Nothing brings to light your driving skills, or lack thereof, as a 15 ½ year old with a driver’s permit.
Every forgotten turn signal, rolled stop or five miles over the posted speed limit are brought to your attention by the teen in the passenger seat who has now become an expert on the rules of the road.
The driver’s education instructor warned us this would happen. She noted during the parent meeting that our good driving habits, as well as our bad, would be magnified, not only in our car, but in hers.
I really thought when my kids started driving I’d be the teacher. And although this is true, I’m also finding I’m the student and I’m learning many things that will hopefully help me to be a safer and better driver too.
It’s actually been great. Age-wise, I’m stuck between being a new driver and being eligible for the AARP Defensive Driving courses, also known as 55 Alive, so being the parent of a learning driver is filling the gap.
I’m trying to break 30 years of behind-the-wheel habits I never gave a second thought.
One of the hardest is not holding the steering wheel at 10 and 2. Remember how we old timers learned the steering wheel is like a clock and the left hand rests at 10 and the right hand at 2. That’s so passé.
But it’s outdated because cars today have air bags, a safety device that deploys at hundreds of miles per hour and will literally slam your hands into your face during impact.
I’m learning, and this one has been hard, to fan my side mirrors to open up a wider viewing area behind and beside my vehicle. I’m old school and apparently the area just past my fenders doesn’t allow me to see freeway traffic in the two lanes on either side.
I’ve probably parallel parked a vehicle less than a dozen times in my life and once was for the driver’s test. Honestly, the last time I wedged my way into a parking spot was when I owned a Jeep Wrangler or a two-seat convertible. I’m anxiously waiting for that part of the lessons so we can practice and I can pick up some pointers.
So far it’s been a good experience and I think we are both getting a great education. It’s been fun, really. In a way, I wish everyone could retake driver’s education. It’s a scary place out there on our roads and as a mother who’s about to send her teens out there it would be comforting to know everyone was on their best behavior and paying attention to the rules and safety.