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LAS PINAS CITY, Philippines – Many moons ago, my dad and mom gifted me my very first car. I was 16 years old. Young and foolish, energetic and careless, I had no idea of the responsibility I was being given when my dad handed me my own set of keys to my Saab 900. My dad chose that particular car because safety was of the utmost importance, not just for me, but also for my passengers. Unfortunately, I totaled the car only a few years later, while driving to my cousin’s house and trying to change the radio station at the same time.
In order to earn my license, at that tender young age of 17 years, I had to complete a few things for my father to allow me to drive alone. I had to learn how to drive stick shift. My dad always said, “If you learn to drive a manual transmission you will be able to get yourself out of any where in anything.” I also had to attend Driver’s Education in my school, where Mr. Raabe was the teacher. He was probably one of the cooler teachers in our whole high school, and I really liked how “in touch” he was with his students. He was cool because he was young enough to remember how hard it was to be a teenager.
It was in that class, that I had to learn how to check all the fluids in my car, change a flat tire, pump gas, and merge onto a major highway. These are all valuable skills that every kid should learn when they are getting behind the wheel. Skills like these are not something that you can pick up along the way, and certainly not without proper instruction.
Goodyear recently held a workshop for women in Las Pinas City. When I heard about this workshop from managing director for the Philippines and ASEAN Distributor Markets, Ron Castro, it immediately reminded me of the classes and driving lessons that I took so many years ago with Mr. Raabe. I even loved the name, “Women with Drive.” Ron also shared that Goodyear intends to arm female motorists around the country with safety skills and confidence not just in driving their cars, but also maintaining their vehicles as well. Goodyear already completed this very same workshop in Pampanga and will be offering one in Bacolod before year’s end.
I knew this refresher course was perfect for me!
Run by the crew from Tuason Racing School and their Defensive Driving Academy, we were encouraged to familiarize ourselves with car parts, fluids, and of course how to change a tire. Practical advice and driving precautions were shared when the roads are wet or even in choosing a safer place to park if you are going to your car late at night by yourself. Billy, Enrique, and Pong were all really helpful in answering questions from the women who attended, and in clarifying misconceptions.
Advice on how to prepare when going on a road trip:
- Check your tires and tire pressure.
- Making sure your vehicle is serviced and up to date on oil changes.
- Making sure your cell phone is fully charged.
- Inform someone of your destination and your estimated time of arrival.
When driving in wet conditions, it’s important to:
- Slow down.
- Increase your following distance.
- Don’t slam on your brakes.
- Absolutely do not use your hazards while driving. This is just confusing.
Important safety tips when driving alone:
- Keep your valuables out of sight.
- Lock the doors during your journey.
- Never give a lift to strangers.
- If someone tries to signal that something is wrong with your car, do not pull over unless you are sure they are right.
Three different stations were set up for “hands-on” learning. We were guided through parts of the under carriage, assisted in changing a “flat” tire, and advised on how to check fluids under the hood. Everyone was given a chance to master these skills by rotating through the center in small groups.
Typically I know, that women don’t feel confident when they go into a repair shop for their cars. Often times, they feel like they are being taken advantage of, or worse yet, made to feel like they are not knowledgable in what’s wrong with their vehicle.
After attending this educational night set aside for women drivers that will take place in various locations all over the country, I can only admire the commitment and the steps that Goodyear is taking to empower female drivers and educate them on the basics of how to maintain their cars and drive safely. – Rappler.com
Michelle Ressa-Aventajado is a Filipina American who grew up in NY and now makes Manila her home. When she’s not busy raising her four children, she enjoys teaching, reading and writing about her passions. Follow her blog Momma ‘N Manila as she documents her adventures and growth in parenting.