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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My oldest got her permit a few months ago. I want her to get as much driving experience as possible. Where are the best places to learn? When I was her age I had no fear. She, clearly is nervous. Any thoughts?
 

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I'd take her to non-busy streets, with no weird intersection rules so she can get comfortable behind the wheel. Then branch out to busier streets as she gains more confidence.<br><br>
I'd also look into driving schools, especially defensive driving schools. Here they do drivers ed through the school system
 

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My grandparents lived in northern Michigan, so I got to traverse the dirt roads and almost unoccupied highways up there. It was perfect. Very little to no other cars. If you are near a rural area, I think that's the best way to start. When our almost 12 year old gets to be the age, we will take him up there to begin!
 

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DH taught DD2 to drive, Ex taught DD1.<br>
We started DD2 in the lower parking lot of her school (it's called the Basin - picture a bowl shaped area that floods when it rains.) There he showed her the turn signals, window wipers, etc. Anything you think that they might need. (She also knows how to jump a car and change tires.) From there we progressed to side streets, main roads and eventually <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/scared.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="scared"> the highway. With each one we slowly progressed to the other and if DD2 didn't feel comfortable went back to the smaller area of driving.
 

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We live in a city, in a densely populated state. I started DS in large cemeteries and state parks.
 

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I started in an empty parking lot. Just getting a feel for the wheel and making large turns. My kids started on the church parking lot across the street from our house. We also have an industrial park in our town, with lots of driveways and stop signs. That was great on a Sunday afternoon- street driving without the traffic. We also did a lot of late night driving. The experience was useful and the traffic was light.
 

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i will sign my kids up for a class, i thought it was worth every penny and way better than being in the car with a nervous parent. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">
 

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The first place my father took me was a large empty parking lot. School parking lots on weekends tend to be good bets. Then we moved on to country roads. Those were perfect, and I used them for a long time. From there we progressed to quiet streets, then around town, slow highways, faster highways, and finally the interstate. A very large city is about an hour from me, and that was quite an adventure and learning curve- I didn't tackle that until after I had my license, without a parent. It took a long time to get the hang of it, I'd say big city driving might be a skill worth teaching.<br><br>
I also took drivers ed, and I think that helped quite a bit. I'd highly reccomend doing both drivers ed AND at home instruction.
 

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I can't add to any of the above suggestions - we have done all of those things - empty parking lots, rural gravel roads, quiet suburban streets, busier streets.<br><br>
I completely agree with you that the more practice a kid gets behind the wheel with an adult, the safer driver they wil be on their own. Recently I started implementing a rule in our house that ANY time one of my twin sons is in the car, they are driving. I have made a few exceptions, but they have been driving a lot more, and it shows.<br><br>
They are taking driver's ed this summer, so they'll get experience with a different teacher (I do a lot more driving with the boys than DH).<br><br>
Keep up the good work!
 

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as a nervous driver myself, i have to agree with the PP... make her drive as much as possible... don't let any mistakes or scary moments build up in her head and turn her off driving. i'm now in my mid 20's and have only very VERY recently gotten comfortable with driving at all. i actively avoided driving throughout my teens and early twenties, and i wish my parents had been a bit more proactive about helping with this life skill. however, if you don't think you'll be calm enough to teach them (my mom was terrible to drive with, she was so jumpy!) then help her sign up for drivers ed. my husband (then boyfriend) was really the only person i knew who was calm and non-judgemental enough to help me through my driving fears, but even then it really took me a long time to feel confident. if you're comfortable with it, then just ask her to drive whenever you're going somewhere (and you think it's a safe area)... parking lots are a good place to start, but getting out on a street as soon as possible is where you really learn to drive!
 

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My two don't drive yet -- and they're 17 and 20! Interestingly, the 20 y.o. lives in a city of several hundred thousand and says that his bicycle riding there has helped him get comfortable with rules of the road re driving. That, of course, depends on how one rides, and how those around the rider behave, but he especially says he understands much more about rights of way at intersections, etc. So if it's a safe and comfortable option for your DD, maybe bike riding could be a reinforcing component. Plus there's an immediate exit option (you know that "let me out" feeling?) where she can just get off and walk her bike, thus becoming an instant pedestrian.
 

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I just want to mention that driver's ed is not the same everywhere. In Rhode Island, if you're under the age of 18 you have to take driver's ed to get a license....however, driver's ed does not teach you how to drive. It's about a week of classroom time, and my son said it mostly focused on stuff like drunk driving, understanding signs and lines, and wearing seatbelts. Also, driver's ed here is not offered in high school like it was when I was in high school. It's done through the community college and costs about $75.<br><br>
In order to get actual driver training here, you have to enroll in a driving <i>school</i>, which is different than driver's ed. AAA has driving schools, and there are other private driving schools, too.
 

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A big cemetery. There are roads, turns, intersections....just not a lot of traffic.<br><br>
That's where my kids learned to ride their bikes, ride the scooter, and now how to drive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the much needed info and suggestions. I hadn't thought of a cemetary, around here sleep roads are almost impossible to find. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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My dad would take me to a big industrial park on weekends.<br><br>
I also took two driving instruction courses through AAA, which were very, very good.
 

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First of all, have fun! I spent most of my son's childhood dreading the day I would have to let him get behind the wheel and then wound up thoroughly enjoying teaching him how to drive. The memories will make me smile forever.<br><br>
I would start with a parking lot, then a cemetery, but please spend plenty of time on city streets, night time driving, and challenging weather conditions to make sure she is adequately prepared when the time comes to drive by herself and to save yourself needless worry. She might be more comfortable driving with some music on. If you homeschool, weeknights are a good time to practice without having to worry about too much traffic, just be sure to let her sleep in the next morning.<br><br>
When she is ready, let her take over as much of the practical "Mom's Taxi" errands as you can. Be available in the back seat for quick advice when she needs it, but let her show off for her friends and help non-drivers to get around.<br><br>
I needed a brake job shortly after ds1 got his license. No biggie. It was cheaper than driver's school. If she is interested in minor maintenance, support that interest. ds1 is amazing me and saving me a fortune with his knowledge.<br><br>
Above all, celebrate this important milestone instead of fearing it! You are she will both do fine and have a lot of fun and enjoy some wonderful bonding moments together.<br><br>
Congratulations!
 

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My 15.5 yo daughter is enrolled in drivers education/training at a private driving school that starts the week after school gets out. Here in CA it's required to have 30 classroom hours of drivers' ed, and you have to be enrolled in the class before you get your permit. Then the drivers' training comes on top of the classroom time. I think parents have to keep a log and sign off on 50 hours of behind the wheel training before the licensing test.<br><br>
We plan to take a road trip up Hwy 395 to Mammoth this summer and let her drive as much of that as we can, just for lots of time behind the wheel.<br><br>
Thanks for all the above suggestions - love the idea of learning to drive in a cemetery! The only thing I don't think is a good idea is turning on music, at least until they get some experience. At my daughter's school, they cited a study that said that <b>anything</b> distracting in the car (cds, radio, friends, etc) raises the likelihood of an accident. We plan to make it a rule for the first year - no radio or ipod, and the phone gets turned off!
 

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We live in the country on a private road. So that's where my oldest learned. My other kids will probably know alot more about driving in general because they drive our small tractor, and the one at their grandparents house, too. It was on the news here once about a girl who saved her grandmother's life by stopping the truck they were in when her gma had a heart attack while driving. The little girl knew what to do because her grandpa had taught her how to drive their tractor.
 
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