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I need a reality check ...

by Bill Osler / February 27, 2010 10:48 AM PST

Can somebody remind me WHY we think it is a good idea for teenagers to drive cars? I think I'm going to survive teaching my younger son to drive. I may even have some hair left when I'm done. But still. I'm not sure ANYBODY should drive until they are past the teenage years.

It's peculiar how we protect them from all manner of dangers and then turn them lose in massive, hard to operate vehicles traveling at near relativistic speeds (OK, so I exaggerate). The amazing thing is the fact that most of them live to tell about it.

I think I'll make him wait until his 30th birthday to get a license. That way he can start driving about the time I let him start dating.

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NEVER teach a family member to drive.
by JP Bill / February 27, 2010 10:54 AM PST

IF you want to stay on good terms and keep your sanity.

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I don't have any options yet ...
by Bill Osler / February 27, 2010 7:07 PM PST

He took Driver Ed (it's required) but we have not found any suitable way to have somebody else work with him until he is a bit more comfortable. Options in rural areas are sometimes limited.

I tried to find a place that has a driving simulator so he could get more practice in a realistic but non-dangerous setting but the closest one is over 100 miles away. I suspect it's also pretty expensive.

At least the Drivers Ed teacher got him through the hardest part. I wonder if those guys get hazardous duty pay?

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rural areas?!
by James Denison / February 27, 2010 8:53 PM PST

You have it made. You should try teaching him to drive around where I live between Baltimore and Washington DC. The real test is taking them on either beltway, during rush hour.

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I learned in the suburbs ...
by Bill Osler / February 28, 2010 6:56 AM PST
In reply to: rural areas?!

I'm not quite sure how my parents survived with sanity more-or-less intact after all those near death experiences in traffic.

I don't think I could cope with teaching an ADD child how to drive in an urban area.

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I learned in Md., but far away from the Baltimore Washington
by Ziks511 / March 5, 2010 12:42 AM PST
In reply to: rural areas?!

rhubarb patch. My dad was not really gung ho on me having a car, so he drove me to the train station each morning where I caught the train into Balluhmer and took the bus to the University. Then I moved away, and that was it for hairy driving until I got to Toronto which is dense, and fraught with less than intelligent drivers and then England having had no sleep for 30+ hours and picked up the car at Heathrow. That was a trip and a half. I drove about an hour and a half to what must have once been a really nice hotel, at least the front was Tudor, but the additions at the back were less delightful, in I think, Critchlow in East Sussex. I ended up falling asleep on the floor while my wife and son went for dinner and a walk with the bunnies (there were dozens of them.) After the second week, my shoulders stopped aching and I got better at it, and eventually learned to love it. When we came back here and I had to sit at a Traffic Light while no traffic was going through the intersection I went, "Where are the damn' roundabouts when you need them."


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Rural area, huh? Just a thought
by Angeline Booher / February 27, 2010 11:24 PM PST

A lot of guys in my generation earned to drive on farms. Some were pretty good at an astonishing young age. Sure, learning to handle a heavy piece of machinery was necessary as they also drove tractors. But learning to handle a vehicle on unpaved, rough country roads was a valuable lesson.

Perhaps you know of a farmer in your area that would permit you to continue your son's motoring experience on his property (away from valuable animals and crops, of course) Happy )

W helps us was requiring ors had one year's insurance in the bank before unaccompanied driving. They saved earnings from their summer jobs at 16 and 17. (Summer earning s between the junior and senior year went into savings for college.) Maybe having to pay for part of the driving privilege gave them a sense of responsibility.


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A flashback
by Steven Haninger / February 28, 2010 12:21 AM PST

When I first entered HS, there was no student parking lot. Any who needed to drive required justification. This would mean that there was no alternate transportation or that they needed to leave school and go directly to their job. An exception was made for some farm kids. They could come by tractor and leave it on a dirt lot. The minimum age to have a tractor on public roads was either 12 or fourteen (I forget exactly) but was 16 to drive and automobile. There were always more student vehicles made by John Deere than Ford or Chevy. Happy

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(NT) Not an NT
by Angeline Booher / February 28, 2010 12:24 AM PST
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my wife
by James Denison / February 27, 2010 10:57 AM PST

She was almost 30 before she started driving. She'd had a learner's permit, but spent college without a car, then into AF, then married me already with car, and before chance to get license shipped overseas. She got one when we returned. Oddly, she did get an international license overseas, but driving there was dangerous enough she decided to wait till stateside to start.

So, maybe send him to college but not give him enough to get a car?

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international license overseas?
by jonah jones / February 27, 2010 1:08 PM PST
In reply to: my wife

i thought you needed a "regular" license to get an international?


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we did too, LOL.
by James Denison / February 27, 2010 8:46 PM PST

Seems Greece, or at least Crete had different setup, or it was issued by mistake. Laws were made to be broken there. For instance you supposedly needed a license to rent motorbikes, but in reality few places cared to even check.

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My son just got his license..
by EdHannigan / February 27, 2010 11:32 AM PST

and I am all for it. Now he can get a job and my wife and I can retire from taxi duty. I will probably need him to drive me around very soon.

Unlike a lot of teens, he is a very cautious good driver.

Driver's Ed at the school is the way to go. Less aggravation and you get a break on your car insurance costs.

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Driver's Ed is required here ...
by Bill Osler / February 27, 2010 7:04 PM PST

In North Carolina, all drivers under age 18 are required to pass driver's education and hold a learner's permit for a minimum of 1 year:

My son is unenthusiastic about driving, partly because he KNOWS that we will make him run errands that will cut into the time he has to do 'stuff'. He also has a LOT to learn. He apparently inherited my naturally excellent (not!) hand/eye coordination, resulting in some difficulties keeping the car centered in the lane, judging how strongly to brake, et cetera. But I learned. He will, too.

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(NT) no...Eds' Driver is required there :)
by jonah jones / February 27, 2010 8:10 PM PST
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Rules here are a bit looser...
by EdHannigan / February 27, 2010 10:26 PM PST
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Even a long wait to get a license doesn't make one
by Steven Haninger / February 27, 2010 7:51 PM PST

that proficient when facing the road solo. I can look back and think there is continuous learning process where subtle nuances are picked up that improve ones chances of making it from A to B safely. I had to teach my kids...or try to...how to use mirrors and just not to use them. Things such as noting the something identifying about the car in the left lane behind you so you can determine their relative speed as opposed to your own and not change lanes without an extra look if that car is no longer visible as it might be in your blind spot. I had to teach how to use not only traffic lights but Walk/Don't Walk signals to try and predict when a light change is more likely. There are hundreds of small tips like this that have nothing to do with car handling skills. I firmly believe that one reason adults have fewer accidents than teens isn't just their behavior. It's that adults have faced and lived through potential accident situations and developed certain instincts that improve their ability to identify these and prepare for evasive maneuvers.

One funny story I remind my son of occasionally is his reaction to passing his driver's road exam which he did on his first attempt. When I got mine, it was rare for boys to not have to go back a second or third time. Anyway, he passed his test but was unhappy with his score as 10 more points off would have flunked him. He asked if he could retake the test and try for a higher grade. Argghh! was my reaction. Wink

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I agree about adult drivers
by Bill Osler / February 27, 2010 9:16 PM PST

It's pretty clear that middle age adults are far safer than teenagers, and I think that it is more than just the desire that a lot of teenagers have to drive too fast.

My reflexes are slower than my son's, and my vision is a bit worse than his, but I have the experience to anticipate situations rather than reacting to them. That's something I learned on my own. I don't think you can teach all of that and it certainly takes time to acquire.

Teenagers sometimes seem to think that rapid reaction time will protect them from surprises, just as it helps in the twitch games they play on video game consoles, but the best drivers don't do much twitching.

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I think many teens are overconfident..
by EdHannigan / February 27, 2010 9:50 PM PST

and have more faith in their abilities than is justified. Seasoned drivers have probably had enough mishaps to know better.

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It's an oft repeated
by Roger NC / February 27, 2010 11:07 PM PST

saying that teens never really believe something can happen to them.

That may be a bit inane, but there is a certain feeling of invincibility for youth. Even from the distance I am now, I can remember things my crowd done that I'm sure none of would have done after about 25.

And teens, even 20's, do often patronize older folks over reaction time and believe they can do it better.


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Since you live in a rural area
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 28, 2010 5:21 AM PST

I would get him to drive all the time when you all go out together.

He may need professional lessons to polish up before the practical test, but the more actual driving he does on the road, the better he will be, hopefully.

That's what my father did to me all those decades back. I drove everywhere whenever we went out, and I'm sure it helped me.


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We're working toward that ...
by Bill Osler / February 28, 2010 6:54 AM PST

Certain things have to come first. Being able to keep the car centered in the lane at moderate speed is somewhat important before trying anything very fancy. Part of the problem is that he really does not have a burning desire to drive.

We did spend a couple of hours on the road today. He's not ready for day-to-day driving to school in traffic but he is improving.

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When it's time for solo driving
by James Denison / February 28, 2010 10:46 AM PST

Get him a good size clunker. Something you feel safer about him being in during a wreck. One daughter got a Dakota which she still drives, the other drove a '98 Lumina. The truck was in the shop twice for body repair and I made the other with her boyfriend helping replace the hood, grill, front light, bend the fender back, after failing to believe me when I told her she was tailgating. She got to drive that two tone paint job (car green, hood white) around until I felt she could drive something better looking. Don't waste a lot of money on him for a first car, just get something that he can drive for a couple years to prove he's able without wrecking it. Medium size car at least that's over 50K miles, or even over 75K to save more money up front. It also will save on the car insurance cost.

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We already have a pretty good car for that ...
by Bill Osler / February 28, 2010 10:55 AM PST

My wife is driving an old Camry with about 100,000 miles on it. That will probably be his first car. We've already started discussing what she will get to drive when the time comes.

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