John’s Recon

August 5, 2010

The Galatyn Overpass

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 5:52 am

After getting slightly confused on the Galatyn Overpass over US75 in Dallas, the student driver said to me, I am not familiar with this road – I have not been on it before. I answered, that he will be on many roads that he has never been on before. After thinking about it, I have a lot more to say to this student who is a very skillful handler of the car but who will spend his whole life obtaining a mastery of the “road”.

Your Dad has taught you well. You are a very skillful handler of the car, but …   I like to use my favorite sport soccer as an example. The masters of the game look on the outside to be just simple passers of the ball. Every pass is simple and unhurried while others are frantically scurrying about. Their minds are going a thousand miles a minute as they mentally compute the paths of friendlies and foes to make that simple correct-speed pass to a team mate that threads through just beyond the reach of foes but just exactly reaches their player in just the right place to move the game forward. This master, mastered the skills of the ball in early teens but has taken a lifetime to master the game so that his play looks simple.

Think of three of the top driving masters in our country — the long-haul truck driver, the bus driver, and the limousine driver. The limousine driver’s mind has to work extremely fast to plan and re-plan his strategic path through traffic in an unhurried and very smooth manner. As openings come and go in traffic, he has to smoothly move in to take advantage while seeming nonchalant while the guy in back writes his report and sips his coffee — the good ones move through traffic and handle the unexpected just as fast as the guy who looks like a race car driver with his arms flailing about jumping from lane to lane. My mom once put an object on the dash when I was learning in Phoenix traffic and told me to keep it still as I moved through traffic — harder than you think. The bus driver has to think about all of his loading and unloading as well as how to negotiate carefully and smoothly in amongst the little traffic scurrying about his ankles without stepping on any of them. The long-haul truck driver has to think and plan miles in advance to make sure he doesn’t get into any “situations” that he can’t get out of.

I had a TV delivered a few days ago from a long-haul truck driver. He called me about a half-hour before he delivered. He wanted to know how the cars were parked in my cul-de-sac, could he turn around, could he back in — know the layout before you get there. Now that is a master driver.

So even if the markings are worn thin on the Galatyn Overpass, think about the overall structure as you are driving up and that there must be 4-way traffic at the top or they wouldn’t have built it. Actually more importantly, think about the next situation or road you will be on before you get to it — just like the master soccer player thinks about where he will pass the ball before the ball comes to him. It will take a lifetime to master but you will be darn good in five years from now.


John Prichard

Almost master of some Plano roads

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