Driving Lessons

Becky is 14. In two (very, very short) years she'll get a driver's permit. That scares me a little bit. Let me tell you why.

While I was driving through a mall parking lot, and stopping at each STOP painted on the pavement, Becky said, "I wouldn't stop, that's just stupid. You already stopped several times."

While waiting at an intersection to pull out, Becky said, "you could have gone a dozen times. That car wasn't that close." While I'll admit to being a cautious driver, it does not warm the cockles of my heart knowing that my up and coming teen driver is willing to take chances with our family transportation.

While traveling through town, the daughter asked why I was driving so slowly. "Um, there are speed limits in town." Her answer? "Yeh, so?"

There is a reason - many reasons - why the thought of my daughter driving scares me. But the fact remains that she'll be eligible for a permit soon and she should probably have a little knowledge about things before getting behind the steering wheel, on the road with other motorists.

Today I let her drive down the driveway to the house. We have a long drive, so while she actually got to drive it was a fairly harmless environment.

The boys got out of the van when Becky and I traded places. They preferred to walk to the house.

Becky adjusted the seat, and the mirror, and her hair. "Do you adjust the mirror so that you can see out the back, or see yourself?" (I can't make this stuff up, people.)

She had one foot on the gas and the other on the brake. I reminded her that you only drive with one foot unless you're in a standard. We weren't. Use the right only, please.

She pressed on the gas, revving the engine, and was quite surprised that the van didn't go anywhere. She'd never put it in drive.

Once she finally got going, I reminded her to slow down over the ditch because of the nasty gutters on either side that jounce the teeth out of your mouth. She did well. I had to ask her to stop before running into the house steps, and the brakes were applied quite forcefully. All in all, considering it's the very first time she'd ever driven the van, she didn't do too badly. Mental note: let her drive on the property more often to hone her skills.

Josh (who just turned 12) asked if he could straighten the van. It was parked rather askew. Becky slid out and Josh took over. He checked his mirrors, turned the wheel, put it in reverse, maneuvered here and there, and neatly pulled it in straight. Granted, he would have run over the bicycle left in the driveway if Becky hadn't moved it out of his way, but other than that he done good.

Also? I'm shamed. My 12 year old son can back up better than I can. The next time I need to parallel park, I'm letting him take over.


Jennifer said...

LOL @ the adjusting the mirror question. That is awesomely frightening :)

I was a horrible driver when I first started, my poor mom. I wish you luck!!

(Keri) Auburn Gal Always said...

How funny! I let Sissy drive the Rhino while I raked the grass cuttings into the back yesterday. She did really well, actually.

Look at those beautiful eyes she has! Wow. You and Sam are in for it when the dating gets in full swing!

Debbie Yost said...

In Kansas you can get a permit at 14 and a half. My oldest is 13. I'm scared. I'm very scared. She asked me the other day as I was working from home doing some dull data entry why I didn't just say I was working and not do it. Hmm, got to work on the whole rule thing with her. That needs to transfer into driving rules as well.

Anonymous said...

The mirror question makes me think I may never drive in PA - just in case Becky and I happen to be on the same throughfare!

I can remember doing lots of parking lot driving with my Dad on Sunday afternoons . . . it was always my Dad, and never my Mom. I am thinking that tradition will carry over to my children, which makes such the only thing I am looking forward to come their 15th birthday.

Karen Deborah said...

We have taught so many kids to drive that our collective nerves are shot.
Kayla is our one kid who has never pushed to learn to drive. She is going to be 19 this year. I'm taking her tomorrow to get a learners permit. I think I finally woke up that if she doesn't learn to drive we are going to keep giving her rides. So you see you aren't the only one who isn't making this stuff up. Neither one of us have the guts left to ride around with this one. I'm getting the permit. For us this started with our 15 year olds 22 years ago and there are still kids to teach. Maybe we can practice at the looney bin so I can admit myself if necessary.

the planet of janet said...

as i told you before, there is nothing more frightening than sitting in the death seat of a car with your child behind the wheel.

i feel your pain.

The Sports Mama said...

Because I'm a helpful sort of friend, I'm sharing some recently heard comments in my car with my newly driving teenager behind the wheel:

-So, I can turn on a red light, right? (As he just sort of rolls right through without even stopping.)

-Oh? Was that an intersection? (As he changed lanes.)

-Stop. Stop now. Stop Now. STOP NOW!!! (that was my way of reminding him that my brakes may not be as good as he thinks they are.)

Hang in there. It DOES get better. Promise. :)

Becoming Mommy said...

Oh my goodness!
I'd be tempted to institute the rule my parents did:
"you can get your permit/license when you can pass the idiot test"
And who was sole judge of what was on the idiot test and who passed? They were.
Insisting you speed or have moving violations would have been an instant FAIL.

Brandie said...

Now I'm afraid of Becky learning to drive! ;) My husband used to teach people how to drive tractor trailer, so this will be his job when the kids are old enough. He says the best thing is to let them drive equipment from a young age. Lawn mowers, atvs, tractors, etc... I'm saying this is a safe plan, but I think it may work. He has the girls drive the quad anytime he needs to go somewhere on it and now my 7yo can even park it in the garage!

Brandie said...

Oops - I meant to type "not a safe plan"

utmomof 5 said...

Umm, good luck with that child :) Does your car insurance salesman read your blog? Let's hope not!!

Trisha said...

You are one brave lady! Teens driving is one of the most frightening things on earth! It sounds like she did well - and your son did too!

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

That's hilarious and scary all at the same time! LOL Kassidy is almost 10 and I'm already cringing at the thought of teaching her to drive. I see similar stories in our future. I swear she has my blonde roots under her brunette hair! LOL And what is it about boys instinctively knowing how to back up and park? I don't understand it but it's not fair! LOL

Tanya said...

I have a theory.
As children boys are encourage to develop better driving skills. My in laws bought my 3 year old nephew a big wheels car and let him drive in cirles around their cul-de-sac. He steers by himself and everything.

I have a feeling a girl would have gotten a kitchen set or dolls instead. I think boys automatically do things that help their driving skills from an early age.

HalfAsstic.com said...

OH MAN. I know exactly how you feel! My older daughter got her license just a few days after she turned 16 and my younger one is now 18 and still hasn't gotten it! She doesn't seem to be in any hurry, and I haven't pushed her at all just because she didn't seem ready, Now? She NEEDS IT! Hopefully this week she will go with her dad and get it.

Roger said...

Benjy "drove" my FILs car a couple months ago (he is also 14), and scared the crap out of me, my FIL and himself, because he nearly took me out, then the garage. My FIL was smart and stayed back. At least Benjy has a new respect for the power of a 2,000 pound machine, and in two short months, he'll have his permit and I will get a few more gray hairs. I just hope that he is better than my Goddaughter. I have a special post for that, after she gets her license, next month (maybe. It's maybe because she "borrowed" her grandparents car over the fourth of July - oops!).

Flea said...

Bwahahaha! Sounds like our girls have equal driving experience. Unfortunately, my girl's 16 and not interested in driving.

Carl said...

teaching young kids how to drive is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences any parent can face simply because of the lack of control and security aspects. I agree with one of the comments above that it is best to start them off on light household machinery so they can understand the importance of safety and concentration before taking on the big dog i.e. the family Ford!

JennyH said...

Scary times. be brave mom! You already were by letting both of them try it out.

driving lessons ashford kent said...

Just make sure you choose the right instructor to ease your concerns. Walter