My parents wanted me to take lessons from Baldwin's Driving School. Mr. Baldwin was a nice man, when we started, but I think I gave him a nervous condition, while he was trying to teach me. We went out to Fort Jackson for him to teach me the art of applying the gas and then the brake. I finally got the hang of it. I got pretty good over time, so he took me out on the freeway. That day, we were going down I-20 near Broad River Rd., and we got behind a lumber truck that had a board sticking out. It was going slower than we were. I asked Mr. Baldwin if I should pass the truck. I have never forgotten his answer. He said, "If you don't, we are going to die." I passed the truck. Sage words on his part.
I went to take the driving test and failed the written part. Over the next few weeks, I failed the written test 3 times before passing it on the 4th try. As for the driving test, I failed the first time, because I broke the parallel park barrier. I thought the car was in drive, but it was in reverse. When I stepped on the gas, the car lurched backwards, and I rammed into the back barrier. I looked in the mirror to see a portion of the wooden barrier falling down. I retook the test later and passed it. I think they gave me the license just to get rid of me.
Except for being a little careless with speed, I only have gotten one ticket for failure to stop at a stop sign, which I don't think was justified. It was around 10:30 one morning on a school day. It was raining. I was going through a neighborhood and saw a box lying in the road. I thought it would be fun to run over it, so I went around the block to go back to the box. I slowed at a stop sign but didn't stop. I made the right turn, and the policeman stopped me. He said that kids could have been playing out there at that time. I told the officer that I didn't think they would be out playing in the rain on a school day. I found out that you are not supposed to reason with the police, because instead of a warning, he gave me a ticket. It took a whole week, before I could muster up enough courage to tell my father. He paid it.
I have had only one wreck, and that was in 1977. I had left work to go back to my dorm, where I was going to school. It was lightly raining, and the roads were slick. I came off of the interstate too fast, and the exit ramp was very short. I put on the brakes, and they locked. I slid into the car in front of me. It did $600 of damage to my car, and 50-cents to the car that I hit. For a long time, I didn't like to drive in the rain.
Even though I haven't driven a car since 2013 (mine blew up in 2009), they tell me that I am a very safe driver. I guess practice makes perfect.