I’ve written before about my days as a 40,000 miles a year salesman and how noticing those who were obviously setting off on a Sunday afternoon helped inspire me to help others do all in their power to create and sustain a healthy work/life rythme.
This time I’m reminded of some of the lessons I learned and continue to learn whenever I find myself behind the wheel of my car.
Thankfully, I probably average between 10,000 and 15,000 miles a year these days.
Lesson #1: Don’t lose sight of what’s immediately in front of you
One of my biggest headaches whilst driving (as it is for all drivers) is when you suddenly find yourself driving into direct sunlight. Even with sunglasses on, it can immediately render you practically blind. I usually slow right down, almost to a complete stop until the light changes and I can regain my vision.
The other day, I was thankfully, driving very slowly around one of the several bends in my village and the sunlight suddenly beamed right through my windscreen and as per usual, I couldn’t see anything.
I then realised to my horror, that a cyclist was right next to my nearside wing mirror. I shuddered at the thought that I could so easily have clipped the cyclist and not even been aware he was there, until it was too late.
In life generally, it’s often worth remembering to take notice of what’s right in front of you. It could be the answer you’re searching for, the person you’ve been waiting for, or an opportunity you didn’t expect.
Lesson #2: Don’t panic when your car is aquaplaning
Despite all the top tips for how to avoid aquaplaning or hydroplaning, it is often unavoidable. In case you don’t know, aquaplaning is when your tyres hit a layer of water on the road, usually caused by heavy rainfall, and momentarily, no longer grip the surface of the road.
I remember the first time this happened to me as a teenager and in truth, I felt terrified and exhilarated at the same time. For a split second, it felt like my car had turned into a speedboat, and suddenly, it felt as if I was going faster than ever.
The reality is of course, it is a scary thing, sometimes very scary. When the weather is bad but not so bad that you can still safely drive at the speed limit, it always takes you by surprise.
Statistically speaking, aquaplaning accounts for approximately 0.1% of all road accidents.
Here’s the lesson then. Some things in life are scary, sometimes very scary, but they won’t kill you.
They probably won’t even injure you either but your reaction to them would have you believe that disaster is at hand.
Things like a stressful situation at work. A disagreement with a friend or relative. A loss of money – either literally losing some cash or your investment in something isn’t looking good right now, or a client stops working with you.
All of those things have happened to me and I didn’t deal with them well on some days.
Other days I was better. All you can do is your best. Learn whatever lessons were there to be learned.
Lesson #3: When You’re Stuck in Traffic, There’s Usually Nothing You Can Do About It
Just this week, After an early start to visit two clients at the same head office, my plans were severely hindered by a traffic incident that resulted in me sitting completely stationary for two hours.
During my days driving 40,000 miles every year, I have experienced a few of these total standstill situations, and however happy and upbeat I was at the beginning, it is always a major challenge to my patience. It takes a big effort usually, I would argue, to simply sit there and not get a tiny bit irritated.
I try to always ensure I’ve got something to read wherever I go, for situations just like this.
Thankfully, I have never been involved in any of the various motorway situations during a snow drift and had to camp out overnight. I do remember a former colleague of mine taking more than twelve hours to get home during the infamous snow storms of 2003. He stopped several times to help others out until he eventually arrived home at around five o’clock the following morning.
This week’s standstill was due, it turns out, to a driver being killed after ploughing into a parked police car that was involved in helping another driver out.
That is very obviously, a genuine tragedy, and I am very sorry for the loss of this person’s life, whoever he may have been.
Very often in life, things take a whole lot longer than we expected. Sometimes, due to the extreme nature of the delay, we simply don’t get to do what we wanted to do that day.
For most of us, most of the time, we will get another opportunity, and there is no sense in wasting your energy on stressing about the enforced delay.
Until next time, be blessed to be a blessing!