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From the tender age of just 16, children in Australia can start learning to drive a motor vehicle.

It’s frightening – for the parents at least!

Year 10 Formal photo: “Sure, we’re all learning to drive!”

Learning to Drive - all of them!

But What Can You Do?

You hope your young teenager wont want to get behind the wheel until they are a bit older, but don’t count on it.

On their 16th birthday, most will sit the compulsory computer test and pass (oh yes, they’ll pass first time – they’ve been practicing online since they turned 15!).

They’ll be given ‘L’ plates and be nagging you the very same day to take them out driving.  What the….

Slow Down! Break! Now! Stop! Jesus!

What was it like for you?

My oldest son:

  • Thought it was his absolute right to drive at the speed limit, no matter the situation
  • He also saw no point slowing down behind stationary cars at traffic lights until the very last moment
  • Surprisingly he liked to ‘take on’ buses coming in the opposite direction and squeeze through small spaces

My youngest son (still on ‘L’s):

  • Did not initially understand the word ‘gradual’ as it related to pulling out into the next lane of traffic
  • He also used to go suddenly deaf when turning left. He didn’t appear to hear me pleading with him to ‘slow down more’ and as a result over-swung the corner – every time!
  • Thank God he’s now stopped turning the wheel when he looks over his shoulder!

Light at the end of the Tunnel

Eventually, and after some well-worth-the-money private driving lessons, your now 17 year old will sit his/her driving test, pass and get red ‘P’s’ (which means he/she can drive unaccompanied).

You know what’s coming…

“Can I take your car out Mum”

You reply:

  • Do you have to?
  • Should I come with you?
  • Will you be careful?
  • Keep to the speed limit
  • Don’t use your mobile phone
  • Keep both hands on the wheel
  • Put your seat belt on
  • Did I mention being careful?
  • Phone me when you get there

We now drive unaccompanied!

Learning to Drive - unaccompanied

A Few Months Down the Track…

Your questions are a bit different:

  • Have you put any petrol in the car?
  • What’s that scratch on the passenger side wheel arch?  Sorry Mum
  • What on earth has happened to my wheel hubs?  Sorry again Mum
  • For goodness sake, take the P’s off – I keep driving around with them on
  • Stop changing my radio channels
  • ..and turn the volume down – I get deafened every time I get in my car
  • Have you still not put any petrol in it?
  • You could at least wash it for me once in a while

But, as Time Goes By…

“Nip to the shop for some milk love”

“Can you pick your brother up from school today?”

“Any chance of a lift to and from the restaurant tonight?

“Take your Dad’s car if you like”

..and Then it Happens!

You’ll get a text message.

Mum, how do I open the petrol cap?

Raising Great Kids – who’d be without ‘em :)

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Jan Littlehales

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