Jill and I are teaching our third and maybe last person to drive. We’ve taught each of our children to drive with AAA’s Parent Taught driver education system. They study the book, we sit in the passenger seat and help them get 55 hours of driving experience before taking their test.
We originally latched on to AAA because this reduced expenses for the driver’s ed and lowered our insurance premiums when we got insurance through AAA. With a teenage boy driving now, our insurance premium is sure to go up.
If I had a chance to do it over, I’d repeat the same process. There is nothing like being right there for each moment of your children’s learning to drive. This is a huge rite of passage in our culture, getting your license, and these captive moments are often some of the key places our pre-driving teenagers are still listening intently to soak up what they can about how to be safe and make it from one place to another.
Half way through the training, you can actually begin talking about something else besides the driving, with only the intermittent, “Yeah, there was a curb there, and you found it, yes” comments from the parent. Walking along a path, jogging, driving, the act of going somewhere together prompts us to talk, and I don’t know all the reasons why. I do know that I want to be there for these times with my children, when they realize what they’ve been watching us do is not as easy as they thought, takes much practice and eventual muscle memory that must proceed being full-enough aware to achieve frogger (that’s an old parent reference for you) status when turning left into a busy street.
If you are considering teaching your children to drive and weighing this versus sending them off to a driving instructor, consider this: who would you rather teach your children to operate the most deadly invention since the dawn of creation? I know there are some experts who can do better at the techniques or know the road rules better, but there is no one who cares more for your child than you do. Do you have the patience, the fortitude or courage to watch without sucking all the oxygen out of the inside of the car every time your child has a close call, or flat out screaming? You’ll never know until you try it.
You will have to be in the car for some of the practice hours of driver’s education anyway. You might as well be called the teacher as well as the parent.