Today is the day! My daughter passed her drivers test and now she has the privilege of driving among the rest of us. And, by “us”, I mean the really bad drivers. I’m not saying that she’s a good driver, she’s not. Looking back at my family history, I truly believe that being a bad driver is genetic. So, not only am I concerned for her life, I am also concerned for those lives around her.
She received her learner license about a year ago. Her sixteenth birthday was last October, and she could have gotten her driver license at that time, but I just wasn’t ready for that responsibility (and worry). So I was conveniently too busy to take her to the DPS (Department of Public Safety) to take her final driving test. She just wasn’t ready to be set loose on her own.
One thing that did impress me at the DPS office where she did her final evaluation and test, the clerk grabbed her by the wrist, looked her right in the eye and said “Now, you’re not going to text, talk on the phone, drive after midnight or have more than one non-relative under the age of 21 in the car with you, are you?” Of course, she replied “No.” And I truly hope she keeps her word. I have had to get on my daughter for texting under the table while we’re having a serious talk. She was looking me right in the eye as if she were really listening to me, and the whole time she was texting someone under the table. She calls it multi-tasking. I call it grounded…I think it’s just rude.
Although, I don’t feel in my heart that she has “mastered” the driving practices that were taught to her through the parent-taught drivers education course, nor through the online course that she completed, I have to release her into the mix with what little experience she has. She completed 32 hours of classroom education and 34 driving hours. It seems like a lot, I suppose. Especially to the student. But, to me, the single parent of an only child, no instruction is enough. And, as far as evasive driving goes, nothing prepares one for hydroplaning, avoiding an accident or steering/recovering from a skid. They can teach you all of that they want, but until you actually find yourself in one of these situations and experience it for yourself, little is learned through a diagram, a film or classroom demonstration. Fortunately, I have found a little extra help there can be obtained through the Drivers Edge. They do a national tour, annually. It’s free and teaches kids evasive driving, hands-on. They pick up where regular drivers education leaves off. You can find more information about this program at driversedge.org. Another place to find extra information is at DMV.org
There, you will find a free road sign practice test and other practice tests that can be very helpful.
Every little bit of knowledge surely helps. But there is no substitution for experience. And that, unfortunately, comes with time and a few dents. I don’t know how many years my health plan will cover my prescription for a nice, calming sedative…I’m hoping at least until she’s 21.
Until next week…if you’d like to pray for me, here’s how you spell my name…