There comes a time in every parent's life where we realize our babies just aren’t babies anymore and they are growing up right before our eyes. They go from tiny little beings who need us to walk, talk—and go to school. After a few years when we finally get used to the fact that we don’t have to pack their lunches or remind them to do their homework anymore—another epic journey begins. The life of a teenager.
Once high school begins we are on a whole other level with our parenting. They’ve taken a reproductive education class or two, learned negative habits from their peers—and arguing with you about how much housework to complete or how late their company can stay over.
Among other things you stopped dropping them off in front of the school a long time ago because they wouldn’t be caught dead getting out of moms 2012 minivan—or anything else that doesn’t scream brand spanking new. All of their older friends are starting to get new cars and they want one too. So as a doting parent, we teach them how to drive. What’s the worst that can happen?
20 Forgetting To Put The Car In Park
Most of us remember the first time we set foot behind the wheel. It was likely Dad–who was brave enough to get into the passenger seat and let us try our hand at operating the vehicle that would catapult us one step closer to adulthood. Once we have survived, we're ready to jump out of the car faster than they can ask if they did a good job. But before we do, we ought to make sure the gear is set or we may find ourselves rolling down a hill—or worse into the storefront window. Teen Driving notes, not applying the park gear is one of the most common mistakes of new drivers.
19 Pulling The Emergency Break
Fortunately for moms and dads—and everyone else in the neighborhood,—the people who invented cars thought of a safety mechanism. Its main use is for vehicles that have to dock on a steep incline such as a slanted driveway—or a hill or mountain in some part of the country. That handy lever in the middle console isn’t just for resting a tired hand or bracing ourself when we are scared. According to Wise Geek, the parking brake is a built-in device to stop the car from becoming completely totaled—like falling off of a cliff or avoiding a speeding ticket if used correctly. Good thinking when a teen is behind the wheel.
18 Go Out Of Turn At A Four Way
When the road system was first built in 1956, according to History, it was basically a way for people to get from country road to country road. That’s why highways used to be two lanes before the population boomed. But here we are decades later and instead of doing away with the roads—the engineers just came up with a traffic light system to keep people in line. Those four-way stops are there for a reason—although most people, especially our teenagers haven’t quite figured out why—as they sit there, trying to decipher who is going to go first.
17 Keep Calm: Give The Hand Signal
Hopefully, when this happens—we're in the intersection down the road from our subdivision and the person who got cut off was likely our neighbor whose wife always brings us pies on Sundays. They will likely recognize our license plate as our car screeches on by right about when they start to grit their teeth prepared to give us a piece of their mind. That way, instead of them offering up obscene hand gestures as we whizz on by—they will smile as we use the hand signaling system, as per the DMV.
16 A Tale Of Two Feet
For most kids—when they get into the car—one of the first things they notice when they look down at the floorboard are those two shiny petals staring them in the face. According to IB Times, those are aptly called the gas pedal and the brake pedal. One thing that is probably not mentioned in the driver's education books or the simulated tests that kids can take online these days that resemble the video game Grand Theft Auto—is that they can’t drive with both feet. Thus, as soon as they try to do this—the car may react in a way that terrifies them, and that's not always a bad thing. But give them time to calm down and adjust before proceeding.
15 Stop The Car!
If worse comes to worse and suddenly the car starts to drift or burn rubber, creating a smoke cloud as thick as thieves and leaving all of the people passing by if we have a prescription that reads “do not take while driving or operating heavy machinery” in our system... stop the car already. According to Wheels, the police over there won’t even pull people over and give them a ticket for doing such a thing—unless of course, it leads to an accident or worse. So as long as we can manage to stop the car and turn off the ignition, we should fare okay with this one.
14 Flat As A Pancake
Not everyone recognizes when they have become a victim of the dreaded road overkill—the flat tire. We may be cruising down the road, flying down the highway—or worse driving down the main strip at the beach on a weekend when everyone else is out there, too. But, regardless of when it happens, our kid is not going to be aware that something is wrong.
The sound of the wheel wobbling, the car seems to slow down a bit, and tire pressure gauge warning flashing before their eyes... None of that is going to mean a darn thing to them. They are going to drive the family sedan until the wheel falls off, or at least until it peels off in shreds. Serious Accidents reports, tire blowouts are the most reported cause of accidents on the roads today.
13 End The Session For The Day
Once that happens, if we are actually in a residential neighborhood, it can be as simple as pulling the spare tire and jack out of the trunk—wrestling with those annoying lug nuts and popping the spare on in no time flat. But, unfortunately, most people who experience a blowout do so in the worst place they can possibly be—the freeway( rush hour and all).
That location can be a beast simply because depending on where we live. We wouldn't get out of that car if our life depended on it—and it does depend on it because we have to escape death just to get to the median lane. Then we are still stuck. According to Consumer Affairs, it takes highway patrol or AAA services on average 45 minutes to rescue stranded drivers. So let’s just say it’ll be safe to call it a day.
12 Those Darn Poles
Now this one has happened to even the best of drivers—although most of us won’t admit it. With the new parking restrictions in certain neighborhoods lately, cars are forced to either park head in or butt-in depending on the laws on the apartment complex we are visiting. They also usually have parking spaces packed so tightly that we’ll be lucky if we can open the car door to get out of it. So, if our kid happens to back into a pole trying to fit into space—we might want to revisit his weekly allowance. According to Reference, the average parking space is only eight feet wide.
11 Oh Those Orange Cones
Back in the olden days, the way to protect people from making mistakes in the parking lots, on the street, on the freeways, or in the yard was to put up those super bright orange cones. But in today's world, they are rarely seen—unless we are taking a driving test, working on rebuilding a bridge, or in a construction zone. Depending on the state, we may see half of the metro police force lined up on the side of the freeway waiting to give us a fine, too. Anyhow, those cones aren’t just for the professionals, and they cost only $11.00, as per Home Depot. They may be just what an anxious kid learning to drive needs to stay on target.
10 Missing The Stop Sign
Now then, we may want to be especially careful with this one around the holidays because there happens to be a little-known infraction called rolling the sign. At least a few years ago there was, and that’s when we come upon the sign just right to us and start inching our way forward after we’ve looked to the right and left—but we don’t see anyone. So, we keep going. But, that’s totally different from flying through the sign as if was never posted in the first place. If we find that our kid does this or makes a habit of it, then we may want to have a little talk with them. According to CBS, 4 in 10 kids have to retake their driver’s training tests each year. Yikes!
9 You Didn't See That
For this one, we have a couple of different options. We can either berate our kid and tell them that they shouldn’t be behind the wheel—as some parents are known to do, or we can do the next sensible thing, which is to pretend we didn’t notice until they have a chance to pull the car over safely. Once they’ve managed to pull over out of the danger zone, we can review the experience with them and explain the potential consequences of their actions. According to a study done by AAA, most parents are extremely nervous about being behind the wheel when their kids are driving. No kidding!
8 A Case Of The Lurches
For those of us who are used to driving automatic vehicles only, then it may not apply to us. But if we love to drive foreign cars, then we may very well have a car with three pedals on the floorboard. And teaching a kid to drive one of those is a feat in and of itself. When learning to navigate the gears and pedals, it takes exact precision or else. Therefore, we may not be surprised when they do the sequence incorrectly and the car lurches forward like it has a mind of its own, but our teen will definitely be surprised. According to Car Complaints, it may be a sign of a transmission issue but more than likely it means they shifted incorrectly.
7 It's All Fun And Games, Right?
For any nervous parent, they consider themselves lucky to have made it through the day—or honestly even the first few hours of their soon to be driving professional on the road. Thus, this is the time where we will actually get to laugh a bit—maybe even joke about how our parents drove those old cars that didn’t have automatic transmissions and we were always wondering what the heck they were doing but too modest to say anything about it. According to Jalopnick, only 6 percent of cars in the USA have manual transmissions.
6 Hazard Lights For Exit Ramps
It can be scary for anyone making their way from the center lane of a major freeway to the exit ramp, especially going upwards of 70 miles per hour in some states. So, as we’re thinking to ourselves that we wish they’d hurry up and get over before we miss the exit—they may be terrified a random car is going to rear-end them or cut them off each step of the way. That’s when the hazard lights start looking like a viable solution for our teens—because how else are they supposed to get by?
5 Enjoy The Sudden Slow Down
Usually, that neat triangular symbol in the console is reserved for emergency situations. But when it’s the kids driving, anything falls into that category. So, even though those hazard lights may be inconvenient for us and make us feel a bit asinine—we've gotta admit people move out of the way and traffic seems to slow down a bit. Sometimes in a busy city on a busy freeway—it can be nice. According to Esurance, people slow down on average when they perceive an emergent situation.
4 The Donuts Aren’t Always Dunkin
Those of us who live in a state where there are frequent torrential downpours—especially during hurricane season—or the other end of the spectrum where the Winter is filled with tons of snow and black ice, we undoubtedly know how tedious it can be to drive through it.
According to Accuweather, one of the most common misconceptions about the dangerous weather is that the road isn’t as wet as it appears to be, or that it’s not going to be slippery. This is where the donuts are plentiful and we’re not talking about the kind we eat. Our teen may start to swerve uncontrollably and need to gain control of the car to steer themselves out of it.
3 Tighten That Seatbelt And Pray
This is one of those moments where we learn to thank the God, Deity, Spirit, Saint, or other higher power for giving us the air to breathe that day and if we aren’t religious then we may suddenly find a calling for it in those moments. Some of the most diligent parents in the world get a little unhinged when their child starts spinning in circles as if they are auditioning for a scene in the next installment of The Fast and The Furious. As per WebMD, people can develop phobias of car accidents, near misses or anything that can be perceived as such.
2 No, The Other Right
We are all a little guilty sometimes of being preoccupied and not following precise directions—that’s just one of those things that go with life sometimes. However, when we are in the car with a new teenaged driver who is breaking their neck not to answer their phone or check their updated social media status, then it’s not the best time for them not to pay attention. So when we tell them to make a right at the corner and they make a left, we will either be late to arrive at our destination or go the wrong way on a one-way street. SADD notes, teen drivers are the most distracted people on the roads. Sigh.
1 Pick Up A Street Sign Manual
Most of us have noticed that when we go to the Department of Motor Vehicles, Secretary of State, or Department of Motor Safety—depending on where we live—that they have those little pamphlets all over the place to give people driving tips. As a parent, we often think they are silly because by now we have been driving for decades. Besides, if our teen had questions about driving maneuvers or signage, then they must have asked their instructor, right? Wrong! So we may want to have a few—or hundreds—of them sticking around in places to hand off to our budding adults so they can have a friendly reminder with them. As per I Drive Safely, teens don’t actually see themselves as a threat on the road. Shocking, right?
References: Wheels, IB Times, DMV, History, Wise Geek, Teen Driving, Serious Accidents, Consumer Affairs, Reference, CBS, AAA, Car Complaints, Jalopnick, Quora, Esurance, WEB MD, Accuweather, SADD, I Drive Safely