July 23, 2009

Driving with a Teen

Saturday, July 18, marked the official end of class instructed Driver's Education for our teen. She scored an 86 in class. (Is that good enough? I am beginning to think: NO!) Now we have to complete the required 50 hours of her driving with us before she can get her license.

So far we have ticked off about 10 hours. In those 10 hours I think my heart has stopped at least twice. The first incident occurred turning off a major thorough fare onto a rural road. I told her way before the turn what she had to do: Slow down enough to execute the turn but do not stop unless there is oncoming traffic.

There was no oncoming traffic but there were vehicles coming up behind us. She took the left turn at about 40 mph. The truck almost flipped. My heart stopped beating for an instant.

I explained to her what she did wrong. Do you know how annoying it is to hear "I know, MOM, you don't have to tell me!" I try to give her constructive criticism and I get that. All along, I am sitting in the passenger seat wondering if I wet my pants and checking to see if my heart started beating again. Well, at least she knows what she is doing, yeah right.

In the same driving session, we arrived at our destination. I told her to park. Her first attempt failed. She was over the line and crooked. I let her do it her way that time. I told her to back out and try my way.

I explained, for a straight in spot you should pull out a bit left or right then swing in between the lines using the center of the hood and the lines as your guide. Sure enough she did it my way and parked just fine. Then she proceeded to accelerate rather than brake and drove up over the curb and almost into a light post.

This was the last straw for me. I took over the wheel and vowed my husband would ride shotgun for the remainder of her hours with us.

Stay tuned for my next installment: Driving on the highway

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  1. Oh my, brings back memories--I still have the twitch in my left eyelid from when my dad decided my brother needed to learn to drive the freeway, first time ever, five o'clock in LA...

  2. Hey Conda!

    I cannot imagine LA traffic can be good at five o'clock! I don't think traffic is good anywhere at that time.

    Take care!

  3. I sure feel for you, Muse. I'm just starting to get comfortable with my daughter's driving now that she's had her license for a year or so, and now my son has his permit and we're starting all over again. At least you're facing it armed with a great sense of humor.

  4. My heart goes out to you, Muse. Wish I could send a few extra beats for those you lose!
    Keep your sense of humor, and some duct tape? and you'll make it through.

  5. Oh, wow. I can't imagine how much patience it must have taken for you to drive with her, especially when she was getting grouchy while you were just trying to help her.

  6. Hi! Takes me back to when I was teaching my youngest son to drive. Thrills a minute I can tell you. Just like the time we stopped at a stop sign. When it was time to go forward, we went back at 100mph. Just missing a truck behind us! I guess I will have to say a prayer for the both of you! Good Luck!

  7. Muse:

    You have my sympathy. Driver's ed is just one of those things we all have to go through. I know you're stressed, but please allow me to give you one tip that my uncle Bob used on me and, I in turn, used on my kids.

    Find a huge deserted parking lot, or flat space of land with a hard surface. Put your daughter behind the wheel and you in the passenger's seat. Buckle up. Then let her back up, make sudden turns, park, come to screeching stops, steer with one hand and then the other and allow her to zigzag around the lot. In other words, let her put the vehicle through all of it paces in a safe environment. By doing these things for a few hours she will begin get a feel for the vehicle. The she'll learn why she must slow down before turning, and how to start going without lurching. Do this a few times before you go back out on the open road.

    It's only a suggestion. I learned that way, and I taught my own little NASCAR drivers that way. Eventually, they'll get the hang of it. But after they finally get their license, and they want to drive alone, that first time they take the car out will be a horrifying experience for you. I almost had a coronary. Remember your first time driving alone?

    Happy trails.

  8. Muse:

    I can't believe it. I left a comment a few days ago, but it's not here. Is something wrong on your end, or did I forget to push the "publish" button?

    Happy trails.

  9. Hey Muse!

    Sorry I've been away so long...playing catch up again.

    My wife and I decided that I would not be the copilot when eldest daughter was getting her hours. Mostly because I even get nervous when my dear wife drives, but also because I'd have probably scared eldest into doing even more scary things. I'm a lousy passenger.

    It's amazing I haven't had a siezure sitting in the shotgun seat with my Afghan drivers!

  10. My daughter tells me that my cowering under the seat, muttering "we're all going to die," did nothing to increase her confidence in driving. We made it through the experience, however, and no one died!


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