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Yesterday my 16 year old, high school junior son got his drivers license...
Old 12-24-2015, 06:31 AM   #1
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Yesterday my 16 year old, high school junior son got his drivers license...

We paid a couple hundred for a driving instructor for 6 lessons and who gave him the test at the end. Bam "I passed". My son's first question not five minutes later. "Can I go to Ann's house". Ann (not her name) is the first GF and pretty darn assertive. It was about 3PM and of course the Mrs. says "ask your father". I figure it is inevitable so I start with the expected warnings about being careful and be back around 5. It happened to be drizzly and slightly foggy: not the best of days for the first adventure.

He leaves and the next two hours go by slowly.. At 61, I know it is out of my control but I still am filled with dread. I text a friend who was been through it.. He responds:

"A car, a back seat - maybe they want to make some memories"

At 530 he pulls in the driveway, comes in the house and says "traffic".

Sweet Moses I'm too old for this...

Any advice on restrictions of how you handled it.
Ps my daughter (older) never raised my anxiety like this guy does...
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Old 12-24-2015, 08:09 AM   #2
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I'm surprised that after only passing driver's ed your son got an unrestricted license. My two girls each had restricted licenses for almost a year. That meant they could not drive without an adult in the car.

I'm not sure exactly what you're anxious about. If you fear your son's sexual choices that's a sex ed talk, not a driving problem. If you worry about his driving, lay down the law and restrict his driving yourself. Most states allow parents to withdraw a license held by a minor. It's your car, you don't have to let him use it any way he wants.
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Old 12-24-2015, 08:45 AM   #3
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Having a son that turned 16 just 9 months ago and got his license 8 month ago, I speak from experience when I say I wouldve told him "No". I wouldnt have let him drive the car by himself in a drizzly fog the very same day he got his license. These 8 months that our son has had his license, we have slowly started giving him more and more leeway with the car. Anytime we go shopping or to relatives' houses or whatever, I let him drive while Im in the car with him so I can observe. The difference between the day he got his license and today is HUGE. He drives fine now but I still worry about someone pulling out in front of him suddenly or avoiding morons changing lanes without looking. He is now allowed to drive on his own more often but not on every whim. We still have him drive anytime we go anywhere as a group so he can get as much experience driving as possible with one of us in the car with him.

If you dont mind me asking, can you tell me what you paid for auto insurance before and after adding him to your policy?
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Old 12-24-2015, 09:29 AM   #4
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One family's experience - We have three children, all I taught to drive under the rules of our state. Those rules require many, many more hours driving with instructor than 6 lessons. It took a LOT of hours before they could drive reasonably well. Two of my kids did well, I flunked the third and refused to reconsider due to an attitude problem. Let him sit on that for weeks, then sent him to a local driving school....who flunked him also due to attitude problem and were shocked that we fully supported them! His passed his second time around at the school and actually has ended up a good, conservative driver with no wrecks, no tickets for many years. So we think the life lesson helped.

For all three kids, we had a written document which outlined that

(1) driving was a privilege and not a "right". And as long as they were <18, we (parents) decided if they could drive or not.
(2) they could drive parents car only with permission and that was not to be a daily driver type situation.
(3) If they wanted to drive more often, they were more than welcome to buy their own cars with their own money. All three did and learned how to keep old cars running with a little help from us...a big plus in our opinion in that we got to spend some quality time with them and they learned some life skills.
(4) we would pay for basic insurance but any additional insurance cost from wrecks or tickets would be for them to pay. One of the three ended up with 2 wrecks and the added cost got too high. Ended up selling his car and going to college without a car. He understood his responsibility and was ok with this.

All three kids are now adults and seem to be good drivers and can take car of their own cars.
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Yesterday my 16 year old, high school junior son got his drivers license...
Old 12-24-2015, 09:38 AM   #5
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Yesterday my 16 year old, high school junior son got his drivers license...

Quote:
Originally Posted by clfdallas View Post
I'm not sure exactly what you're anxious about. If you fear your son's sexual choices that's a sex ed talk, not a driving problem. If you worry about his driving, lay down the law and restrict his driving yourself. Most states allow parents to withdraw a license held by a minor. It's your car, you don't have to let him use it any way he wants.

I've laid down the law but like many 16 year olds Mom and Dad don't know anything. We certainly will limit driving to what makes sense. A little at a time.

What I am worried about:
1) a good friend has a daughter who went with her girl friends to visit a potential college. She came home with a speeding ticket (100mph). In all other ways a good kid who just made a stupid mistake
2) a colleague at work daughter had several accidents that caused a great deal of stress and expense for the family. An otherwise good student and kid just a terrible driver

Parents worry it is what we do.

He does have a Cinderella license that limits during times and who he can drive with.

Whisper66 Clarification: the last 6 hours with the instructor was after many hours with the wife and my self. He basically drove every time we needed to go somewhere for many months.
Not a bad driver at all.
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Old 12-24-2015, 09:56 AM   #6
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I have no advice but much sympathy.

My (now) ex and I went through this with our daughter twenty-one years ago. Her father taught her to drive, and then she took driver's ed. Still, when she first started driving her skills were beyond awful. Even though I wanted to build her self-confidence, I was too scared to even ride in the car with her driving.

Years later she told me that one day shortly after getting her license, when I thought she had driven over to see a friend about 2 miles away for the day, she drove the friend from College Station (Texas) down to Houston and back which is quite a drive for a small town girl with a brand new driver's license. This is my "little goodie two shoes" daughter who generally made good decisions, so all I can say is that some teenagers will do stupid things when they get a driver's license.

She is a very good driver now, probably better than I am. But during those years my hair turned white and I know why.
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:00 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
I've laid down the law but like many 16 year olds Mom and Dad don't know anything.
-- A lot of empathy for you, that's actually the "attitude problem" of the one child I mentioned. My one kid was pretty brazen about it which is why we got harsh with him. However, we recognized kids are just growing up and testing their boundaries. In a way, it's a good growth step if not taken too far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
What I am worried about......Parents worry it is what we do.
Man, I remember those days of concern! To address possible driving issues, I considered requiring them to have a monitor on their cars but ended up choosing not to. I suppose if any of the three kids had shown serious issues with driving, I might have changed my mind. Consumer reports looked at some of these ( How to Track Your Teen Drivers - Consumer Reports )


Quote:
Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
Whisper66 Clarification: the last 6 hours with the instructor was after many hours with the wife and my self. He basically drove every time we needed to go somewhere for many months.
Not a bad driver at all.
-- Excellent. Sounds like he has a good foundation!
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:03 AM   #8
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There is an app you can buy (its expensive) to put on your sons phone that will tell you where he is, how fast he is driving, if he makes any sudden turns, accelerations or hard braking. Some people may think that's unethical but I say if its your car you can do whatever you want and if he doesn't like it he doesn't have to drive.

We thought about it but didnt buy it. Our son doesnt drive many places alone besides school which is 2 miles away and he drives pretty well, at least when we are with him.
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:11 AM   #9
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No advice, we are well pass that time, but don't you wish the self driving car was owned by everyone!

Thought on devices that track driving. Better to have one and never need it than to not and wish you had. Verizon is advertising one that plugs in too the car's maintenance port. There are several others, check Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/MotoSafety-MPV...driver+monitor
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:16 AM   #10
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Our boys both got their temp licenses at 15 1/2. The older one did not want to get his license, the whole thing was just too scary for him (weird, I know). He took the driver's training with a teacher at 18 when his younger brother took the classes. The younger brother got his license first, the older one got his license at 22 after he graduated from college. Before that I already had replaced my car and had kept the older car hoping that SOMEBODY would get a license and I could give them the car. It went to the younger one since he got his license first.

For the older one reality kicked in when he got his full time career job after college graduation. He got serious about practicing driving and passing the tests. It took him 3 tries (Oy vay, talk about gray hair!) but he did it and a few months later bought his first car. He's a fine driver and responsible adult.
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:33 AM   #11
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I'm reading this thread with a lot of trepidation. I have a 15 year old and 13 year old. The 15 year old asked about getting his permit this coming summer (when he'll be 15.5). I told him it would happen only if he has excellent grades and a good attitude.

Sure it's a pain to drive him everywhere - but he just doesn't seem responsible enough.
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:53 AM   #12
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Our fourth just got their licence a few weeks ago. It is certainly a trying time. And can be an expensive one. Times have changed and insurance is astronomical for kids compared to when I grew up. Our 22 year old son started with a motorcycle and I suspect it made him a much better driver having to be much more aware and of course having no way to text or talk while driving. He has never had any accidents other than laying the bike down now and then. The benefits of buying a twice used 300cc bike. Two daughters 20 and 18 are not as good and have a tendency to have very low-velocity parking lot incidents. It seems that raised curbs and light standards are very hazardous. Have yet to have an accident involving another car and hopefully will get over this awkward stage soon. Younger son has just finished his drivers ed and seems like he will be ok but it's tough out there. Roads are pretty congested and lots of distracted drivers. Lots of lessons. I was driving my younger son to hockey a couple years ago and a car with 4 young girls in it crossed the centre line on a residential street as they passed a group of boys on the sidewalk. Hit the oncoming car two in front of us corner to corner and spun both cars 180 degrees. As well, two of my 23 year old students were killed late one night when the driver lost control on a curve and they hit a telephone pole. The driver had had a FB picture post of his speedometer at 110 mph. He was driving the friend's car. Tragic loss. Good luck to all of us!
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Old 12-24-2015, 11:05 AM   #13
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When our boys went through the right of passage of having a driver's license, one rule, among many, was that they were not permitted to have any passengers - friends - in the car with them. While this sounds pretty draconian, the distractions provided by their buddies was something we were not willing to accept. This lasted for the first full year of driving. I am confident this rule actually provided some relief for each of them, as they did not become the driver of choice to and from parties.
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Old 12-24-2015, 11:29 AM   #14
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I bought a Trackimo which was put in the car in an unknown location but which my son was aware I had on the car. I just told him I had GPS installed and could watch the car from the internet. It needed to be charged every other day for about an hour but other than that it would update the location and speed (I set every 15 minutes) which is good enough to know if they are following the rudimentary rules of the road and going where they say.

It has an app that can be looked at on a phone or a PC and gives a GPS location, speed and history, so you can check at the end of the day the location of where and how fast the car went, worked pretty well in keeping son from driving too fast.
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Old 12-24-2015, 11:37 AM   #15
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For 15-16 year olds: This year (and every year) is a good time to "ramp up" the responsibilities. Some extra chores for the benefit of the family are in order. These chores don't earn driving - but not doing them can "un-earn" driving! With increased age should come increased responsibilities.

Get creative. This is not just about raking the yard. Maybe it's taking over bill-paying (under your supervision). That should be an eye-opener.

Are there things you are still doing for your teen(s)? Waking them up? Doing their laundry? Fixing their school lunches? You need to stop it. At least that's what a lot of the experts say... that at each age or stage, kids should be doing for themselves every task that they are capable of doing.

How they handle this new stage with the attendant responsibilities gives you some insight into how they will handle the responsibility of driving.

Just some thoughts. YMMV (pun intended).
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Old 12-24-2015, 12:19 PM   #16
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Brings back one of Reagan's best quotes: 'Trust but Verify'
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Old 12-24-2015, 01:19 PM   #17
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Sheesh. No kids, but I know I used the parent's cars before I had a license - remember putting one in a ditch and popping the tire. As a helpful and observant son I retrieved the car and changed the pair of tires to another set that was at the house. before they got home. blink blink

The gal had no problem disconnecting the odometer before her cruises and refilling the gas tank an appropriate amount. She's said it was a point of honor for her to exceed 100mph when she took the car ('56 210 wagon). Since we've been restoring the car I know the frame was tweaked and suspect jumping it in the Joshua Tree Monument may have had something to do with it.

Point is, kids are pretty likely to know about the OBD port and may have the will to find a GPS tracker. Best of luck, but..
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Old 12-24-2015, 01:34 PM   #18
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I wonder if the driving instructor you used is legitimate. Per the PA website, an under 18 age driver must have his learner's permit for a minimum of six months and you, as the parent, must certify that the candidate has had 65 hours of road experience, to include driving at night and in inclement weather.

I live in PA and taught my older son to drive and currently teaching my 17 year old. The younger hasn't shown much interest so it'll take him a full year to get his license. As others have said, you must go into this insuring that your son understands it is a privilege and that you set the boundaries until he is 18. And one of the forms you were required to sign gives you the full right to have his license revoked. (See http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Public/DV...rm/DL-100A.pdf)

I hope you didn't cut him any slack for being late. One sign of being responsible and using good judgement is planning ahead. For my boys, if they are running late, I expect a timely phone call as a minimum. He's had is warning, next time there should be consequences.

I can't find the link, but statistically speaking, the longer teens wait to start driving, the probability of an accident in the first year drops dramatically. My older one was a 17.5 when finally got his license, the younger one will be about the same. Of course, ever since they were 12 we've told them that they can get a license at 18 or when they become Eagle Scouts. Due to the seasonal timing, they actually got their learner's permit when they had an approved project planned.

BTW, I'm 66 in two days, one can't stop being a Dad until at least college age.
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Old 12-24-2015, 01:43 PM   #19
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When our boys went through the right of passage of having a driver's license, one rule, among many, was that they were not permitted to have any passengers - friends - in the car with them. While this sounds pretty draconian, the distractions provided by their buddies was something we were not willing to accept. This lasted for the first full year of driving. I am confident this rule actually provided some relief for each of them, as they did not become the driver of choice to and from parties.
I think this is a great idea! Pretty much what we did too. Except for a few special occasions where he could pick up only his girlfriend to/from school function.....and nowhere else, with curfew.
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Old 12-24-2015, 01:45 PM   #20
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I hope you didn't cut him any slack for being late. One sign of being responsible and using good judgement is planning ahead. For my boys, if they are running late, I expect a timely phone call as a minimum. He's had is warning, next time there should be consequences....
This stood out to me the most. Good luck.

I loved hearing DS say "My mom will kill me if I...." (Didn't let her know I was running late, in this case) as a teenager, especially once cars became involved. That phrase kept him out of a lot of trouble as he could just blame me for not doing something questionable. He still managed to get into trouble but not too bad and he (and his rabblerousing friends) are still very close to me.
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