Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Learning To Drive

She's not really screaming because she's in the car with a student driver, but isn't this picture perfect?
My friend is teaching her son to drive. Oh, the memories! I think I was pretty lucky. My son was a good, if cautious, driver. In fact, his over-cautiousness was his only real fault. For instance, we’d be driving down a road and he’d see a woman start to back out of her driveway, so he’d stop to let the other car out. I told him he was being too polite and it was confusing people. He stopped doing it. 

I actually learned to drive on the highway. Oh, I’d driven around a few subdivisions, too, but my dad and I drove between Columbus and Cincinnati nearly every weekend and he thought it was a good place for me to get comfortable behind the wheel. It makes sense when you think about it: there is no opposing traffic. No one is coming toward you. There’s not much question of right-of-way, where to turn, etc.. I think I scared him once when he told me to get into the right-hand lane and I immediately jerked the wheel as if we were about to smack into a wall. I think it’s the only time I’ve ever heard him scream. J
But learning to drive and then actually having a license to drive are two different things. My son went from being cautious to thinking that he “drives better at high speeds.” The policemen who have issued him speeding tickets disagree.
And I learned to drive, but learned on an automatic. So when my parents gave me a used car with a stick shift, everything I’d learned in my driver’s training was for naught. I invariably got stuck on hills, unable to get my car to move forward in first gear without stalling – repeatedly. One thing I never learned in Driver’s Ed. or when I was learning in the car with my parents is what to do when other drivers are honking, cursing, and making crude gestures at you. I didn’t learn how to put on my hazard lights and wipe my tears as I tried and tried again to make it through stoplights as everyone else screamed at me for being a moron. I wasn't taught who was technically at fault as I tried and tried again to get the car in first but instead rolled backward into the car behind me.
Eventually I learned. We all do. And then we chuckle when our friends say that they’re teaching their teenagers how to drive. I'm sure that soon my friend will have a story to tell, too.


  1. Eep! Your stick shift stories are like my worst nightmare. Andy's mom actually taught me stick shift a couple years ago, and I did O-K... (Definitely not a natural, though, and I've probably lost it by now.) I've always wanted to learn, but yay for automatic! :P

  2. I'm glad I know how to now, but as a 17-year-old driver, it was painful.