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Drivers' Ed

By Susan Bono

MY SON will be driving soon. Consider yourself warned. Come summer, it might not be a mom with 30 years of experience behind the wheel of that blue Sable wagon. Instead, you may be encountering someone with, shall we say, more youthful attitudes and responses.

I confess I'm a little worried. My son has so much to learn. He's still under the impression that a car is a potentially dangerous weapon. He remains acutely aware of the laws of physics every time he buckles up. In spite of what he sees every day, he thinks tailgating is bad form, as is failure to yield right of way.

Unlike more experienced drivers, he believes in using turn signals. He's naive enough to obey stop signs and thinks he's supposed to look both ways before pulling into traffic. He'll drive you crazy if you end up in line behind him, because he hasn't figured out how to add at least seven miles to any posted speed limit. I can't get him to listen to reason. He just keeps referring to the California Motor Vehicle Code.

I don't know what they're teaching our children in Drivers' Ed these days, but it's obviously pathetically antiquated. His dad and I have been doing our best to set a modern example, as have so many of you, but we're having a tough time convincing him that only losers follow the rules.

Fortunately, my son is a smart one. He'll catch on to the way things really work. He'll start rolling through those stop signs and stop using his turn signals. He'll learn to drive either half-asleep or staring into the rearview mirror and talking to himself (until he gets a cell phone). Before you know it, he'll be out there speeding, hugging your blind spot, cutting you off, and communicating with his middle finger like a veteran.

In the meantime, I am hoping you can give him a little distance and remember what driving was like before you got the hang of it. It's really true that you're only young once. Your understanding could help keep my son alive until he learns to drive like the rest of us.


Susan Bono is the editor of Tiny Lights Publications.

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From the March 8-14, 2001 issue of the Northern California Bohemian.

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