, since the guys had already learned from years of driving vehicles on the farm.

    My dad tried to teach me - bad mistake. His idea of teaching was to tell you once and then yell at you in a progressively louder voice when you made a mistake and stalled the car. After the second time I came home hyperventilating. My mother was much better at it.

    The actual test was a breeze. I was the only one the instructor had had who drove a stick in ages, so I didn't have to do any of the usual maneuvers - parallel parking, parking on a hill, etc. I was bummed since I'd been practicing my little butt off so the car wouldn't roll when I clutched. Still love a stick shift - it is great fun the play with the clutch at a stop light and watch the pedestrians scurry across the intersection!

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