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The Things We Hear in a Defensive Driving Class…

I've been teaching defensive driving classes for quite a while throughout Texas.

Over the years, I have learned a simple fact:  Students will tell you the best defensive driving stories if given the chance.  Being able to listen to everyone else's story is just another reason to take a defensive driving class in a classroom location.

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Here is one such true story from a recent defensive driving class.  Three people — two young men and one young woman — in the same class, and it is obvious that they all know each other.   So I ask the first man why he's in class.

“I was doing 90 in a 70,” he answered.

“Why,” I asked, “were you doing 90 in a 70?”

“I was trying to catch up to that guy” he replied, pointing to the guy at the end of the row.

Then I ask the woman, “Why are you taking defensive driving?”

She said, “Speeding.  I was doing 91 in a 70.”

“And why were you doing 91 in a 70?”

She said, “I was trying to catch up to that guy,” also pointing at the guy on the end of the row.

So I finally ask the guy on the end,  “And what are you here for?”

He said, “95 in a 70.”

“Why were you doing 95 in a 70?” I asked him.

He replied, “I was winning!”

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When teaching defensive driving in a classroom setting, one gets a giant swath of different individuals.  There are grandmothers who have driven 50 years and this is their first ticket; and there are kids who are so new to driving that that still have a paper license.  Some in the class see this as an opportunity to brush up on skills, and others take the opposite view.  They act as if it is my fault that they got their ticket.

The best way to let a student get over this irritation is just to let them vent in class for a minute.  Once, I had a guy in class who was as mad as a hornet.  So, I asked him, “Why are you here?”

He almost screamed his response.  He yelled, “I was doing 90 in a 60!”

I jumped back and asked, “Wow!  Why were you going so fast?”

He said, “I was having girlfriend problems!”

So I then asked, “Girlfriend problems?   What was the problem?”

He replied, “My girlfriend was in the car, and that was the problem.”

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