Thanks for the Lessons: Learning to Drive - BodyShop Business

Thanks for the Lessons: Learning to Drive

My daughter is learning to drive.

I now know the true meaning of fear.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s not a terrible driver. She’s just 16 and easily distracted. Something piques her interest (an extra cool car, someone she thinks she knows or a fire truck pulling up to her favorite movie theater), and our car swerves dangerously. She says because driving is so new to her, "Sometimes I forget I’m driving."

As I said, the true meaning of fear.

In the state of Ohio, after getting their learner’s permit, kids must drive for 50 hours with a parent before they can take their driver’s test. Now into hour 15, as my daughter pulls our car into the street, I find myself silently chanting – it’s only sheet metal, it’s only sheet metal, it’s only sheet metal.

I tell myself how lucky I am. I know every good body shop within a 50-mile radius. Several are personal friends. I have no doubt about the excellent quality of repair that my car would receive.

After all these years of publishing a collision repair magazine, I have no qualms about making sure I get what’s fair when dealing with an insurance company.

In the past 21 years, I’ve been fortunate to meet many bright and talented people who’ve taught me a lot about the collision repair industry. As my daughter’s attention wanders to some kids playing in a front yard and our car quickly plows through a snow bank and straight toward a mailbox, I’m able to silently tabulate the parts that will likely be damaged from this type of a hit while simultaneously grabbing the wheel and jerking it to the left.

I’ll never forget one shop tour I received during BodyShop Business’s first year of publishing. We stopped to look at a very heavy hit that was on a frame machine. "I’ve seen too many of those to ever drive without wearing a seatbelt," the shop owner told me. I don’t know if he meant it as advice, but that’s how I took it and have never failed to buckle up from that day on.

I’m grateful for my years as an observer of the collision repair industry and for all the lessons I’ve learned. I feel it has had a positive effect on my life and maybe even on teaching my daughter to drive.

She tells me she thinks we’re both doing well. She feels that her driving skills are improving every day and that it’s great that I’ve only grabbed the steering wheel three times and yelled "Oh my God!" just once.

Although, at times it’s been frightening, there have also been some warm and pleasant moments as my daughter takes this very big step toward adulthood.

I also brace myself because I know the worst is still ahead.

"Just because the speedometer only goes to 120 doesn’t mean the car can’t go any faster than that, does it?" my son recently asked. He gets his learner’s permit in 16 months.

It’s only sheet metal, it’s only sheet metal, it’s only sheet metal.

Denise Lloyd

You May Also Like

Deadline for Busch Memorial Scholarships Approaching

Two scholarships will be awarded to students pursuing a collision career.

The ASE Education Foundation announced that the deadline to apply for the Michael Busch Memorial Scholarships is March 31. Presented by the foundation, two scholarships will be awarded for the 2024-25 academic year to students pursuing a career in the collision industry.

Qualified applicants should be graduating high school seniors or have graduated from high school or received a GED certificate. In addition, applicants should be enrolled or planning to enroll as a full-time student in a two- or four-year college or university or in an ASE-accredited post-secondary collision repair program.

Body Bangin’: Stand Out in a Consolidator’s Market with John Shoemaker

Micki Woods interviews John Shoemaker of BASF on how to be “elite” in a consolidator’s market.

Body Bangin’: Can Loaner Vehicles Be Another Revenue Stream?

Micki Woods interviews Laura Tierney of on turning loaner vehicles into a new profit center for your shop.

Protect Your Shop from Cyber Crimes with Mark Riddell

Micki Woods interviews Mark Riddell of m3 Networks Limited on what auto body shops can do to protect themselves from a cyber attack.

Body Bangin’: The Disengagement Epidemic with Kevin Wolfe

Micki Woods interviews Leaders Way Owner Kevin Wolfe on why 73% of work professionals are disengaged today and what we can do about it.

Other Posts

Body Bangin’: I Thought We Were Doing It Right with Josh Piccione

Micki Woods interviews Josh Piccione on repairing vehicles correctly — according to manufacturer guidelines.

Body Bangin’: Be a Star Not a Hamster with Robert Snook

Micki Woods interviews popular keynote speaker Robert Snook on how to differentiate and grow your business.

Body Bangin’: Know Me, Know My Car with Mike Anderson

Micki Woods interviews Mike Anderson on the importance of building an emotional connection with your customers.

Body Bangin’: Fighting for Consumer Safety with Burl Richards

Micki Woods interviews Burl Richards on his personal mission to fight for consumers’ rights and safety.