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Who Taught You How to Drive?

Observations at ten and two

By Leslie WritesPublished about a month ago Updated about a month ago 4 min read
Top Story - August 2023
Who Taught You How to Drive?
Photo by Cory Bouthillette on Unsplash

If you’re a licensed driver with two parents, there was probably some discussion among them about who would be the one to teach you how to drive. There is always a nervous one and a brave one. I suppose if you had a single parent who fell into the nervous category, it may have been a job outsourced to an uncle or an official driving school if you were middle class enough.

Nervous teachers make nervous drivers and nobody needs that! A healthy respect for the rules of the road and the dangers associated with operating a two ton vehicle are expected, but random gasping and white knuckled handle gripping certainly doesn’t help build confidence.

You know the one. Mine’s beige.

I received driving instruction from my mom, as it was my dad who was the nervous one. For my husband it was his mom who taught him in her white mini van because his dad yelled too much.

My mom had a blue Buick Century. It was a powerful machine. I was so nervous the first time I hit the gas, I burst into tears.

I remember my mom took me to the big empty parking lot in front of the government center. To ease the tension, she made little thump sounds when I got too close to the invisible parked cars. It was a steep learning curve. Once I even drove up the wrong side of the road. The drivers of the cars facing me were actually pretty cool about it considering the circumstances. Mom and I were both screaming, of course.

After the incident, mom had me pull over while our heart rates returned to normal. I started to take off my seatbelt to switch drivers, but mom said I should “get right back on the horse” or I’d be too nervous to drive again.

The horse - Image from Kelley Blue Book https://www.kbb.com/

My dad had an even crazier incident when he was learning to drive. His mom was the nervous one. Actually, they were both rather nervous, but Nana refused to even try, so the job fell to Pop-Pop. As the story goes, a STEAM ROLLER fell off the back of a truck and started rolling towards them. Instead of hitting the breaks, Dad swerved onto the shoulder to avoid being smooshed. Once the dust settled, Pop had to convince my sixteen year old dad to get back in the driver's seat. Teaching a kid to drive is not for the faint of heart!

Come to think of it, I did have a couple of weeks of official driving school. In the summer I held my learner’s permit, since my birthday was in the Fall. The instructor was a nervous man with fingernails bitten down to the quick. He insisted on having every window open and the Howard Stern Show blasting on the radio at full volume. Since the guy had to be heard over the whooshing wind and shock jock mayhem, he yelled all of his instructions.

Some people say that driving is fun, but I don’t enjoy it. I just like the freedom of being able to leave a party whenever I want.

We recently bought my daughter a new (refurbished actually) bicycle at a local shop. When we brought it home, my husband took a nap and said I should teach her for some “mommy daughter bonding time.” She already figured out how to pedal but had difficulty getting started. She made me steady the bike then let go about two hundred times. When I suggested that she try scooting off the curb with one foot to get herself started, she screamed at me. She told me to go away. I made a few more attempts to help, then gave up and let her watch T.V.

This is Purple Lightning

The next day, she went out with her dad and within five minutes she was ready for the Tour de France. They let me know that they discussed it, and decided that he would be the one to teach her how to drive a car as well.

Was I upset ? Not one bit. Did I agree with them that I was not right for the job? You better believe it! I would be gripping and gasping my way to a heart attack and my daughter would probably never speak to me again. I am happy to bestow that honor to my husband. Mommy daughter time will be spent elsewhere.


About the Creator

Leslie Writes

Another struggling millennial. Writing is my creative outlet and stress reliever.

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Comments (30)

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  • Syeda Razi Fatima9 days ago

    you deserve to join the Vocal Awards https://tinyurl.com/3cjr6788

  • Heather Lunsford22 days ago

    Our family business was logging. My dad thought me how to drive big equipment from a very early age. He was not eager to let me drive cars. My older siblings wrecked a lot of their cars. But when I was 16 (3 years older than my siblings started) ĥe got hurt and needed me and my twin brother to drive. We just got in the car and went to take our test. But after I had my liscense my mom gave us lots of good advice.

  • George Hall29 days ago

    Great story, i know the feeling that driving can offer you to produce dread and or joy and it can be hard to find a middle ground between the two.

  • Sarah Danaherabout a month ago

    Well I don't like driving either despite having to get to my job. I was taught by my mom,the nervous one, but ended up driving like my dad. I worked at the same place for some time. We gave my mom acid reflex. Funny stories though. Definitely relatable. My grandfather taught my mom to drive on the beltway outside Washington DC and fell asleep. They both survived and he had a death wish or really trusted her. Funny story from my family

  • Margaret Brennanabout a month ago

    love this; my mom never drove and dad didn't want a "non-licensed" driver at the wheel of his car. My "fiance" claimed he didn't have time; my best friend, Ronnie taught me.

  • Celia in Underlandabout a month ago

    This is such a cute story and I love the threads of family throught. Ending was hilarious. The next day, she went out with her dad and within five minutes she was ready for the Tour de France.' I'm sure you're relieved! Congats on Top Story, a very well written piece-I reall, really enjoyed it :)

  • Jazzy Gonçalves about a month ago

    I loved reading this lol I am not looking forward to teaching my kid. My dad taught me and I DRIVE JUST LIKE HIM, a steel toe 😂

  • Raihana H.about a month ago

    I enjoyed reading it! Made me smile. This reminded me of the time I tried to learn to ride a bicycle without any training wheels. I fell on glass shards 😐 in front of many people. Yeah it was the most embarrassing thing that could happen for that age...lol Then I ran up to my parents, crying. 🤣🤣

  • Atomic Historianabout a month ago

    I love this so much! And we have had wildly different learning experiences when it comes to driving. For some reason, my family decided "you know what that kid needs, something with wheels, that he might injure himself with," and thus my driving career began at the tender age of three with a toy version of the Honda ATC. Then came the bike with training wheels. And then those bad boys came off, and I was really going. The first thing I learned to drift on was my bike, because I used to watch a lot of auto racing. No, really I mean a lot. After Saturday cartoons, it was NASCAR, Formula 1, motorcycle(both paved and dirt track), drag racing, you name it. So, it was no wonder that I watched how the dirt track motorcycle racers would drift their bikes, and figured it out on a pedal bike. Then around nine, I got my go-kart, and boy, was that a decision. And this doesn't include my dad's apparent philosophy of "if you can fit in the seat and reach, you can drive it." DO NOT RECOMMEND IN ALL SITUATIONS. That's how I almost drove a compactor off of a wall when I was nine. It was fun though. I learned how to do donuts in a skid-steer at 10. Of course, this only led me to want to drive more things. So, once my grandpa let me take control of the boat, you know who was driving if we were taking that out. Which also led me to eventually enroll in flight school in 2014. I would be lying if I said I didn't chuckle a little when I read "get back on the horse story," because it reminded me of a conversation I was having earlier today with one of the officers that just got dropped from flight school. I was trying to comfort him about not making it through, because it's really tough. I told him, I know what you mean. I was telling how when I was in flight school my seatbelt unbuckled while doing stall practices, which made me slam into the controls. This was really scary, because it forced the plane in a further downward angle, but I was able to push myself off the controls enough that my instructor could regain control, while I got back in my seat and buckled. But it was the first time, besides trying to juggle a full time job and flight school that I questioned my decision. Because if I had been on a solo flight, it would have made recovery even harder. But long story short, I kept going until I couldn't balance work and school any more.

  • Tina D'Angeloabout a month ago

    "Some people say that driving is fun, but I don’t enjoy it. I just like the freedom of being able to leave a party whenever I want." Amen, Lesley!

  • Grz Colmabout a month ago

    I loved this Leslie, just back to say congrats on your top story!!! ☺️🎉 You always have such an irreverent dash of humour in your work which I really like. 😊

  • Caroline Cravenabout a month ago

    Ha! Love this! Brought back many terrifying memories of my dad teaching me how to drive. I think I was responsible for his premature white hair!

  • Big Dreamsabout a month ago

    My dad taught me to drive, it wasn't a fun experience for either of us

  • Mackenzie Davisabout a month ago

    Haha yeah, my dad was almost too chill. My mom did not do well with my sister but was okay with me. I think sometimes it depends on the learner and how much they gel with the teacher…But I hate driving too! If no one else drove, it would be great, amirite? Love how you handled the bike situation! I probably would have dug my heels in to teach her, even in the face of my husband being better than me . Congratulations on Top Story! This was a fun one! 😊

  • Dana Stewartabout a month ago

    I love to drive but with no one else on the road, they're the scary ones. Great story and I think you got the good end of the deal! Congrats on the TS!

  • Dana Crandellabout a month ago

    What a great story! I love teaching, but not teaching driving. Congratulations!

  • Oneg In The Arcticabout a month ago

    😬😬😬😬 hahaha Loved reading this

  • Kendall Defoe about a month ago

    My bikes are wrecks. My license has expired. And I love this piece! Well-deserved TS!

  • Missclickedabout a month ago

    very well written life experience! although it took me a minute to realize that POP-POP was grandfather (silly me) congratulations on top story!

  • Babs Iversonabout a month ago

    Fantastic family story!!! Everyone can relate to learning or teach a family member how to drive! Congratulations on Top Story too!!!❤️❤️💕

  • emaabout a month ago

    My dad gave me driving lessons many years ago and was great. However I don't like driving very much, I drive only in my town and never dare drive on the highway!

  • Novel Allenabout a month ago

    I avoid driving as much as possible. I am a tunnel visioned driver. Yet, I seem to have an acute sense of avoiding an accident. Like my reflexes click into driving mode when it is most needed. I unconsciously turn the car the correct way in an ice skid, or pump the brake and turn to avoid going over a bridge. Saved myself. I still wonder at that. I actually mostly taught myself a little bit at a time. I am kind of an autodidact. Made school a bit puzzling.

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Here we have to go through an official driving school. My dad did give me some lessons and it was so scary. Not because of my dad but because I was so afraid of the other cars on the road, lol! I got my license when I was 18 but only started driving when I was 22. And guess what, I love driving! I loved it once I got the hang of it. Also, good call on letting your husband give driving lessons for your daughter, lol!

  • Iris Harrisabout a month ago

    Honestly, the credit for your daughter’s bike riding should go to you. I was similar to your daughter. Day one, I couldn’t figure it out. However, on day two I had it mastered. Driving is different a lot more stress. I don’t like it either and would not feel comfortable teaching anyone.

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