My eldest daughter recently completed driver’s ed classes, where they showed the students sobering movies of terrifying wrecks—cars crumpled in accidents caused by speeding, DUI, and distracted drivers.

The instructor also warned the students that if they drove even a tiny bit over the speed limit on the drive test, they would fail.

This input combined with the fact that my daughter is a naturally cautious, rules-oriented person, has resulted in a “not so fast” beginning driver.

For now, she strictly observes the speed limit, which is of course the right, safe, and wise thing to do.

But when she’s driving us somewhere, we’re always five to ten minutes late.

It’s revealing. Humbling, too. Apparently I’ve been pushing the speed limit more than I realized, leaving the house knowing how I can make it to an appointment on time even at the last minute.

For example, unlike my daughter, I speed up a little to try to catch a green light instead of continuing at a steady pace and stopping as soon as it turns yellow.

Unlike my daughter, I look for an opening and move around someone who’s driving under the speed limit on a four lane road. Sometimes she will simply adjust to the slower driver’s speed and contentedly follow at his leisurely pace.

When I spot a slower speed limit sign, I wait until I’m at the sign to adjust my speed; she brakes early to be at the limit by the time she arrives at the sign.

I accelerate faster at intersections and execute my turns speedier.

I didn’t notice my tendencies until my daughter sat behind the wheel and I found myself wanting to urge her to make the light or maneuver around a poky driver. I’m restraining myself, but it’s hard. We live in a metropolitan area where people feel rushed. Now I see that I’ve been rushing along with everyone else much more than I knew.

Instead of being frustrated with my careful daughter’s driving habits, I applaud them.

And I’m trying to correct my own.

Also, we’re leaving about ten minutes earlier to appointments. I should be doing that anyway instead of zipping around cars and pushing to make every light.

My daughter is modeling great habits, reminding me to slow down and enjoy the ride.

Speed Bump Suggestion: Gain more awareness of driving habits by setting your cruise control to the posted speed limit!

drive slow” photo by TheTruthAbout… Available on Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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