I always said it would be my husband’s responsibility to teach our children how to drive. However, it initially did not turn out this way. I have just finished my second on- road driving lesson with our daughter.For our first lesson, I climbed into the car and began a quiet conversation with myself. I was not going to yell and I was not going to let her see me be nervous.I think I succeeded. But, half way through our second lesson, I looked down and realized that I had formed a death grip on my door handle and my entire body was as rigid as a 2 by 4. Sitting in the passenger seat was quite a different perspective as you teach your child to drive. On one hand you glance over to your left, you still see your little baby and on the right side of your view,you envision your car hitting every mailbox on the side of the road as she overcompensated for the oncoming car. At the close of the second lesson, we turned into the safety of our driveway. She lightly hopped out of the car, not a care in the world. She was so happy and gained more confidence with every trip behind the wheel. Me? I cannot move, frozen– I wanted to curl up in a fetal position and take a nice long nap. My legs felt like jelly and I needed get my heart-rate back to normal or at least back into my chest! We survived two lessons; the third lesson was missed because she fell asleep on the couch after school. I was unabashedly relieved at this sight. I breathed easier. And yes, my husband will be taking her out next. It is a frightening experience, getting into the car with your child. Handing over the keys and the control are not easy tasks.
Having been a driver for more than 25 years now (really, gulp?) I tend to forget the “legal” and “proper” ways to actually drive the car. How many seconds are you supposed to follow? You mean I can’t kiss their bumper if they are irritating me? Come to a complete stop at a stop sign? Not roll, look both ways and then proceed?
Along with trying NOT to be so nervous and uptight, we now have to re-learn all the real rules of the road that we have long forgotten.
I am passing along a few of my latest study guides from the OWL:
Rules of the Road DVD: this was an extremely helpful refresher for me and a great beginner’s guide for your teen driver. From passing the written test to basic car maintenance this DVD set has you covered. Included in the DVD set are interactive quizzes and practice exams.
From Bumper to Bumper by Bob Sikorsky: “a special collection of Sikorsky’s most talked about columns, covering everything from car repair rip-off schemes and environmental awareness to auto industry trends and techniques for better gas mileage”(221). This book is filled with handy tips such as : Everything you need to know about gasoline, earth- friendly driving and breaking your new car in right.
Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt : Traffic gets under the hood of everyday activity of driving to uncover the surprisingly complex web of how traffic works, why we drive the way we do and what our driving says about us. Traffic is a fun book with great chapters such as Shut Up, I Can’t Hear You: Anonymity, Aggression, and the Problems of Communicating While Driving. My favorite is How’s My Driving? How the Hell Should I Know?
The Book of Expert Driving by E.D. Fales, Jr: The finer points of car handling for both the experienced and student driver. Expert Driving was written almost entirely on the road not by someone sitting at a desk. This book goes beyond the driver education and onto the real enjoyment of driving.
Crash-Proof Your Kids : make your teen a safer, smarter driver by Timothy C. Smith: A comprehensive book which compliments the drivers’ education program and includes:
How to handle road emergencies
Tips on how to handle distractions
A step by step plan teaching you teen braking, car control
and defensive driving skills
In the Driver’s Seat : a girl’s guide to her first car by Erika Stadler : A new car for my daughter is a long way off in my house but this is a good book for her to read. Stadler guides the reader through everything from the owner’s manual to “styling” your ride. Every girl should know how to “pop” the hood! I actually read this book to brush up on my own car knowledge. Provides useful information for driving and owning an automobile, including how to buy and insure a car, solutions to minor problems, learning what’s under the hood, how to choose a mechanic, and surviving emergency situations.
Another fun book is Car Smarts: Hot Tips for the Car Crazy written by Lemon-Aid car guide,Phil Edmonston , award-winning librarian Maureen Sawa and illustrated by award winner Gorden Suave. From labeled diagrams of mechanical systems to famous designs and tips on buying and maintaining your first car, this book has it all.