For the past 30 years, if I’m in a car, I’m driving that car. I’m rarely the passenger. When kid #1 got his learner’s permit about four months ago, I lost every excuse for not driving with him. We’ve had our moments. Now that he’s got at least 100 hours of driving under his seat belt, I’m letting him take the wheel almost daily to school.
And I’ve noticed that things look a lot different from the passenger seat.
When kid #1 is driving, it feels like we’re going very fast. Speed of light fast. I try to lean over and glance at the speedometer without looking like I’m checking his speed. You know, just stretching. Of course while I’m…stretching…I’m also white-knuckling the door handle. I haven’t quite perfected doing this subtly, which means he sees me and gets annoyed.
It usually turns out that he’s driving right within the speed limit. It just feels like Mach 5 in the passenger seat.
It also seems like we’re right on top of the lines in the road. Or about to hit the parked cars. Or the cyclists. Or the joggers. We seem very close to whatever happens to be on the passenger side of the car. It’s just a different perspective from the passenger seat.
When I called the insurance company to add him to my auto policy, the representative remarked that the rates won’t really go up until he’s licensed. I asked why. Her response: “Because he always has to drive with a licensed driver, you (ha ha), and you can take control of the car to avoid an accident.”
Wait, what? Does my insurance company really think I’m going to leap over the center console, grab the steering wheel, and miraculously keep us from hitting another vehicle/cyclist/pedestrian? Is that even legal? I’m a 50 year old mom, not some movie action hero, for cripe’s sake! Grabbing the steering wheel seems like exactly the way to ensure an accident happens, not avoid it. If there were a brake pedal on the passenger side, then we’d be in business. Going very slowly, but in business.
As blood-curdling as teaching my kid to drive is, I’m trying to enjoy the view from the passenger side of his life. All I can do is let him take the wheel and trust him.
- Yikes….Teenager Behind the Wheel (mylifeisapictureshow.wordpress.com)
- My Teen Started Driver’s Ed – Now What? (mommadjane.com)