Drive, He Said

“Dad, when are you going to take me out driving?”

My son is 14-years-old. I casually mentioned once that I should get him behind the wheel for some training. Since then he asks when we’re going out about once a week or more.

“I don’t know. We’ll get around to it.”

He pushed the newspaper across the table. “Look! Here’s a guy that was teaching his nine-year-old to drive. If a nine-year-old can go out driving, why can’t I do it?”

I looked at the story in the Times Union:

An Albany man, whom police say was drunk, was arrested at Crossgates Mall Sunday afternoon after he allegedly allowed his 9-year-old daughter to drive the family minivan.

“So.. when are we going out?”

“Well, it says here that the cops think the man was drinking. This doesn’t sound like the usual sort of driving lesson.”

“So you won’t take me out?”

“Look, I’d like to, but I think it’s technically against the law before you have a learner’s permit. You can’t get that until you’re 16. ”

He thought for a second. “You don’t want me to end up like Alex, do you?”

His older brother was not exactly a gifted driver, and I think he would have benefited from some early practice. The truth is that I hate the idea of my kids driving. His right of passage is my nightmare, but there’s a part of me willing to break the law so that he can get as much experience as possible before flying solo.

If we do go out for some underage driving, don’t expect me to admit it here. That’s between me and him, unless something bad happens and we end up in the newspaper. I certainly wouldn’t take him to do it at Crossgates.

“OK. Maybe this Summer.”

5 thoughts on “Drive, He Said

  1. Rob,

    Buy a farm. Then a tractor. Let ’em go wild.

    I started on my uncle’s Farmall when I was 14. Great training and great confidence builder.

    Also served me well 20 years later when developing a rapport with farmers while covering a business beat that heavily skewed toward agriculture in Cayuga County.

  2. Forget the Tractor just get property and an old beater car. They can drive on your property legally. That is how my Step-daughter and my Little Brother learned.

  3. That’s the whole point of a learner’s permit, right? To learn? There’s no time limit on how fast a teenager has to go from a learner’s permit to a licensed driver.

    I had been driving with my learner’s and I was doing pretty well. I usually got rides from friends and didn’t mind not driving a lot. I eventually expressed interest in wanting to get my license, and my mom said I wasn’t allowed to get my license until I went to driving school. I did. I got my license at 18 and I got into a (not terrible) car accident a few months after having my license. So…sometimes it doesn’t matter how much experience you have before becoming a licensed driver. 🙁

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