Do you remember your first day of driver’s ed? I never took the full course, instead opting for the bare-legal minimum eight-hour lecture, but I’ve always wondered if putting a group of sixteen-year-olds together in a Chevy Sonic is really the best method for teaching. After all, everyone’s heard tales of mistakes and crashes, of cars left to sit by the side of the road because some minor mistake left the radiator cracked and leaking. But what’s your best story?
To make things interesting, though, let’s take a broad view of “driver’s ed.” The words always make us think of that pivotal moment in a young person’s life, when they find themselves behind the wheel of a large automobile for the first time, but the phrase is really far more expansive than that. Is the MSF course, the path to getting your motorcycle license, not driver education? Do instructional track days not teach you vehicle control?
My best-worst story comes from this expanded view of driver’s ed, specifically from an instructional track day last summer. It was my first time taking the FR-S on a full-scale track, rather than a little parking lot autocross, and I made some very expected mistakes — missed apexes, forgetting to give the point-by hand signal, that sort of thing. But one mistake, repeated through out the day, almost became very costly.
When driving around town, I generally brake early and lightly, aiming for smoothness while stopping. On track, I was doing the same thing: Applying more pedal pressure, sure, but not nearly enough. As a result, I managed to completely cook my pads by the end of the day, leading to a corner entry where I had no way to slow down — right foot on the brake pedal, pushed to the floor, with no friction.
Hopefully, your worst driver’s ed story doesn’t involve a high-speed near-miss with the outer walls of a race track. But what does it involve? Did you hit a signpost at the age of sixteen, or were you the one that dropped their bike at the MSF? Give us your worst driver’s ed stories, and we’ll pick our favorites tomorrow.