So, The Daughter has started the driving portion of Driver's Ed. After a couple of trips out driving, with other drivers FREAKING her out, we asked her if she would like us to get some "Student Driver" stickers similar to the red "L" plates they use in England. She said it would give her peace of mind, so off to the internet we went, and eventually found a nice 3 pack on e-bay.
Now, remember, I grew up in the country. I was driving things for years before I got to Driver's Ed. Cars, trucks, tractors, riding lawn mowers, you name it, so when it came to to drive in school, it wasn't THAT big of a deal. For The Daughter, that's not exactly the case.
And as I noted back HERE, man have the rules changed for getting her license.
We've been trying to find "the road less traveled" for her to practice. We've found some local business parks that are pretty empty after hours and on weekends. We've also been to the cemetery a couple of times.
But, eventually, you've got to get them out into the real world of traffic. So we've done both the neighborhood driving and out on the main streets. Trying very hard to remain calm while saying things like:
- "You can move over to the left a little." Translation: "Move over! You are 3 inches from taking out the driver's windows on those parked cars."
- "You can start breaking now." Translation: "HIT THE D@MN BREAK!"
- "You can accelerate a little." Translation: "Stop idling and hit the gas."
So, she'd had maybe 4 of her required 50 hours in when I decided it was time to get her some real driving time. Over spring break, we were in St. Louis, and heading north to my parent's house for Easter. So, when we got to my college town, she and I switched seats, slapped on the magnets, and she headed off on the country highway that I've driven many, many times.
But never so nerve-racking.
And I've had a FREAKIN' WHEEL fall off my car on that drive [LINK].
To be honest, she did a pretty good job, but nothing in my life has prepared me for sitting shotgun next to to someone driving 55 mph for the first time. My butt cheeks were clenched so tight the whole 2.5 hour drive, I probably pooped a diamond the next day!
She's now up over 10 hours. We're working on her spending too much time at/in intersections and breaking soon enough so she can stop in a gentle, controlled manner vs. having to break hard when she's about to slam into the car stopped in front of her. And then there's the auto-kinesthetic sense. (Knowing where the car is in space around her when driving and cornering, etc,.)
We've tried night driving once, and she needs 9 more hours of it before going for her license. But considering how it went, yeah, we're going to save those until closer to the end. But, since she can't go for her license until December anyway, we've got time.
But as I keep reminding her when she kicks herself for not being perfect. "Driving is a skill. You have to practice a skill to get better at it."
And I'm sure she'll get there.