Glass Half Full: A teaching moment – proper driving skills |

Glass Half Full: A teaching moment – proper driving skills

Ruth Glass

Turn signals. My parents were sticklers about using turn signals when they were teaching my brothers and me to drive. Actually, I’m old enough that sometimes we had to use arm signals in the vehicles we drove.

Mom and Dad were clear about why turn signals were so important: safety for all concerned and respect for other drivers. We are defensive, but not fearful, drivers.

I was taught to keep an eye on the road ahead, check rear and side view mirrors frequently, and try to plan for all contingencies.

The use of turn signals is so ingrained that I sometimes do so as I turn into my own garage with no other car in sight. What does it hurt?

One of my pet peeves is what appears to be an increasing disdain for turn signals, and I can’t help but wonder why. The joke in Incline Village, I have come to recognize, is that “California drivers” are the problem.

“Not fair,” I respond. Failure to signal appears to be an equal opportunity offense. And I reject the “rental car” suggestion. It’s time we all own our responsibility to others and ourselves.

We are a busy little town, and road conditions are only going to get worse. Let’s all work on safety.

Teacher that I am, of course turn indicators also represent a metaphor for Life. Our roads, virtual and otherwise, intersect with others’.

This is the time for parent-teacher conferences in many schools. The most productive conversations stem from the drivers (parents and teachers) who signal their intentions in advance.

Rather than taking an abrupt turn, effective teachers share their curricula and classroom expectations in at the beginning of the year.

Instead of suddenly pulling off to the side of the road, as it were, and pulling their children for an unexpected school absence, responsible parents speak to their schools and teachers well in advance to coordinate plans.

Life is full of surprises, many of them unnecessary. Use your turn signals, whether you are in a vehicle or considering your next life’s journey.

Everyone will be safer and happier — and no one will be yelling and shaking a fist at you!

Ruth Glass is headmaster at Lake Tahoe School. She can be reached for comment through her blog at

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