Monday, April 16, 2012

Soon They'll ALL Be Driving!!!! EEEEKKKK!!!!

I think we can all identify with this cartoon. It's just so tempting to drive and check that text that just chimed in. Or respond to a text because you think you can pay attention to the road at the same time. Or check your email. Or the you tube video...and then CRASH!!!!!

I saw that video online and it was horrifying.

It's more horrifying because I have a 20 year old driver and, at the end of this month, my middle son will be able to get his learner's permit. And he wants to. In fact, he's already asking which car he will be able to drive and telling me he wants his dad to teach him. I suppose that's because I'm not the world's best driver. Okay, I have trouble concentrating while driving. I work on this really hard. And I put the phone in my purse so that I'm not tempted. Because no text is worth having an accident and possibly hurting or killing yourself or someone else.

The problem is that technology has crashed into our teenagers' driving abilities. If you've ever had to go to a high school to pick up a kid, all you see is kids walking along with their heads down and thumbs going while they text. I think we're raising a whole generation of people who won't know how to have a face to face relationship because whatever is coming in on their cell phone is always more compelling than whatever the person you are with is saying.

Does this mean that survival of the fittest means that only people who are disconnected will be able to reproduce? Cybersex has its place in the lives of teenage boys, for sure, but it's not going to fertilize those eggs.

I was shocked to realize that Jamie will be eligible for his learner's permit this month. I don't know where the time went. All of a sudden, my little boy is not a little boy anymore. He's taller than me. He's got a great personality. He's got a whacky sense of humor. And he's responsible - way more responsible than his grades indicate. He just doesn't particularly care for school and that's not unusual. He does what he has to in order to get by, but his interest is in other things - the sheriff's department cadet program, for instance.

The cadet program makes me feel better about Jamie driving. Because he hangs out with cops, he's constantly telling me if I have made a mistake driving. "Mom, you need to slow down. It's a 25 mile zone." "Mom, you shouldn't have your cell phone out while you're driving." "Mom, you almost drove off the road."

(In my defense, I don't text while moving and I have trouble seeing when the road isn't lighted at night. Which is why I almost never drive at night. And I am careful about speeding since I got two speeding tickets in the same month on the same road five years ago.)

It's been five years since I taught Ben how to drive and I am happy to say that (as far as I know) he has only had one minor accident which occurred in the school parking lot. Only a brand new Volkswagon Beetle was harmed and he paid for the repair so that we didn't have to submit it to our insurance. He told me he talked his way out of a speeding ticket once (probably more than once, but he's only owning up to one). When I asked him how on earth he did it, he said he was just extremely respectful and the officer let him off with a warning. I noticed that he has slowed down a lot from when he was first learning. I don't think he wants a speeding ticket because he knows that we would make him pay for it and he doesn't have the money, being a broke college student who only works 8 hours a week and has to pay for his own gas and cell phone.

I am happy to turn over the driving lessons to Justin this time. When Ben was learning, he had no interest in learning to drive Justin's car because he was scared to death he would damage it in some way. So he never learned to drive a stick shift. Jamie tells me he can't wait to learn how to drive a standard transmission. When I told Justin, he said, "He won't be driving MY car." I agree, because the insurance on a teenager driving a sports car would be through the roof and I don't think Jamie can afford it on his allowance.

"He's not driving MY car!"
Justin actually tried to teach Ben how to drive this car and Ben didn't quite make it out of the driveway. I think Jamie actually believes that he will be allowed to use this car when he gets his license. We need to disillusion him. Justin plans to leave this car to one of his kids in his will, but that won't be for a long time and he figures out who will really want it. I have a feeling it will be Jamie, but then again, we have three sons and who knows?

This whole teenage driving thing is a mixed blessing. It scares me that my kids are going to be out there on the road with all of the crazy, distracted drivers or that they might be the crazy, distracted driver, but I trust my kids way more than I trust the other people on the road. And the blessing part is that you can give them money and send them to the store when it's raining and you're still in your pajamas. Having kids run your errands for you is awesome.

This is just one more reason why I think a move to a non-populated area is a good idea. The roads of Winchester are too congested for my liking. Of course, we moved from a much more congested area almost six years ago and when we go back to that area, I am shocked at just how congested it really is. It scares me to drive there, so I am reminded that it could be worse. But it could be better too - there could be roads with no drivers.

It's too bad we don't want to pull the kids from the current school system, because there are starting to be a lot more check marks in the "reasons to move" column than in the "reasons not to move" column.

My 15 year old is going to be getting his learner's permit in two weeks. Hold me, I'm scared.


  1. I learned to drive in the San Francisco Bay Area if that tells you anything. Suffice it to say, it's actually better to learn to drive in a congested area, because you're a more careful, attentive driver. You have to be. I hope that helps a bit!

  2. Chelle: You are the recipient of an I Choose to Live Award. To get a copy of the award for your blog and to read the write-up go to: and scroll down to the new award recipients for 2012. :)


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