Unless your surname is Skaife, Andretti or Makinen, do not, under any circumstances, ever take your child out for a driving lesson. Ever. Not once.
Even those doyens of the motor racing world would baulk at the idea of taking a new age, social media-obsessed teen out on a public road. They’d be forced to pull over for tweet breaks. Can you imagine? “OMG, driving’s so haaaard. Wish FB was, like, a teleportal. LOLZ!!!! #dadissuchadouche”
I know that kids have to rack up sufficient hours that in any other profession would have them behind the controls of an A380. I’m aware that paying for driving lessons for one child means that the entire family can kiss goodbye that week in Fiji. But here’s the thing: none of us are even remotely qualified to train our beloved offspring in the rudiments of 1200kg, 160km/h missile guidance. We’re just not. Most of us aren’t even very good drivers ourselves (despite what we think!), so the very last thing we should be doing is passing on our ingrained bad habits to an impressionable new generation. It’ll be hard enough to stop them tweeting and driving.
I’ve only read a couple of self-help guides in my life, but as far as I recall, none of them prescribe loud, panicky shouting, testy exchanges of attitude-laden opinion or the incoherent babblings of sheer, unadulterated terror as ideal one-on-one teaching methods. As parents, we are singularly ill-equipped to instruct our children in the simple act of closing a house door after themselves. How can we hope to train them in the difficult, complex skill of car control and traffic management?
So I’ve worked out a solution for our budding 16-year-old femme auto fatale. I’ve pulled a couple of strings in the motor racing game and recruited the services of someone ideally suited – he’s a racing driver, he’s young, he’s cute (according to her) and he’s not me. I, and I’m sure the wider motoring community, wish him the very best of luck…
Of course, not everyone is able to pull such strings, in which case you might be interested in learning about Keys2drive. Funded by the Australian Government, Keys2drive is a youth road safety program which provides learner drivers and their parent/supervisor with a free 60 minute session with an accredited driving instructor. For more information, check out this video.