Learning to Drive…during a Pandemic

Learning to Drive…during a Pandemic

by Mack Olmsted

For me, Driver’s Ed. began at the end of January 2020. It was supposed to last for sixteen weeks, but we hit a speed bump in mid March.  What a disappointment! 

Like most teenagers waiting to get their driver’s license, it was hard to believe that, due to Coronavirus, it was going to be a longer wait. As the months passed, anxiously awaiting to hear when we can resume Driver’s Ed. class, all I wanted to do was drive.  I did have my permit, so I drove with my parents as much as possible to gain experience. But it wasn’t the same as having an instructor. 

Let’s talk about driving with parents…driving with my parents is like driving with a person who wants to wear a helmet and a parachute (and also maybe shoulder pads) just in case I hit the curb. It was really a tough transition from driving with an instructor. I had no instruction from a trained professional, and I had to learn as much about driving as I could from my parents. Don’t get me wrong – I am sure there are students who prefer this method and would rather learn how to drive from their parents in the first place. This was not the case for me. My parents drove me nuts, and I’m sure I drove them nuts as well. The Driver ‘s Ed. situation seemed hopeless until September…

In September it was announced that Driver’s Ed. was officially going virtual. With this announcement came a notice that gave students the option of either driving with an instructor (two students per car) or driving with their parents. The first option would be great – it would mean I’d have the whole backseat to myself and my class time would be cut in half because I can double my driving time. As tempting as it was to drive with the instructor, I decided to continue driving with my parents. It was just easier, and I had already logged thirty or so hours driving with them.

With my driving time done, there was only one more requirement: I had to sit in on a virtual class on Zoom. We didn’t do much in that class. We watched a bunch of safety videos, but I must have gotten something out of it because I managed to pass my driver’s test. Now I drive both to school and to work. I only hope that not having a traditional Driver’s Ed. experience doesn’t result in a generation of drivers having too many accidents and racking up too many speeding tickets.

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