Prove it to me

Raising 4 kids has been fun and difficult at the same time. They’re at the age where I have to validate almost everything I ask them to do. They seem to be testing me when I ask them to do things; kind of expecting that what I’m saying doesn’t really work. I’m okay with that because I’ve spent almost 22 years as a driving instructor with Young Drivers of Canada and a lot of my students have done the same thing to me. Once I prove that the technique I’m teaching them works, they’ll use it.I enjoy a challenge most of the time; it keeps me interested in what I’m doing. I had a big challenge with a teenager years ago. He would drive with me and keep two hands on the wheel; that is until we got close to his school. Once we got in sight of the school, he placed his right hand at 12 o’clock and put his left arm on the top of the door. He had to look cool in case his friends saw him. It didn’t matter what I said to him, he refused to put two hands back on the wheel.

This continued for a few weeks, until we had to do some braking and swerving exercises around pylons. Once we were ready to do our first swerve, he decided to put two hands on the wheel. He was surprised when I asked him to put his right hand at 12 o’clock and his left arm on the top of the door. I explained that if this was how he wanted to drive with his friends in his new yellow Mustang, he should learn what his abilities are like in that position. As he swerved for each attempt, he had hit pylon after pylon.

I could see how frustrated he was getting, so I asked him to put 2 hands on the wheel again. He agreed immediately and was able to move throughout the course without hitting a single pylon for the remaining time of these exercises. As I state over and over again to the instructors I train, we must “sell it, not tell it”. This experiment with the pylons seemed to have worked with this student, but time will tell.

A few months after this student and I had parted ways, I saw his yellow Mustang traveling though his school parking lot. As I glanced towards the driver, I saw that it was my former student and he had both hands on the wheel; even with 2 passengers in the car with him. He was a believer. I was pleased that bought into the techniques I had showed him.

As the saying goes; talk is cheap, but actions prove louder than words. If you have a point to make, be ready to prove that it works. If you can’t, it may be time to change your opinion.

Author’s Bio: Scott Marshall is Director of Training for Young Drivers of Canada ( Recently he has been a judge on the first three seasons of Canada’s Worst Driver on Discovery Network. Scott started writing columns on driving for his community paper over 4 years ago. Since then his columns have been printed in several publications including newspaper, magazines and various web-sites. Now he has his own blog at You can reach Scott via e-mail with any questions or comments at