I'm not a boy scout, but I've borrowed their motto, "be prepared," and have made it my own. My car has a Ziploc bag tucked under the floor mat in case of an upset stomach. I keep a pen with duct tape wrapped around it in my purse. And lately, I've been practicing driving using my left foot. I refuse to be one of those people who's driven to work every day while a break or a sprain heals. I want to be prepared.
It's funny how "left-footing it" can make an experienced driver feel like a newbie. My left-footed stops are stuttery and my starts both crawl and lurch. When a policeman merged in front of me, my right foot ached to take over, but my left insisted it could do it.
My left foot isn't starting entirely from scratch. For years, before I was old enough to drive, my dad let me slide up next to him on the bench seat of our Rambler station wagon to practice. From the near middle of the car, I guided the steering wheel and later punched at the pedals until I perfected my skills. Crossing a snowy, crusted wake during a highway lane change was much easier with Dad smushed against the car door beside me. I was so used to steering from the middle of the car that I could have gotten a job as a rural mail carrier. When I finally turned 16 and took my rightful place in the driver's seat, I had trouble figuring out where I was on the road.
My left foot remembers a lot of what it learned 40 years ago and is coming along nicely. Every day my stops are easier, and my starts are smoother. I'm happy. I've got my duct tape, my Ziploc bag, and a prepared left foot that is ready to drive me wherever I want to go.