HUMOR: Confessions of a Driving Instructor

Popular Mechanics contributor Mac Demere spent thousands of hours in the passenger’s seat while trying to teach terrifying teenagers to drive or letting amateur motorists test the differences between good and great tires. It’s the kind of gig that plays with your sanity—but offers good stories in exchange. This story is funny and relates to some peoples fear of the brake pedal and maybe ABS:

The Brake Is Your Friend

After trying and failing repeatedly to get a student to stay on the gas down the straightaway, I had the opposite problem as the car bore down on the track’s upcoming hairpin. (To see the difference between good and great tires, the instructor must get the participant to push the car to its limits.) “Brake,” I said. “Slow down!” I urged. We were still going at least as fast as we had on the straight. Maybe faster. “Brakebrakebrake,” I tried, then: “STOP! HALT! Arret! Alto! Tomare! Anschlage!”

Neither a thesaurus nor Rosetta Stone helped. We bounced off the course and ripped off the car’s under-bumper air dam. When the car finally stopped, I looked at him and said, “What?!”

“I was afraid of skidding,” he replied meekly.

“You’d rather wreck than skid?” No response. The true answer was yes. It’s my experience that most drivers hesitate to push a car hard—they don’t want to use more than half of a car’s braking power, much less its cornering ability. Some will hit another car or a telephone pole rather than push harder on the brakes or turn the steering wheel with more gusto

Read more: Confessions of a Driving Instructor – Popular Mechanics