30 September 2006

On driving, teenagers, winter and Huckleberries

The Spokesman-Review has consistently received kudos for their incorporation of the internet and their willingness to include the public in the news process, including a $1,000 Knight-Batten "Award of Distinction." (see story here) for "transparency in the newsroom." According to the judges, "they're doing what others don't have the guts to do."

I bring that up because my favorite part of the Spokesman online is Dave Olivera's Huckleberries - You can read it here. And he kindly gave a link to the post at our blog here on teen driving.

His readers suggested banning cell phones, radios, et al while the young 'uns are driving, taking 'em out in the winter to a big empty parking lot to practice skidding on ice and, probably one of the best pieces of advice for someone like me -"Don't be such a worrywart." (Click here to read the comments in full.)

As I say to others when I'm offered that advice (and yes, I'm offered it quite often) "But I do it so well!" It's hard to have a talent and not use it. :0)

I have taken all my children, at one time or another, down to the high school on an empty winter weekend to practice sliding around. (Probably illegally, so don't tell anyone, okay? I actually didn't realize that a parent can't teach their child to drive until after they finish driver's ed. And let me say right now, I think that's a dumb rule. I'm not letting my child behind the wheel of a car with anyone - not even a driver's ed teacher - until I know they understand the basics. Lucky for me, I don't have a child without at least a permit now, and yes, as soon as I learned I was breaking the law, I quit driving with my children.)

Back to winter driving. While I think it's great to teach children how to slide in big, empty parking lots, be aware... THIS IS NOT A FUN PROCESS. "Go," I would tell them and then, when they had reached an appropriate speed, "Quick, turn the wheel!" It's kind of like riding the tilt-a-whirl, but worse, and it's been many years now since I discovered that my body no longer likes to ride the tilt-a-whirl.

You can do this with your child until your stomach rebels, but at some point, don't forget that the point is to teach them how to steer out of the skid. It's best to try this with several different vehicles, as each one responds somewhat differently.

I have some more good "teach the kids how to drive stories" that I'll share later (let me remind myself right here to tell you about fording Lightning Creek) but this is long enough for now. Any stories of your own?

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