I consider myself to be a pretty good driver. I scored a 91/100 on my driving test, losing 2 points for being TOO cautious at an intersection and 7 points for parking. Yea, the parking thing stung a little. I was driving my dad’s truck for my test and parking that in straight spaces, well, it didn’t go well. But I have since greatly improved my parking and can now fit my little car into just about any space without difficulty.
I grew up in Southern California, so I know how to manage freeway driving. I’m also well acquainted with traffic and transitions between big interstates. I didn’t even flinch when I realized that a trip to my MIL’s last week would require traveling on the 10, 215, 91, 15, 605, 105, 405 and 90 freeways. For one trip.
But in the 4 months since I’ve had Eli, I’ve noticed a stark change in my driving, sometimes even when he’s not in the car.
I used to be a bit of an aggressive driver. I have a real issue with people who think that they are allowed to drive slower than the speed limit in the left-most or carpool lanes. Prior to getting pregnant, I had a tendency to, well, tailgate. Never super close, but close enough that they knew I wanted them to speed up.
Once I got pregnant, and especially once Eli was here, that ceased. But that isn’t all of it. I find myself driving defensively now. I watch other cars and drivers, hyperaware of where they might go next. I am always making sure cars know I’m in their blind spots and make ample use of my horn, but ONLY when necessary to prevent a collision.
I’m no longer driving offensively, I’m on high alert. I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter how safely I drive, if someone else isn’t. And so I pay close attention. I keep safe distances at all times in case of a quick slow down. I take extra care to make sure I have an out if needed.
I realize now that how I used to drive wasn’t just endangering me and my passengers, but also the people around me. So now I take extra care to watch out for others, the people who are just like the way I was, just 4 short months ago.
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