Behind the Driver’s Seat

 

 

By Lucy Gonzalez

 

Click! That’s the sound of the seatbelt, but for first time, it’s not coming from the back seat.

It’s finally your turn to be up close and personal with the road. You now have control of the whole vehicle and can decide the temperature of the car and what song to blast on the speakers.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: this all sounds similar to those info bits that you see on the Test Track ride, but it’s not. Driving an actual car is even better!

By getting your driver’s permit, you finally get to experience that rush. At last, you can say, “Do you want to come in the car with me? I can drive now.” These are the most fulfilling words a teen can hope to speak. Being a driver is exhilarating. You’ve upgraded from booster to passenger and now, to the ruler of the front seat. From a teen’s perspective, having a permit turns a switch in your brain. You feel invincible – even a collision with a 25-ton semi-truck can’t stop you and your capabilities.

There are so many aspects of driving you never completely understand until you sit in the driver’s seat. As a premature NASCAR racer, you have many things racing through your mind once you turn on the ignition. Suddenly you’re asking: “Which way do I turn the wheel if I want to back out left?” and “What is a blind spot?”

Then there’s all the red lights, busy intersections, and the split-second strategies you need to devise in order to get from point A to point B. “Am I supposed to let them go or do I just go first?” in a four-way intersection to, “Oh no!” before you nearly eat the median during your left turn. Sometimes the excitement is so overwhelming you question which is the gas pedal and which is the brakes. Although it’s a little intimidating at first, you soon get the hang of it. Let’s be honest, if you can drive in Miami, you should list it as an accomplishment on your resume. People who drive in Miami definitely give new drivers a new challenge every time they hit the road.

Driving Miami’s streets is like being immersed into Fall Guys, where getting to a simple destination involves many chaotic obstacles. For new drivers, it’s a multi-course test. Miami drivers can’t stay in their lanes. People honk, cut you off and usually forget that turn signals can prevent accidents.

And let’s not forget our passengers, our parents … They gasp for air, pump imaginary breaks, and grasp the handles while you expertly handle the road. It’s understandable though, they want you safe and don’t want to have to pay for any damage.

You always hear your parents give you the talk, even after you’ve seen and heard it on almost every infomercial: you need to be safe on the road. No drinking and driving, always wear that seatbelt and don’t text and drive. With that in mind, you continue your journey as aware of your surroundings as possible.

Soon, after all the heavy traffic and mind-racing, you park the car and unclench your teeth because you’ve reached your destination. Even though it seems like you might’ve not reached the end, you did it and for the first time, you did it on your own.

It’s a great feeling to finally have a driver’s permit. And no matter how hectic your track to get there might’ve been, the race to independence has just begun.

 

 

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