DRIVING YOUR KIDS TO DISTRACTION
My first driving lesson with my father was my last.
Didn’t matter that it was on deserted back roads between sheep paddocks, that I really, badly wanted my license or that my father was a schoolteacher of many years experience.
(He’d even taught nine year-old boys how to make scones.)
Our one driving lesson ended with slammed doors, tears and bitter recrimination. I didn’t get my license until I was 24, years after I’d moved out of home.
We are of similar temperament, father and I (bossy, always right), and should never, ever share the same front seat of any motorised vehicle – be it motorboat, dodgem car or ferris wheel.
Dad loves a good long drive – here’s one of his splendid rigs from years ago.
I’d like to say we’ve mellowed over the past three decades, but we haven’t.
Just two weeks ago I took Dad, now in his 80s, on a drive from his home outside Geelong to visit the family in Ballarat. His incessant “turn here”, “watch that car”, “slow down”, thumping of imaginary brakes and flicking of ghostly indicators sent my heart rate through the roof.
By the time we got to Buninyong I wanted to choke the old bugger with my bare hands.
For his part, if there had been a chance for him to leap for freedom when I was stopped at a traffic light he would have taken it and alerted the authorities.
Recently in NSW, the Roads Minister Duncan Gay reduced the supervised hours needed for learner drivers to get their P-plates and lifted their maximum permitted speed from 80km/h to 90km/h. From July, those who do 10 hours of professional lessons and a safe driver course will be able to cut their time on L-plates from 120 hours to 80 hours.
Eighty hours?! It still seems like a life sentence.
When it comes to my own kids, the driving lessons are, thankfully, a few years off. I can see how my daughter and I could probably manage to rub along, but my son and I? No dice. Not even fluffy ones. I will never, ever willingly take that kid on a driving lesson. Again, we’re too alike in temperament. I love him and I want to be invited to his wedding one day.
A new study says that the younger generation is no longer in a screaming hurry to get their hands on the car keys.
They already feel connected through their mobile phones and social media.
A survey by American car-sharing company Zipcar asked people from different age groups what piece of technology would have the most negative impact on them if it was taken away: TV, mobile phone, computer or car? Those between 18 and 34 said that being without their phone and computer would be worse than not having a car. For those over 45 it was their cars that would be missed most.
Suits me. If my kids want to take the bus and text away, I’ll happily stump up for the phone bills. I’ll even drive them to uni and back.
Anything to avoid that dreaded first sentence: “Now, this thing here operates the indicators… no, sorry, I mean the wipers…”
Did you teach your kids to drive? Did your parents teach you?
How did that go?