A 58-year-old Rossland resident looking to coast into retirement has instead opened up his first business.
Paul Marit of Beep Beep Driving School is now offering his services in Greater Trail.
Marit spent nearly 30 years working as a technician at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital before checking out permanently a couple years ago.
On duty, he also facilitated training and drove an ambulance for about three years, which comes in handy in his new career as a driving instructor.
“I worked in an institution for 30 years. I was looking for something that gave me independence,” he said. “When I saw an ad for a driving instructor, I thought ‘I’ve been driving for 40 years, how hard can it be?’”
Marit completed training before landing a job as an instructor for Trail Driving School. After purchasing his own vehicle, Marit was laid off and decided to bite the bullet and open his own business.
He was on the road last year, traveling up to 40,000 kilometres and spending most of his time in Grand Forks, which no longer had an instructor.
“It was a hard year last year, I’m happy to be back in Trail,” he said, adding that he will pick up students within 20 kilometres of Rossland but will still make trips to Grand Forks regularly to satisfy his existing client base.
Beep Beep Driving School deals mostly with individuals looking to get their driver’s license for the first time but specializes in a number of other areas, including a review for seniors as well as instruction on winter driving, which attracts a vast clientele.
“It can be a clear blue day and it may look like the road is dry, and everything can go to hell,” he said of navigating through local winter conditions.
The first step to driving is getting comfortable in the driver’s seat and taking control without hesitation, he said, adding that his vehicle is equipped with a second brake in case of an emergency.
“I figure out each person that comes into my car and quickly assess what they need,” he said. “In some cases, figure-eights in a parking lot helps boost a new driver’s confidence.”
Once the anxiety dies down, Marit brings his students out onto highways where there are fewer distractions before practicing in city centres and honing in on technical aspects of driving, like parking.
Lessons go for $45 an hour and can be arranged seven days a week between 7 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Marit can be reached at 368-7000.