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Adventures in the Art of Driving

Yes, I’m saying driving has become an art.  Today you must learn to not only be alert and on guard, but also imaginative each and every time you get behind the wheel of a car.  It’s scary out there these days and you either prepare for the unexpected or have a nervous breakdown before you make it to your destination.  Just the simple short trip to pick out our Christmas tree this year was a nail biter.

How many of you remember taking driver’s education?  Holding that permit with your picture on it that gave you the right to slip behind the wheel of a car and drive was so invigorating not to mention life changing.  At least for the first couple of hours.  Then you realized there still had to be an adult with you so all those glorious plans and the feeling of complete and utter freedom disapated pretty quickly.

I was raised in a small town of about 60,000 people.  The population is still about the same size today although now there are a lot more restaurants and department stores to choose from.  But the one thing that has stayed the same for the most part is the traffic.

When I took driver’s ed so many moons ago I’ve lost track, it was fun.  An adventure.  You know, like one of those spinning rides at the carnival where you got a thrill but the danger was almost non-existent.  Or maybe it was just the attitude of a teenager that got me through it.  Like I said, having trouble remembering. LOL  We could take the class during the summer for a couple of weeks or wait until the school year started and take it as one of our electives.  Either way it was easy to fit into any schedule. 

Not any more.  You have two choices.  Sign up to take the course through a driving school and give up all after school activities or go at your on pace by taking an online course for the classroom time.  That means a certified adult like Mom, Dad, or if you’re lucky Uncle Corn Dog (Funny story for another time LOL ),  must teach you the all important behind the wheel stuff.  Gulp.

My oldest turns sixteen in February.  We thought it would be easier, not to mention safer, if we had her do the online course.  This way she could still participate in the colorguard after school, which she loves.   And who better to teach her the right way to drive than her parents, right? 

I’m dying here.  It sounded good and easy five months ago.  One major problem though.  My car doesn’t have one of those extra breaks on the passenger side for emergencies.  And I feel like I should have had to take a course myself in order to be prepared for all the extra anxiety.  This is no fun carnival ride.  And I can’t get off for at least several more months.  It’s a nightmare! 

How am I supposed to turn her loose when she’s finished and let her fend for herself in this crazy city?  In my hometown the worst thing you had to worry about was getting behind a tractor or Mr. Farmer on his way to the feed lot.  Going twenty and being a teenager is complete torture.  Or maybe the occasional siren would have you pull over to the side of the road so they could pass by, but that was exciting.

Here in our little suburb of Houston it’s quite a bit different.  It’s like the Indy 500 every day of the week.  More people than not are late for something and they aren’t at all shy or considerate in their quest to make up some of that precious lost time.  This leaves you no other alternative but to “get out of the way” or else. 

 Since when did 45 turn into 65?  And why do they put blinkers in cars if you’re not going to use them, and please for the sake of all that’s good in this world, put down the darn phone and pay attention!  I’m not so sure you can teach a teenager how to deal with this.  Wait.  Let me rephrase that.  I’m not sure “I’m” the right person to teach her.  Someone needs to fill me in on the correct procedures first.

 Maybe I’m overreacting because it’s my child behind that wheel.  What do you remember about learning to drive?  Where you scared, excited, or confused?  LOL  Any advice for this frazzled mom of a soon to be legal teenager driver?  Please, I need all the help I can get! 😕

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13 Responses

  1. Overreacting about non-blinker use, speeding, road-rage, etc? Nope. It’s all there. And scary. When my nieces and nephews turned 16, they didn’t have that much interest in driving. That floored me. I got my restricted license at 14 and was ready to roll solo at 16!

    And really Melissa…I must take exception to “a small town of 60,000! Are kidding. That’s a huge!! I grew up in a town about about 25k (now about 37k), and I thought it was a “medium-sized” city. Small town is like 10-15k. 🙂

    How did I learn to drive? By driving around and around the neighborhood. We lived on top of a hill that was once dairy pasture, so there were few if any trees. We could drive in a huge loop through the area and my parents could see us from the house. I believe I’ll not tell all the stories about the times I sneaked the car out (which also helped me to learn to drive!)

    Teaching a teen to drive is scary!! We taught my husband’s niece. We ended up in a ditch within the first 15 minutes. Ha!

    Good luck with those driving lessons. remember don’t drink and drive…oops, I mean don’t drink and give driving lessons even if it might be the best way to get through it. 🙂

    Awww parenthood.

  2. Yikes! Sorry, Cyndi! 🙂 I’ve been in Houston way too long! Everything under 100,000 feels small to me now. We actually lived in Yoakum, Texas for a few years when I was in elementary school. Population 7,900. Now that’s itty bitty. LOL

    My daughter is not in a big hurry either. She started all this back in May and once she got that permit and got out on the roads a few times, everything came to a dead stop. LOL It’s very intimidating. And I’m sure mom hanging on to the door doesn’t help matters. Poor thing. I’ve got two more after her! Ack!! Now where the heck are those margaritas? 🙂

  3. When I turned 16 my mom just let me go. I could go anywhere, and drive around as many people as I wanted. Now luckily I was a good girl, to a fault at times, so I didn’t get into much trouble, but I was a horrible driver. I had about eight accidents my first year of driving. I learned from that.

    My stepson lives with us so I taught him to drive and we set up the rules for driving. For his first year, he wasn’t allow to drive outside of our city limits. It’s quite small, so he was limited. The only time he could leave our town was to go to his mom’s which was thirty minutes away. Also, he was only allowed one person in the car at a time. If he proved a responsible driver we would extend all that at 17. We were big on these rules. We told him that if we caught him breaking the rules that the keys were gone. The first time. No second chances with driving.

    What I also learned from all my accidents, since all of them weren’t exactly my fault, was to be a defensive driver. It pays to pay attention to everyone else and not just what you are doing. I preached that to my stepson every time we got behind the wheel, “Watch them too. You’ll get out of more wrecks than you can count by doing so.”

    Also, I wouldn’t hesitate to throw her into traffic. Not crazy traffic, but ease into it. It does not pay to keep them out on country roads all the time. When my stepson was 15 and only had his permit he was driving highways, traffic lights, and after about eight months, the interstate. They have to learn. My stepdaughter has already had a few accidents, and I believe it’s because her mom doesn’t take her past the country roads. She’s also quite nervous behind the wheel. I think her mom is just overly worried about her. Rightfully so, but they have to learn how to drive traffic.

    GOOD LUCK! I know it’s stressful.

    And I’m with Cynthia, 60,000 is HUGE! LOL. We have about 15,000. 15,000 who don’t know how to use a freakin’ four-way stop.

  4. I was driving before I ever took the test. My mom would let me drive to the little (I do mean little) store that was one block away. Then I had a friend who got sick and said, ” You have to drive.” She had a stick…should I say more? Major bumping ride. 🙂

    I worked for a high school for years and it alwayed amazed me that parents would buy their kids brand new cars and just hand them the keys without and real driving experience. Lot’s of fences where hit in the parking lot, along with a few bumpers. And to think they were also on the roads.

    It’s scary for sure.

  5. I wasn’t in a big hurry to drive when I turned 16 but then my mom told me I had to have my license before Christmas. It didn’t click at the time but my Christmas present that year was a 64 1/2 mustang that my grandparents had totally restored. It was a standard and I didn’t know how to drive a standard so I was scared of it for 4 months before I finally learned to drive it.

    My daughter is another one that wasn’t in a hurry to drive. She was in an accident with some kids from school and it scared her so she didn’t care anything about it (and why should she, she had mom to cart her around & still does). She is now 22, almost 23 and has a little girl of her own. I am putting my foot down and making her get her license after the 1st of the year. I am tired of being a taxi by now.

  6. Omgosh, Posey! 8? Just driving home from the high school after picking them up, I’m amazed that there aren’t more accidents. Those teenagers are C-R-A-Z-Y! “Let her go” Three of the hardest words in my vocabulary. LOL I’m already making a list of rules for her to follow on top of the ones Texas has already put into place for new drivers. But she’s my responsible one. It’s the other two I’m going to have to worry about. The boy especially! Ack!

  7. My first car was a stick shift, Vicki. Lots and lots of bumpy rides, but I loved that car! LOL I too am shocked when I see all those new cars in the high school parking lot. What are these parents thinking? If it moves, has a roll bar and air bags it’s going to be good enough for my kids. Ha! They need something to learn in during those first few years. Bumpers aren’t made like they used to be. I had a fender bender last summer and it cost over 2K to fix. Thank goodness it wasn’t my fault, but I felt so bad for the teenager who’d backed into me. Darn that learning curve. 😦

  8. heh. I grew up on a farm. I learned the brake/gas, staying on the road ect on a private road. 🙂

    yeah, my parents had that pretty easy.

  9. Heather, that is one thing I won’t miss. LOL Sending her to the store to get milk or bread or whatever is really going to be nice. 🙂

    And the mustang sounds like a dream car! Mine was a four door lime green Chevy Chevete with luggage rack on top. But it moved! LOL

  10. What I wouldn’t give to have it that easy, Keri!! She’s having the hardest time staying in between the lines. LOL More practice. Lots more practice!

  11. I didn’t get a permit. I got a license. A well earned license, considering it took me THREE times to pass it. Parallel parking was a bi-atch for me. I’ll never forget the look of shock the police officer had on his face when I tackled him with a hug for passing me. LOL!

    I consider myself an offensive defensive driver. I won’t go into an explanation. 🙂

    Driving has become a terrifying necessity. It’s crazy the amount of people I see that are texting while driving.

    I feel for you, Missy. I will be in your shoes soon enough. No matter how well a driver your daughter is, you really have to worry about the OTHER drivers. Scary….

  12. No explanation needed, Jenn! I’ve seen you drive, girl! 😉 And why is it I can so see you tackling a police officer?? LOL The way time is flying, you’ll blink and precious daughter No. 1 will be asking for those keys! Ack! It’s all those Others out there that I’m worried about. And the fact I can’t do anything about it. Control issues here! 🙂

  13. Yes, 8! But I’m a much better driver these days, promise!

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