I, like many drivers, am blessed with a smugness about my abilities behind the wheel; safe in the knowledge it’s everyone else on the road who is the problem.
So it came as a wee bit of a surprise when, after a trial run in Richmond’s new mobile driving simulator, I was as big a danger on the road as the city’s infamous random U-turners.
Suffice to say, if I’d been sitting a driving test, I would have scored in a category not yet invented.
Gliding through four-way stops, signaling too late, over- and under-steering into the wrong lanes at intersections.
You name the infraction and it had my face next to it in the dictionary.
Thank goodness Canada and my native UK came to a reciprocal agreement with driving licences soon after I immigrated here, otherwise I’d still be riding TransLink’s finest.
My ten minutes in the new Moncar Simulators van was, in fact, an interesting, albeit humbling, experience.
Buckled in, ignition switched on and gear stick into the drive shift, the mobile simulator — chained securely into the back of Moncar owner Alberto Montoto’s shiny, new van — feels very much like a car.
The “road” in front of you, however, is that of three computer screens, loaded with a scenario (weather conditions, practice points of your choice) punched in by Montoto before setting off.
Montoto came up with the idea of the mobile simulator after getting fed up with Richmond’s reputation for breeding horrible drivers, hoping his business idea would lend new drivers — or drivers coming from a different country — valuable experience before hitting the road for real.
And, after tying up a temporary location in the parking lot of an upholstery business at 5755 No. 3 Road — next door to the Richmond News — Montoto will launch his venture at 2 p.m. this Monday, Jan. 6.
“I’m very excited and can’t wait to finally get going,” said Cuban native Montoto.
“It’s a great location and I’m looking forward helping people before they get on the road.”
Despite not yet being up and running, Moncar Simulators has already attracted interest from ICBC and was nominated for the Small Business BC Awards.
Montoto is still hoping to find one or two more businesses in high-traffic locations, where he can park semi-permanently.
“I have full liability insurance, so no-one needs to worry about that side of things,” added Montoto.
For more information, go to www.moncarsimulators.ca.