179. The Driving Lesson (2)


"Whoa! Whoa! Stop! What are you doing?! Holy cow!" Webster, an inexperienced teenaged driver, had just turned left in front of two oncoming cars. Noah couldn't believe it. The cars were heading west through the intersection, and Webster pulled out as if they weren't even there. Fortunately, the two cars slowed down and let Webster complete his turn. How could he not have seen the cars, Noah wondered.

"Didn't you see those two cars?" he asked Webster. "Yes," Webster answered. But because he was in the middle of the intersection waiting to make the left turn, he was worried that he was a sitting duck for other traffic. So he was just trying to get out of the intersection. Noah felt like he had just aged 10 years. This was the second near-death collision in the last five minutes with his student driver. In his 40 years of driving, Noah couldn't remember a day like this.

He told Webster to pull over. They exchanged seats. Noah got back onto the 210 freeway, and headed west to Allen Ave. As he drove, he explained to Webster all the mistakes Webster had made earlier while driving on the 210. "I thought you passed driving school," Noah said. Webster had, but he said that was two years ago, when he was 16. Since then, his mom hadn't let him drive at all, because her car insurance didn't cover Webster.

"Oh, so you're really rusty," Noah said, understandingly. Not only was he rusty, Webster agreed, but 15 minutes ago was the first time he had ever driven on the freeway, he was scared to death, he told Noah. "Oh, jeez," Noah said, sympathetically. "Yeah, the first time you're on the freeway, it's really scary. But believe me, the surface streets are more dangerous. Every intersection is a crash waiting to happen."

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