Teaching Our Son to Drive – Part One

In mid-August, our 15-year-old son got his learner’s permit.  So, between then and next July, it is Mrs. Spidey’s and my responsibility to teach him drive.

I remembered my brave mother, who took me for my license on my birthday and, that very day, allowed me to drive to school.  So, wanting to be similarly brave, we took him out to practice without hesitation within days of getting his permit.  Here’s what we’ve learned so far:

  1. Pressing the imaginary brake in the passenger’s seat doesn’t slow the car down.
  2. It is necessary to repeat instructions not once, not twice, but three times – your voice increasing in volume each time.
  3. The radio is a massive distraction, especially when you can read the songs in the windshield through GMC’s “heads-up display.”

To be fair, our son has done well in the amount of time he’s been behind the wheel.  I think that the difficulties he’s facing are normal for someone driving for the first time.  The hardest thing is understanding how hard or soft he needs to push on the brake or the gas to achieve the desired result.  This means he accelerates too slow and stops too slow.  I reference point #2 above.  If there was a tape of discussion in the car, it would show my tendency to say “Stop.  Stop!!  STOP!!!” with some regularity.

He has tended to put himself and not the car in the middle of the lane, resulting in some near misses with the mailboxes in our neighborhood.  He has tended to accelerate into turns, despite us reminding him to decelerate into turns and accelerate out of them.  He also doesn’t turn the wheel until the last minute on turns.  All of this, of course, is correctable.

For me, the most humorous moment was when I noticed that the radio station was changing very fast.  In our car, the driver can change the station on the steering wheel.  So, I figured that our son accidentally had his hand on the button.  I asked, “Did you know you are changing the radio station?”  He said, “Yes, I’m trying to find something good.”  ARGGGGH.  “Focus on driving!!” I said with some emphasis.  Instead of focusing on the road and other cars, he was reading the songs on a display we have in the windshield which should be used as a speedometer.

Mrs. Spidey had the pleasure of letting our son drive with her parents in the back seat.  Do I need to say more?  “I didn’t sign up for this,” said my father-in-law.  “You wanted a ride,” said my wife.

More to come on a semi-regular basis here.  It’s already an experience and no doubt will continue to be so.

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