Risk taker and thrill seeker — many have asked veteran driving instructor Bob Hawkins if he fits any of these descriptions. The daunting task of teaching first-time drivers surely has afforded him some interesting stories. But to Hawkins, there’s nothing very terrifying about the job.
“Everyone thinks being an instructor is such a scary thing,” he says. “But really, kids are all the same — once they have a little confidence, most of them take right off.”
Hawkins studied to be a physical education teacher at the University of Evansville and, as part of his studies, earned his certification in teaching driver’s education, which he started doing in 1978.
“I’ve coached football all over the place (including Castle South Middle School and Southridge High School) and driver’s education was one of the things I did as my summer employment,” he explains.
Hawkins now is retired and teaches driver’s education part time at Road Star Driving School, 8887 High Pointe Drive, Newburgh, IN, opened 14 years ago by Vickie and Richard Meek. First-time drivers, upon completion of these driver’s education classes, obtain a probationary license three months after their 16th birthday. Road Star also offers courses to adults driving for the first time.
“I start them all as if they don’t know anything and go from there,” says Hawkins. “The first drive is just getting them acclimated to the car. The second drive is like a country drive, and the third is parallel parking and city driving.”
He adds he is fortunate — he doesn’t have many crazy stories to tell.
“I had a student once, he had both hands on the wheel and was doing okay. All of a sudden, his glasses started slipping down,” he says. “He had to take a hand off the wheel to adjust his glasses. As soon as he did that, and he wasn’t paying attention, he jerked us right down into a ditch.”
“Every day is different,” he adds with a smile. “You never know what each drive is going to be like. We get kids at all different levels, but we start them all at the same place.”
For more information on Road Star Driving School, call 812-858-3995 or visit newburgh.roadstardriving.com.