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Watch Out: Student Driver – Part 2

It’s been a year & half since the boys began learning to drive. We’ve made a slow go of this process due to everyone’s busy schedules. Each of the 3 boys had their turn behind the wheel and my insurance premiums have flown through the roof! I am happy to report there have been no accidents and each of them have improved substantially. Boys will be boys…and they have had  a lot of fun helping and making fun of each other through the process.

While teaching them to drive,   I experienced 3 major issues:

  • 1 lead-foot driver
  • 1 terrible at judging distance
  • 1 Granny driver

They each had several learning opportunities to overcome, but had one trait more prevalent as described above. My lead-foot driver had to learn to slow down. He also had to learn that when backing out of the driveway, accelerating so quickly lead to ditch & mailbox type problems. Thank God, during his learning he was safe personally and the car did not receive any new dents or bangs. The neighbors mailbox post was (and still is) as removable as a Lego piece, so it survived also.

Ah, let me tell  you about the neighbors… As soon as I decided it was time for the boys to begin learning to drive, I walked across the street and spoke to our long time neighbors. They offered me prayer and said they would understand any accidental mailbox bumps. They were sweet and very understanding. Each time the kids bumped the their mailbox, I made them walk across the street and apologize. To the kids, this was more embarrassing than a nuisance. None of them wanted to eat cake and publicly admit that they had made a boo-boo. So, this rule of our house stood as a deterrent and each tried their hardest to judge distance appropriately to avoid it. This rule also applied to their friends who were driving. If their friends knocked that mailbox over, it was their responsibility to fix the mailbox and apologize – if their friends drove off without taking ownership. Needless to say, that mailbox took the plunge so many times I lost count and most of the incidents were not caused by our boys, but by their friends!! After seeing several of their friends taking out the mailbox, I didn’t feel so bad about our boy’s driving skills at all 🙂 I did wonder about the ethics of their friends though…because ALL of them sped away (sometimes squealing tires) when they realized they had knocked it down. Teenagers!

Back to the 3 extremes, the lead-foot driver did everything too fast! He had to learn to go the speed limit and had a hard time grasping the concept of slowing down further if weather conditions were not the best. Riding with this driver felt like being on a rollercoaster ride around curves, up & down  hills, and coming to an abrupt stop at intersections. My nerves took a toll as well as my tummy with this one behind the wheel. I am happy to report that he did, in fact, pass his driving test and did learn to sloooow down. Yay 🙂 We were all proud of him… but I still don’t offer him the keys much now. He doesn’t have a job, nor any desire to work. So, I have no desire to allow him to drive independently until he shows financial responsibility & can remember where his wallet is.

The boy challenged with judging distance scared me probably a bit more than the other 2. We only allowed him to practice driving on clear days at low traffic times on back roads. The door handle on the passenger side now has a permanent indention of my grip. That boy scared me pretty bad while he rode the very edge of the pavement. Occasionally I would pee myself and so began to wear the old lady incontinence pads while teaching  him. My nerves were unravelling and my stomach was twisted into knots. Occasionally there was a need for me to screech and my son would scold me, “Mom! Stop that. I’m doing fine!” He never seemed nervous behind the wheel & this was hopeful. Still, his wide turns and distance judging was frightening. Some days I would come home with a strained voice after squealing an entire ride with him. Over the last 6 months, his driving ability has improved dramatically though and he is due to take his driving test in a couple of weeks to become an official licensing driver. I am proud of his progress AND he has a job! He has shown financial responsibility through the use of his bank card and managing his money.

The last major driving issue was the Granny driver. This boy literally drove as I’ve labeled  – like a Granny. He couldn’t accelerate above 30 MPH, slowed down even more on curves, and would get caught in the same traffic light at least twice. He experienced some distance judging issues during his slow motion turns and he rode the brake often when driving straight. His start was abrupt  as the car would lurch forward and then he would slow down to turtle speed again. Other cars on the road would fly past us at a whopping 45 MPH. People would honk and make gestures as they sped past us. Bless his heart, he would ask, “Are we going to fast mom?” Then he would break into a sweat as he was cruising down the highway at 30 MPH (in a 55 MPH zone). Each time a car would pass us, he would slow down to 15 or 20 MPH, so you can see we never really even made it to the speed limit at all. He would be so nervous that his poor little hands would shake while holding the wheel. While on back roads, when a car was coming toward him to pass on the other side, he would scoot the car over as far as he could without going into the ditch. Oh Goodness, I felt so bad for him. I’m thrilled to report after much practice, he can now drive without the nervous shakes, feels comfortable at the speed limit, and is better judging distance. In my mind, he has been upgraded to Teenage driver now and has left Granny in the ditch. I was (and still am) proud of his progress. This one is not driving independently yet due to not showing financial responsibility also. I anxiously await his future employment!!

To sum up this entire process, through much prayer and nervous diarrhea, I have survived this process and everyone is still alive. Oh – and I’ve only changed the brakes once!


Freaked out at Brother's driving...1

Freaked out at Brother’s driving…1

Freaked out at Brother's driving...2

Freaked out at Brother’s driving…2

Freaked out at Brother's driving...3

Freaked out at Brother’s driving…3

Watch out: Student Driver on Board

Over the last few weeks, two of our boys had been studying the state driving manual so they could take the driving knowledge test and get their driver’s learning permit. Early last week, they succeeded! Nicky passed his test on the first try 🙂 I was proud of him.  Josh was successful too!  The youngest, Cole, will take his knowledge test in about 3 months too.

So, these boys say, “Take me driving.” “Let me drive.” “Is it my turn?” on a daily basis now.  I, of course, am the chosen teacher 🙂 After all, I have taught many other teenagers to drive, why not our boys? Nick’s time is consumed with work and much travel. If the boys waited on him, they’d be 19 years old before they are ready to drive.

Danger Student Driver - Bumper Sticker

First off, let me tell ya, there is a HUGE difference between boy and girl new drivers!  In the past, I had only taught girls. There were a great many of them, but still – they were all girls.  Now, I’m faced with boys. Girls tend to be more nervous and think everything you are saying to them is being critical of their personal skills and emotions.  Boys, on the other hand, laugh and say, “yeah, I meant to do that.”

If I survive this endeavor, it’ll go down in the adventure book as HUGE! Seriously, I just bought 2 car magnets (image above) to put on the car on these trips from now on. If you want one, they aren’t very costly. Click here

Here is a small commentary as we are having our first lesson in a large parking lot with no other cars present:

“Okay XXX, switch sides with me so  you’re ready to drive,” I said as I get out of the car and get into the passenger side. “But…Mom?  How do I get in?,” I hear coming from the driver’s side.

“Honey, you have to move the seat as far back as it will go, then down. Last you’ll want to shift the steering wheel up so you’ll fit in,” I answer.  “Oh”, he replies. I remind him, “you are much much taller than I am so you’ll probably always have to move the seat.”

We practiced driving in a straight line, accelerating, braking, turning the wheel, and attempted to park. The wheel turning was scary! Then I remembered that everyone has to learn how to let the car correct itself. So, I tried to have more patience with that.  But, when the combination of wheel turning, heavy foot on accelerator and dizzying circles turned into dizzying parking lot doughnut laying rubber I exclaimed, “Brake. BRAKE. BRAKE! You’re turn is over. Good job today though.”

Nerves frazzled, the next child got behind the wheel. This one has a bit of practice under his belt already so we worked on reverse driving (backing up). Somehow, we managed after a bit, to be going backwards in circles, doing parking lot doughnuts laying rubber! I exclaimed, “Brake. BRAKE. BRAKE! You’re turn is over. Good job today though.”

Combined, they only curbed the car 6 times and I resisted the urge to medicate myself pretty well! At the end of the day my husband asks, “how was driving with the boys today?” I tell him his turn is coming!

Commentary on the next day, second lesson in a large parking lot with no cars present:

We are in position. I’m in the front passenger seat and child XXX is behind the wheel. The engine racing, screams for me to end the lesson before it has begun! “Uhm…dear…You’re in Park. Perhaps the car will respond better in Drive?”, I offer advice. He answers, “No worries Mom, I got this.”  We zoom through the parking lot and come to an abrupt stop about 3 inches shy of a curb. Through hard laughter I hear, “I so meant to do that.” I am NOT amused. “One more stunt like that and your turn is over for the day.” I reply through smiling clinched teeth. “Okay okay, I got this.” He drives in circles around the parking lot making left and right turns, accelerating and braking. Not so bad this time. My nerves are a bit more easily frazzled on this trip though. We worked on judging distance too. My poor tires…were curbed 8 times on this day 😦

“Okay curb kid, your turn is over,” I announce, “Come on kiddo #2. Your turn!” XXX begins to work on the same things as the first kiddo did. Hard brake after hard brake gravitationally forced my spleen into my backbone so many times, his turn didn’t get to be as long. Kiddo 3 speaks up, “Can I drive?”

…I know I joke about it, but I may need actually need something to calm my nerves after all this! Now I understand why the state says the kids need to hold their permits for 6 months before they can apply for a graduated driver’s license!!

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Manić Teodora

Jer ono u šta ljudi poveruju, to će vremenom i postati.❤ Because in what people belive, that's who they will become as the time passes by. ❤


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