Driving home the other day, I started thinking about being in charge of such a machine as the automobile. At 15 years of age, most kids start learning to control this machine, and in a very short time, they are good at it. With the turn of a wheel and the press of a foot on a pedal, the car moves and the driver is in control. With careful and responsible use, the car can be maneuvered safely down life’s roads…and while driving it, we give little or no thought to just how amazing that is. A car is no small thing, and trucks are even bigger, and yet they are driven around by people who are pretty much one tenth of their size…sometimes less than that. Am I the only one who thinks about that?
Before the invention of the automobile, people did control wagons and horse drawn carriages, but the horse had some say in what happened…at least to the extent that it wouldn’t usually go running off a cliff. And maybe it wasn’t a good thing to have the horse involved exactly, because it could fight against the driver…unlike the automobile. Nevertheless, to have a machine that you have to control or it will go out of control, and to think that kids as young as fifteen are controlling that vehicle, is amazing and even mind boggling to me. And yet, it is being safely done every day.
I’m not sure just why it sometimes hits me that driving a car every day is amazing, but it does. And when my kids and grandkids started driving, it seemed even more strange to me. How could they possibly know how to handle such a machine? They couldn’t possibly be ready or capable of such a thing, but the reality is that just like me, they were ready for it. There are approximately 30,000,000 drivers in the United States today, and if even a third of them are kids, there are about 10,000,000 kids driving their cars, and most generally keeping them in their own lane and on the road. I don’t say that driving a car is the safest way to travel, because like it or not, that honor belongs to the airlines. Many people wouldn’t agree, but the numbers don’t lie.
I know my thoughts sometimes seem a little odd, but the next time you get behind the wheel, contemplate for a moment just how amazing it is that you operate a piece of machinery that is about ten times your size and you do it while giving it almost no thought at all. I guess that our minds grasp many things, and driving a car doesn’t seem to be a particularly difficult one, since it is something we master at a relatively young age. A vehicle is a complicated piece of machinery with many things to master, but we have been doing it for a long time…truly amazing.