Letter to editor: Experience matters on the road

I am saddened by the death of a talented young woman in a collision on San Vicente Road on Aug. 22. It was, as they say, a single-car accident. Speed and inexperience were the cause.

As a CHP officer told me when I was her age, “Until you’ve driven at least 50,000 miles, you’re not an experienced driver.” And, if such driving is always under near-ideal conditions, we’re still not experienced.

My good friend, Cmdr. Don Long, a World War II pilot, was, and is, a very savvy guy. When it came time for his daughter to drive, and she had her license, Don told her she would have to wait until winter to realize her dream. “Why?” was the question. “Because you still don’t know how to drive.” Winter came at last and with it a good snowstorm in Julian, whereupon Don drove Kitty to the parking lot at Julian High School. And there, on the ice and snow, she learned how to get into and out of a skid and, most important, how easy it is to lose control of a car, regardless of the weather.

To all parents of driving-age youth (16 to whatever): There are accredited competition driving schools in the area. And to protect your potentially reckless offspring, get them enrolled so that they can safely learn the limits of cars and light trucks. You think your kid is immune? Don’t bet on it.

And a note on distracted driving: Most of us cannot drive AND do something else. Ted Leitner told of his uncle, who turned to shush the kids’ ruckus in the back seat, lost control of his car and hit a tree, killing him. The same issue of the

Sentinel

reported that a 51-year-old was reading a text on good ol’ 67 and caused a multiple-vehicle collision. ‘Nuff said?

A.G. Smith, Ph.D.

Ramona

   
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