What is the best driving advice you have ever received?
Growing up on a farm, driving was a part of everything we did. We would drive out to the field to check the cows, crops, the fences. There was nothing more exciting than getting to that stretch of road or trail through the field where I would be allowed to drive. At first I would sit beside my dad or my grandpa and reach over and turn the steering wheel. They would work the gas and the brake because my legs were still too short to reach. Eventually, when I could reach the peddles, I was allowed to drive the truck through gate after it was opened (this ended when I was big enough to open the gate myself).
I was about seven years old when I got to drive the old early 70’s International half ton truck by myself. My grandpa was chasing a cow that had been left behind when we brought the rest of the herd home a few days earlier. We had to go up quite a steep hill along the fence line. I knew the clutch had to be pressed in when the engine was started. Then it had to be let out to get the truck to go forward. After a few stalls, I convinced that old three-on-a-tree half ton to follow gramps and the cow up the hill. My only goal was to keep the truck from veering off to the right into the bush or to the left into the fence. Once I got to the top of the hill I knew I needed to get that old thing stopped. I grabbed onto the steering wheel for leverage and pressed as hard as I could on the brake. I came to a lurching stop.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was that a person tends to go in the direction that they are looking. If you look to the right you tend to go to the right. If you look to the left, you tend to go to the left. I learned this lesson the hard way with a load of square bales on the back of the 1977 Chevy half ton. We noticed something in the field on the right, and as I was looking in the direction, the truck slowly moved to the right as well. As the sound of the truck on gravel changed to the sound of tall grass hitting the bumper I immediately over corrected to the left. Of course the load of bales ended up in the ditch. In the end, all was well, I just had to re-stack the load and we were off.