This past August, I celebrated my twenty-sixth birthday. I know, I know...Twenty-six isn’t really a “milestone” year - especially after all of the hoopla that comes with turning twenty-five. Little did I know was that twenty-six had more in store for me than any year that preceded it. One watershed realization I DID have in real-time is that August 25th (my birthday) marked my ten year anniversary of attaining my driver's license. A momentous occasion for every teenager! That said, about five of those years were spent in larger city centres like Vancouver and Toronto, where my license served as nothing more than a Photo ID. The only time I would drive in those years was when I would visit home on holidays, or if I rented a car to venture outside of the city limits. Returning home for this job inaugurated my first time using a self-driven vehicle as my primary mode of transportation since my freshman year of university.
Believe it or not, my ability as a driver wasn’t really hindered by this hiatus. I guess you could say it’s like riding a bike - you don’t easily forget. My attitude toward driving has, however, changed significantly. As someone who has gotten around via public transit for the majority of my adult life, I recognize what a luxury and privilege it is to live in a province where driving is so feasible. I also have a renewed perspective for just how much responsibility comes with operating a motor vehicle on a regular basis.
The Saskatchewanderer program wouldn’t be possible without the help and support of CAA Saskatchewan, the official program sponsor, who not only provide me with my means of transportation (The CAA Wanderer-Mobile) but instill the safety awareness that's crucial for someone who is on the road as much as I am this year. As a recipient of CAA’s generosity and a representative of their mandate, it’s my responsibility to travel the province as safely as humanly possible. The same can be said about the four government ministries I represent as well.
For this reason, I enrolled in a defensive driving course - my first formal driving training since I got my learner’s permit more than a decade ago. The course was a hands-on approach to driving as it pertains to the current climate of Saskatchewan roads and highways. A huge component of this, which wasn’t covered in my initial driver's training but has become common knowledge, was the implications of driving while using a cellphone. During my recess from the roads, there have been some serious laws put into place to impede this epidemic, and with good reason.
The main objective of the defensive driving course was the avoidance of collisions. As an adult, I have the good sense to know what should and shouldn’t be done while behind the wheel such as using a hand-held mobile phone, and other forms of distracted driving. That said, everyone is susceptible to momentary lapses of judgment or occasional carelessness. In spite of the fact that very little of the lesson plan was new information, it really emphasized how important it is that I’m always attentive while driving. This theory should always be consciously practiced and at no time should a driver revert to an "autopilot" setting. I have also come to understand the importance of driving with a positive attitude and being alert at all times.
I’m currently gearing up for what is called “busy season” for the Saskatchewanderer. The next four months will include very little time at home and many hours on the open road. Nothing excites me more than the idea of driving into Saskatchewan’s famous sunset - but as a representative of CAA, the Government of Saskatchewan and drivers everywhere, I now recognize the responsibility that comes with the mobility I have been granted. Thanks to the defensive driving course and to CAA Saskatchewan, I’m more road-ready than ever before!
For some good driving tips, visit caask.ca/safety