PARENTAL DRIVERS ED

Teaching your children to drive can be a rewarding experience bringing you closer to them and possibly closer to God. Once we came so close to God my whole life flashed in front of me as well as a really big, loudly honking tanker truck.

Above all, the instructor parent must remain calm. His commands might have to indicate urgency, but never panic. “All right, Steven, we’re approaching a red light. Slow down now and prepare to stop………STOP!……STOP!!!

“Good, now look up and down before you pull out. No, not up at the sky and down at the pavement. Look left and right. I should have been more specific. Wait till I get another corncob pipe from the glove compartment. I’m always biting off the stems lately.”

Timing is important. The brighter students are soon conditioned to respond to commands as fast as possible. The instructor must make allowances for this, “That was my fault, Janis. When I said ‘turn right here‘ I meant when we reached the intersection. Back out slowly so the hedges don’t scratch the car’s paint and don’t let that man’s childish behavior upset you. I told him I’ll come back later and settle up for the hedges, the zinnias and the bird bath.”

“This is a 40 miles per hour speed zone, Carolyn, but if you feel more comfortable driving at 20, by all means do so and just ignore that line of honking cars behind us, especially that rude fellow waving his fist. Do you think you might give it the gun say, and hit 25 or 30?”

Little used country roads are best for teaching U-turns, backing up and parking procedures. In my day, backing into a parking space was no real problem, but we can no longer reverse until we hear the thud of two sturdy bumpers meeting. Today, that thud can cost you several hundred dollars.

To teach parallel parking, I place an object ( an orange cone) to represent the left back bumper of the car the student intends to park in back of. About 25 feet further down, another object (me) is the left front fender of the car the student plans to be parked in front of.

“Denise, when you see me in your left side rear window as you’re backing in, turn the wheel to the left. But if I happen to be leaping toward the curb then, stop immediately.”

Finally, I suggest you begin your lessons as soon as your student gets the permit. This will allow time for any necessary repeated training. Otherwise you’ll be forced to give a “crash course” and that unfortunate title could be self-defeating and hopefully, not predictable.

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