Driving Me Up the Wall

Where I live (Johnston County, North Carolina, United States of America), the age you can sign up for driver’s education is 14.5. You can get your permit at age 15 and your provisional license at 16. I believe you become eligible to get your full license a certain number of months after you get your provisional license. (If someone out there knows better, please feel free to correct me!) It seems to me that the sign-up age for driver’s ed should be 16 and the age to get your full license should be 18; to me, 15 is too young to be behind the wheel of a car even with a licensed driver, but that’s a rant for another day.

I really wanted to talk about what should be taught in driver’s ed:

Six and a half years ago, when I was in driver’s ed (I’m getting old!), the class consisted of sitting in a classroom and watching videos about safe driving. After we passed all our tests/quizzes for the classroom portion, we were eligible to begin the driving portion.

I think driver’s ed classes should attempt to focus more on these three items:

1. Defensive driving
2. Driving in adverse weather conditions
3. Vehicle maintenance and general care
4. Cell phone use while driving

The class did talk a little about the first two items, but I think there should have been even more emphasis on them. On the plus side, there was a lot of time spent on talking about the dangers of drunk drivers and warning against driving while under the influence.

There are a lot of small country back roads where I live – and they can be very dangerous to drive on during times of inclement weather. Many teens and young adults have died on these roads – I think revamped driver’s ed courses would be a good tool to eliminate death and injuries.

Ideally, parents should be the first to teach their children about driving and those four things I mentioned above. If you’re a parent, don’t be afraid to let your son/daughter take the wheel. Start with short trips, then build up gradually. The more experience your child gets in all kinds of driving conditions, the better and safer driver he/she will be.

Let me know what you think – and who taught you to drive? Parents, friends, relatives, driver’s ed courses, a private driving school? Thank you for reading and have a great day! 🙂

4 thoughts on “Driving Me Up the Wall

  1. Love the topic! We’ve talked about this where we live quite a bit, as I have a daughter considering moving to Montana, where the driving age is lower.
    As a mother of 5 now driving adults. I taught myself to drive and some of my children. The children that took drivers ed, drive badly compared to those we taught at home. Washington state is 15.5 for drivers ed 16 for a license if you pass, If you don’t take drivers ed you have to wait til your 18 to get a license. Defensive driving, weather conditions and car maintenance are 3 matters that cause accidents and are not covered in drivers training courses as much as they should be practiced. Shutting the radio off or keeping the volume low is another issue not even mentioned. Did you know you can hear a problem with a car many times, before it becomes a disaster on the road?

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    1. Most young drivers have too much going on in the car at the same time (radio, cell phones, riding with friends) to pay attention to sounds that might be problems with the car. Dangerous. And another thing is, a lot of mechanical issues with cars are intermittent, so it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what the problem might be until it’s too late. All the more reason for teens to learn about vehicle maintenance!

      Thanks so much for your comment! 🙂

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  2. We teach ourselves how to drive, just like we teach ourselves to toss a frisbee, play a musical instrument, or tie our shoes. Others can provide basic instruction, but we learn by doing.

    Teaching ourselves to drive safely requires practice, and lots of it. The more parents give their beginning drivers a chance to get behind the wheel without unnecessary distraction, the better.

    Great advice.

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    1. Very true. Not all learn as well by doing; some learn better by watching others, but I do think driving is one of those things that you absolutely must learn by doing, hence the need for good teachers and patient parents!

      Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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