I may have told you before, but I don’t have a driver’s license. Not yet, at least. Almost there. I just never needed one. Everywhere I wanted to go, I could just take the train or my bike. In fact, you only realize how used you are to your own mode of transportation when a foreigner tags along with you. I took Mrs Missouri for several bike rides in the Netherlands, and it surprised me how some things come natural to me that others have to consciously decide and act on (like braking). Cyclists in Dutch cities seem to randomly zoom through traffic, but everyone knows what others on the road are doing. That’s how you can spot a tourist from a mile away: neither you or the tourist have an idea what they’re going to do next.
Now I suddenly find myself on the other side. The clearest example occurred on one of my first times driving, fresh permit in the pocket. I was going exactly the speed limit and noticed the light turning yellow. We were at a point where I could either stop or speed up, but it was a decision that was entirely new to me. Still going the exact same pace, I was trying to make a decision. Mrs Missouri, who felt no difference in the car’s movement whatsoever, wanted to make sure I realized what was going on. In an effort to provide me with a solution, she told me to ‘decide’! I really hoped she would tell me to stop or go, because now we were still going at the speed limit towards the light. It turned red as we passed into the intersection, where I sped up, because the decision was made for me, after all. It was weird to experience the newness of having to make such a decision. Now, when I approach a light that I suspect might turn yellow, I try to consciously move from the ‘stopping zone’ into the ‘speeding up zone’, so that my decision is ready to be made whenever the light turns.
What’s your best advice when it comes to driving?