It is funny how this “no skill” job suddenly requires additional training . . .
Folks may think that driving in today’s major cities is an unskilled job, but I beg to differ. That uneducated immigrant that drives a dirty cab, smells funny, and can barely speak English may be a professional driver just by the nature of the task. Scoff if you will, but every commute driver into our major cities has to realize just by the incidents they see daily that to make it in and out of the city without becoming a statistic can be quite a challenge. Your local taxi, limo, Uber, Lyft, SideCar, Transit Bus, shuttle bus, and other drivers that provide transportation to people daily undergo an amazing transformation in their first few weeks on the job.
The most recognizable transformation the driver makes is to his confidence. Everywhere in the world today, there are drivers that lack the confidence to properly navigate our streets and highways. This lack of confidence is cause for many stressful moments and accidents. You can sit and watch a driver that lacks confidence create numerous dangerous situation, delays, and other situation as people try to navigate around them for their own safety.
I have often said that to be a successful City Driver, you have to drive like a Taxi-Cab. Even City Police drive like taxi-cabs. This is another transformation that drivers go through. Have you ever noticed how well traffic moves around a taxi that stops right in the traffic lane to load or unload their passengers. This should be a major problem. Traffic should back up and numerous accidents should happen, but they don’t. Why? It’s because people that drive the City do not drive per the book, they drive like the Taxi. If the Taxi were to stroll down the street seeking a safe haven to pull over, every time the cab slowed to try to pull over it would create a “brake check” by every car behind him, seriously impacting the traffic flow. This in itself is more dangerous than almost any other traffic condition. But, by learning that driving with the taxi is a much safer and workable method traffic continues moving and people get where the need to be. Look at traffic next time you enter the City. Do you understand how traffic moves fluidly past a taxi park in the traffic lane? It’s quite simple. Traffic moves past the taxi, because that is what the taxi is expected to do. By this understanding we know that eventually that taxi is going to stop right in front of us for one reason or another and we will have to react to the change or stop behind and wait. Almost every knowledgeable driver driving the City, has predetermined his moves to go around the taxi without complication from the moment the cab is within a half of a block in front of him.
Working the commute traffic is another learned practice. You simply do not just drive cautiously in commute traffic on our highways or streets. You become part of the flow. You match speed, minimize crossing lanes from side to side, and learn to watch for bottle-necks that screw up the commute. In many major cities, parking lanes next to the curb are cleared daily during the commute hours to allow for the increase in traffic created by the commute. And, “they’re off” seems to be the call from the very beginning of the commute hours. Learning how to drive with the flow rather than be a statistic to it’s speed, tense pursuit, and hostility that befalls our streets as people rush home from the office is definitely a skill few master.
Every major City in America today has gobs of “one-way” streets. Driving the wrong direction on a one-way street used to be the biggest concern we had about these streets. It’s not the major concern today. Today’s concern is crossing from lane to lane to accommodate turning onto these streets. The less skilled driver having had missed his turn at a street tries to correct his error by crossing the lanes on the street he is on to take the next street back to where he intended to go. That lane changing practice endangers every other motorist sharing that section of street with you. Learning that it only requires you go another two blocks and take that turn to return to the path intended is another skill that is invaluable to the driver.
My point here is that driving for a living is not as unskilled as you might think. And, you do not have to drive for a living to be a skilled driver.
You know, maybe I am wrong. Maybe it is not that driving can be a skilled job. Maybe it just takes pulling your head out of your ass, putting down your cell phone, turning down your stereo, and paying attention to the world around you to do this job. Or is this another skill the driver needs to master . . . Learning to second guess and avoid incident with the drivers that are talking on their cell phone, blasting their stereo, or other distraction while driving is not only a skill but likely a practiced art. After a while you can spot this motorist looking like an accident waiting to happen from blocks away. Yes that is a skill.
In closing, are these drivers skilled or unskilled? You can decide if the topic of concern to you. But while you consider the answer would you mind parking someplace safe so that those of with driving skills can spend our day trying to navigate around the unskilled drivers to provide everyone a better day by getting a bunch of folks from one spot to another while not becoming a statistic to the rest of the drivers on the road.
(NOTE! My opinions are my opinions, you are not required to agree or disagree with my opinions. I do not teach a Drivers Training school nor profess to be a professional to the driving industry. I also am not a government or police employee with authority to tell you what and how to do anything in driving. My suggestions and/or conversation in this article is neither sanctioned nor considered any portion of an accredited training course. I recommend you get in your car, pay attention to the world around you, and . . . look out because I’m am coming around the corner right behind, beside, or in front of you in every major City in America, and I am not getting paid worth a damn so rather than driving as a skilled driver, I am worried if my power will be cut off today instead of looking out for you. But do not worry, they have approved additional insurance to protect you in the event of incident which will work out well for everyone because it will remove most of us from the trade as we cannot afford to buy milk anymore, who can afford additional insurance.)