Be kind to your driver

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When I was 12 or 13, there wasn’t anything else I wanted in the world but to learn how to drive. I eventually got my wish and here I am now twenty years later with a love and hate relationship with driving. I love the feeling of freedom that driving gives me, I hate being the designated driver all the time. I would like to be the passenger every now and then but…
Let me tell you a story of when I had the privilege of being a passenger back in the day.
We had people drive for us to and from school and they were actually part of molding us into the people we became as adults. Uncle Teody (may he rest in peace) was one of those guys and I learned a lot of important lessons from him, most importantly DON’T MAKE HIM WAIT. And if he whistles, you better come running.
Nah, he didn’t beat us or anything. He wasn’t even the least bit scary. Uncle Teody was a great guy who kinda spoiled us un a way when it comes to cars. He would let us drive short distances. He would accompany us to driving lessons. And when we finally got our driver’s licenses and drove our own cars, he’d be the one who’d come running to rescue us if we encountered any engine trouble or other vehicle related issues.
That doesn’t mean Uncle Teody didn’t impose his authority on us though. There were times when he’d flat out say no if we asked to use the car or if we’re late he’d tell us that time is precious. I may be enjoying my time playing with friends but at the same time I am keeping him from performing more important tasks that may be delayed and get stretched out tomorrow because I failed to think of how my actions affected others (whew… long sentence).
Uncle Teody would tell us that we should leave with plenty of time to spare so we don’t have to rush from point A to point B. Since we lived in a fairly small city, that meant leaving the house 15 minutes before flag ceremony to school which was roughly only a kilometer away with little to no traffic at all. So we’d be there in under 2 minutes tops. I remember him telling me that rushing through traffic because you’re late (for work or for school) is not good as you get there stressed (or something to that effect). When I lived in Manila, I remembered this lesson and adjusted my schedule so I could get up early and drive without rushing through traffic. And only then did I truly appreciate those early lessons I learned from him even though he wasn’t able to really articulate them. You see everything about driving involves time.
Warm up the car – 5 to 10 minutes at the very minimum
Open the gate, get the car out of the driveway and close the gate – let’s be generous and say 5 minutes
Actual driving plus real world conditions – add 3 minutes per block, add 30 seconds per car on the road with you, add 5 minutes per stop sign you have to go through
That alone is going to mean you’d be driving a minimum of 30 minutes a day per trip unless you find shortcuts or drive a bit on the reckless side just to beat other drivers. Doing that per day increases your stress levels and also increases the probability of you getting a traffic violation ticket or worse into a vehicular incident. Personally, I prefer driving slow, no rush, no road rage, just driving slo-o-o-o-o-o-ow-w-w-w.  
Passenger Etiquette and other stuff
The importance of a driver’s license
Your driver has a license to drive (I hope he or she does). This is something they earned on their own. Each time they drive for you, they are putting their licenses on the line for any perceived or actual offenses they may make on the road. So, the next time you ask your driver to speed up, just remember that when he gets caught for speeding, that’s your fault.
He pays the penalties, he pays the renewal fees, he pays for everything.
I wonder why driver’s licenses aren’t put in the same category of respect as let’s say a pilot’s license… both individuals operate heavy machinery and both run the risk of physical harm or loss of limbs if they get careless in any way.
Why isn’t a driver’s license as important as that or at least regarded with a little bit of respect.
Driving is Exhausting
Driving is exhausting. You’re never going to feel this because you’re just sitting there in the passenger seat while he does all the work. Although the only thing you see him do is basically turn the wheel or shift gears, there are more things happening each time you are on the road. Your driver is constantly checking his gauges to make sure that he is not running low on fuel or his temperature isn’t too high. He’s feeling the road to check if the tires are still well inflated. He’s listening to the engine to make sure everything sounds right.
Your driver gets tired too.
Your driver gets tired too.
When he drives you in the morning to wherever you need to go and you’re just sleeping in the back of the car because you were out partying all night, your driver is doing his very best to stay up. If he falls asleep on the wheel, that’s a disaster waiting to happen. So, don’t sleep and wake up at the same time he does and help out cleaning the car or warming it up. I think that’s just fair or get up early and get dressed immediately.
Driving is stressful
Driving a car puts you in a situation where stress is likely to occur. You’re going to have to interact with people on the road that may or may not drive according to your standards. Some may not know how to use the road properly and there are also some that drive recklessly causing you to react in a way that you are not fully in control of.
Don’t add to your driver’s stress by yakking on and on or shouting at him. That’s all that’s keeping him from driving the vehicle into a wall out of anger and frustration.
Don’t waste your driver’s time
Your driver is another person too. He has a life of his own and he is not part of the vehicle that you can turn on or turn off at will. He has other things to do than to wait around for you.
So make sure that when you ask him to drive you or pick you up, you’re already there waiting and not the other way around because in this day and age, it’s getting tougher and tougher for cars to stay in one place without causing a traffic situation all because you took your sweet time to get to where the pick up location is.
The soldier’s mindset
When soldiers need to evacuate, they get to a designated area at a designated time and wait for someone to pick them up. If they’re late, their pick-up vehicle leaves, no questions asked. I would love for more people to have this type of mindset. If you’re late, I leave. Don’t waste my time because I have other things to do.
Learn to drive
In order to better understand your driver, learn to drive. You don’t necessarily have to drive all the time (that’s what your driver is there for) but at least you’ll know what it’s like to drive and what happens when you’re in the driver’s seat. Maybe then you’ll be able to appreciate your driver a little better.
Before I leave… here are other things your driver is doing while he’s driving
He’s checking his side mirror, rearview mirror, side mirror, side mirror, rearview mirror, rearview mirror, outside his window, in front of the car, glancing to the side, side mirror, rearview mirror, temperature gauge, fuel gauge, was that a popping sound in the engine?, does the car lean to one side?, feels like the brakes are spongy, clutch is a bit hard, why won’t the gears engage immediately, I wonder what my oil levels are… oh no! I forgot my driver’s license!
So guys, have a heart, be kind to your driver.

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