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When your Driver's Ed instructor is...

I recently had the honor of being the opening keynote speaker at the Montana Traffic Educators Association's Conference in Billings, MT. Let me just say, I was so very impressed by the high level of professionalism displayed by the instructors and their unwavering commitment to saving lives on our roadways

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.Not only are these educators experts in their field, but they also have huge hearts. They genuinely care about their students and want to make sure they are well-prepared to face the challenges of driving. Their passion for the safety of our roads is truly inspiring.

I left the conference feeling inspired and encouraged. These instructors are true superheroes, saving lives every day by imparting their knowledge and experience to the next generation of drivers. I have no doubt that their efforts will have a positive impact on our communities for years to come.

During our workshop, we talked about harnessing the power of AI to enhance their already strong abilities to have a positive influence on their students. During one of our sessions we had ChatGPT generate a couple traffic safety messages and we decided to play around a bit and asked ChatGPT to write the traffic safety message as if it were Shakespeare. That led me down this road. (Pun intended!) I hope you enjoy.

When your Driver's Ed Instrructor is also your English Teacher:  Oh fair youth, listen to my humble plea, When thou art behind the wheel, drive with care and heed. Stay in control of thy carriage, and steer it true, For the safety of thyself and others is a responsibility owed by you.  With every choice thou make, remember the power thou hold, For driving is a privilege, not a right, and it must be controlled. Take time to understand thy horseless chariot and thy surroundings, And with caution and wit, make wise decisions, without any doubtings.  Thy choices on the road, my dear youth, Can have an impact that lasts beyond thy own truth. So drive with care, and with thy carriage stay in reign, For the safety of all shall be thine ultimate gain.


When your Driver's Ed Instructor is also your Science Teacher:  Safe driving is all about understanding the physics of motion and energy. Just like in Einstein's famous equation E=mc², energy and mass are interrelated and can have a powerful impact.  So, when you're driving, remember that your car has kinetic energy - the energy of motion. This energy can be transferred to other objects in a collision, so it's important to follow the laws of physics and obey traffic signals to avoid crashes.  And just like in chemistry, a chain reaction can occur on the road when one driver makes a mistake. So, it's important to be aware of your surroundings and anticipate potential hazards to avoid a chain reaction of accidents.  Remember, safe driving is all about understanding the science behind motion and energy. So, follow the laws of physics, be aware of your surroundings, and drive defensively to stay safe on the road!


When your Driver's Ed Instructor is also your History Teacher: I can tell you that the key to safe driving lies in one of the most fundamental principles of history: learning from the past. We can't change the events that have already happened, but we can use them as lessons to shape our future.  Just as historians analyze past events, you must constantly analyze the road ahead and anticipate potential hazards. Remember that every driver has the potential to make a mistake, so it's important to be prepared for the unexpected. Always wear your seatbelt and obey traffic laws.  As President Harry S. Truman once said, "The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know." So, don't forget to study the history of driving safety as well. Learn from past accidents and make a commitment to driving defensively. Stay vigilant and remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr., "The time is always right to do what is right."


When your Driver's Ed Instructor is also your Math Teacher:  When it comes to safe driving, there's a formula you should always keep in mind: Distance = Time x Speed. That means that the distance you should maintain from the car in front of you is directly proportional to the time it would take you to stop, and inversely proportional to your speed.  And just like in math class, you should always show your work when driving. That means signaling before turning or changing lanes, checking your blind spots, and using your mirrors. And if you find yourself in a tricky situation, take a moment to assess the problem and come up with a solution, just like you would with a challenging math problem.  So, remember to apply these math concepts to your driving: maintain a safe distance, use the Pythagorean Theorem to navigate the road, and show your work by signaling and checking your surroundings. Stay safe out there!


When your Driver's Ed Instructor is also your Shop Teacher:  When it comes to safe driving, we need to remember the same principles that we use in the wood shop. Just like we measure twice and cut once to avoid mistakes, we need to plan our routes and adjust our driving to avoid potential hazards.  And just like we wear safety glasses in the wood shop, we need to wear our seatbelts and protect ourselves while driving.  In the immortal words of 3-Finger Steve, "Texting and Tables Saws don't mix."   High 3 Steve! Distractions like texting can be just as dangerous on the road as they are in the wood shop, so we need to stay focused and avoid distractions.  So, measure your driving decisions twice and make them once, wear your seatbelt like safety glasses, and avoid distractions like using your phone while driving. That's how we can stay safe on the road and avoid crashes!


When your Driver's Ed Instructor is also your Vollyball Coach:  Hey team, just like in volleyball, safe driving requires a three-step approach: Bump, Set, and Spike!  First, Bump up your focus and awareness. Stay alert and avoid distractions like texting, eating, or putting on makeup.  Next, Set yourself up for success by planning ahead and avoiding risky driving behaviors. Obey traffic signals, stay within the speed limit, and give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.  Finally, Spike your safety by always wearing your seatbelt and following the rules of the road. And just like we work on our techniques in practice, practice good driving habits like keeping a safe following distance and avoiding aggressive driving.  Remember, a three-step approach can help you stay safe on the road: Bump up your focus, Set yourself up for success, and Spike your safety!


When your Driver's Ed Instructor is also your Football coah: Alright team, when it comes to safe driving, we need to play good defense. Just like on the football field, we need to be aware of our surroundings and anticipate potential dangers.  So, keep your eyes on the road and be aware of other drivers around you. And just like a quarterback reads the defense, read the road conditions and adjust your driving accordingly.  Remember, the goal is to get to the end zone safely. So, follow the rules of the road and always wear your seatbelt to protect yourself. And just like a safety protects the end zone, be a defensive driver to protect yourself and others on the road.  So, let's play good defense, stay aware of our surroundings, and make it to the touchdown of our destination safely!


When your Driver's Ed Instructor is also your Pizza Chef:  Driving is like making a large pepperoni pizza with extra cheese - you start with the base (your car) and add the sauce (safety measures) to ensure a smooth ride. Then comes the pepperoni (other drivers), and you've got to keep an eye on them to avoid any unexpected bumps in the road.  Now, let's talk about the extra cheese. Just like you pile on the cheese to create a delicious pizza, you should pile on the safety measures to create a safe journey. Make sure you're using your turn signals, checking your mirrors, and keeping a safe distance from other cars. And if you're feeling extra cheesy, go ahead and turn up the music and sing along – just don't let it distract you from the road!  And last but not least, just like you always make sure the pizza is cooked all the way through before serving, you should always make sure you're fully rested and alert before getting behind the wheel. No one wants to end up feeling burnt out halfway through the journey.


When your Driver's Ed Instructor is also Forrest Gump:  Whenever I'm sitting outside on some part bench, I get to watch a lot of people drive by in their cars.  Many of them are looking down at their phones and I sure wish they would remember what my Mama always said.  She said, Driving is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get.  That's why we people should pay attention more to where they are going and they should always wear thier seat belts.     As Lt. Dan always said, 'take care of your feet!' and in the same way, take care of yourself and others by being a responsible driver. And remember, 'stupid is as stupid does,' so make smart decisions behind the wheel.  I'm not a smart man, but I know what good driving is and that all I have to say about that.


When your driver's ed instructor is Chewbacca:   Sounds that Chewbacca would make:  Uuuuuur Ahhhhrrr Uhrr Aaaaargh"


Instructors. Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication. Thanks for letting me hang out for the entire conference and for giving me the opportunity to learn so much from you. Please feel free to reach out. I am at your service.


Steve "Schmidty" Schmidt

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