Learn from your mistakes

We live in the northern part of New York state, and I have never seen a winter when it didn’t snow and, of course, cause roads to become slippery.

OK, I’m being facetious, but my point is that if we chose to live in Franklin County, we must drive on roads that are slippery and difficult to navigate numerous times each winter. And rare are the drivers who have never skidded on slippery roads, unless they haven’t been driving long.

Becoming a good driver is a process. We start the process by observing our parents’ driving when we are little, and as we get nearer to age 16, reading about and learning the rules of the road. Knowing the rules dictates who yields to whom and under what circumstances, but we cannot read about exactly how fast a car can take a curve, for instance, under every different condition of snow and ice. The same goes for how long it takes to stop under similar conditions of slippery roads.

So, much of what we learn comes from experience. Thus, at some point, as a new driver, we will most likely skid, slide and basically lose control of our vehicle to some degree. If we are lucky, we will just skid a bit and not crash into another vehicle or some object. But we cannot or should not dismiss the experience as a normal part of winter driving. We need to learn from our mistakes and thus continually improve our driving skills. We should not make the same mistake under the same conditions again, or we will have failed to learn much from our mistake.

You’ve heard the expression, “Stupidity is doing the same thing but expecting a different result.” Drivers need to learn from every mistake and try not to do the same thing again. Every time we skid we should learn a bit more on how to drive safely on slippery roads. Otherwise we will continue to skid frequently, and eventually we will be involved in a major crash that might involve injury or death.

As good drivers, we also need to learn from our “near misses.” If we did something wrong, or something dangerous but that luckily didn’t involve a crash, we need to learn from that experience as well and not repeat it, which might have adverse consequences another time.

New drivers have a significantly higher crash rate than more experienced drivers. The more we drive, the more mistakes we make, but if we learn from these mistakes, we become better drivers. If we’re texting while driving and have a near miss, then maybe we should not text and drive again. If we drive too fast for road conditions and skid off the road, then maybe we had better slow down the next time we encounter slippery roads. Bottom line is that we all make mistakes, but if we learn from these inevitable mistakes, we will become better drivers.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)