Friday, April 25, 2014

I Am Not a Good Passenger

Anyone who has been driving while I was in the front passenger seat can confirm this.

I admit it, I like to be in control, hands on the wheel.

Not everyone likes being a passenger when I'm driving, I realize. I have been known to cut across 3-4 lanes of highway traffic because I almost missed an exit. I have been told that with my aggressive style I could be a taxi driver in New York City (except I don't know the language).

Of course, I always know what I'm planning to do when I'm behind the wheel. When I'm a passenger, I'm not so sure about what the driver intends, and the three big trucks next to us or the Mercedes trying to pass at 200 kph might make me a little nervous.

As we're preparing to drive up to Geneva (1, so I can take my golf clubs, which is a little awkward on a train, and 2, so we can bring some copies of D-L's novels back to Argeles, and 3, so we can see some places in Switzerland that are not on the rail lines), Donna-Lane mentioned she'd be interested in doing some of the driving on the 6-7 hour journey.

So yesterday, as practice, on the way back from the cookie factory near Sete, we switched places for awhile and she drove some of the A9.

I couldn't see the speedometer from my angle, but I could see her speeds on the new Tom-Tom GPS tracker she bought me for my birthday. European speeds "seem" faster than American, ie 100 kilometres per hour seems faster than 60 miles per hour, even though they are the same thing. And I noticed that in the passenger seat you sense every shift of the car, including the wind buffet - maybe because you're not holding on to anything like the driver is. I seem to do much better in the back seat, where I'm not as apt to be watching all the traffic and wanting to tell the driver what to do.

Years ago, when I tried to teach my daughter to drive, when she turned 16, she would get very frustrated if I reached over and grabbed the wheel when I was concerned we might hit something. I guess that would annoy me, too, if I were the one driving.

For someone who has not driven in quite some time - who, in fact, did not even ride in a car for one 18-month stretch - D-L did very well as a driver. She said our new/old car handles nicely, which it does for a 15-year-old antique. I couldn't get the radio to work (a potential distraction for me?), but I was able to look at scenery along the way that previously I could only glance at while driving.

Of course, it was me driving when I pulled into a street in Frontignan and did not see the green car coming around the curve. And it was me who got honked at on the highway, apparently for not going fast enough in the centre lane. And it was me who missed the last exit in France and we ended up crossing the border into Spain, adding a good 45 minutes to our trip.

D-L often falls asleep when I'm driving. I can do that on a plane or a train. But I doubt I could ever do that as a passenger in the front seat of a car. Regardless of who is driving.

1 comment:

  1. I am the same way. I get so nervous when other people are driving. The funny thing is that I must get it from my mother because she does the exact same thing and just drives me up the wall. I try and not be as extreme as her but I fear that I am only getting worse with it.

    Paige Hollingsworth @ Baldwin Motors Lincoln

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