Here we go again: this time it is Talia’s turn. The third of my three children is now the proud owner of a learner’s permit, giving her permission to drive with a responsible adult. Things have changed since my first daughter got her driver’s permit nine years ago: in this jurisdiction, the requirements have become longer and stricter than they were back then.
What has not changed of course is the sense of thrill and pride that my daughter has when she is given the chance to sit behind the steering wheel of the family car. Truth be told, she is probably better placed to become a driver than either of her siblings were. Almost two years ago she took the test for her scooter’s licence and successfully passed it. She worked all last summer, and bought her very own scooter at the end of the summer.
I worked very closely with her to make sure that she would drive safely and obey all the rules of the road before we let her take the scooter out on her own. Driving a scooter seems to have given her a real sense of the dangers of the road, since she knows that a little 50-cc scooter does not provide any protection whatsoever in the case of a collision.
She tells me that she drives her scooter with one finger hovering over the horn button and keeps a very careful look out as to what other drivers are doing. Even when she may have the right of way she makes sure that the other driver has looked and seen her before she proceeds into an intersection.
Although she’s only been able to drive a car for about three weeks, she is taking that same set of instincts and applied them directly to her car driving. Even though she’s driving an extremely large SUV that provides about the maximum protection of any family vehicle, in her mind she is still driving a little scooter.
When she comes to intersections, she is acutely aware of what the other drivers are doing and she is similarly aware of everything that’s going on around her while driving down the road. She comes to a complete stop at intersections, and obeys red lights and speed limits.
Her one constant comment however is that, “boy, is this car really big!” That seems to be her biggest transition. Going from a tiny scooter to a giant SUV is quite the change.
Another thing that has changed since her older sister got her driver’s permit is that now her siblings have grown old enough so that they qualify as responsible adult drivers who are allowed to take her out for driving practice. According to her, her older siblings are even stricter than her mother and I when it comes to driving habits.
They look out for their little sister and want to make sure that she develops the best driving skills she possibly can.
Having a young driver in the car as a passenger probably makes all of us better drivers. She is quick to point out when we have rolled to a stop or are exceeding the speed limit. More importantly, we all want to show her how to drive properly so that she will grow up to be a safe driver as well.
So, at least for the next little while, we can thank Talia for making us all better drivers. Let’s hope we remember what she teaches us.