Driver’s Ed at Last

Tomas is coming up on his seventeenth birthday, but COVID derailed his driving plans until just last night. He had been planning on signing up for driver’s ed right about when COVID struck, and then . . . 2020 happened. He got on the waiting list for the program, and they just barely caught up with him.

It’s interesting to see how Maine approaches driver’s ed differently than Pennsylvania, where I got my license. He has to get ready for a written exam at the beginning of May. Once he’s passed that and taken the driving course as well as had some online instruction, he’ll have 6 months to get 70 hours of driving practice in with his parents. (10 hours of that has to be at night.) Then he’ll be eligible to take the road test. So the earliest he’ll be able to have his license at this point is the beginning of November.

It’s been so long ago that I got my license that I’ve forgotten a lot of what I had to do. I remember going to a driver’s ed course at the middle school, but as I recall, that was mainly because if you did that, then you qualified for reduced insurance rates? Something like that. I remember practicing driving with my mom and about giving her a heart attack multiple times, but I’m almost sure I didn’t do anywhere near 70 hours of practice before I went in for my road test. (I passed that my first time. The trickiest part was parallel parking, but I somehow fumbled my way through it.)

I also found out yesterday about these miraculous apps you can have installed on your kids’ phones. They’ll track how fast they’re actually going when they’re driving. That might strike some people as a bit too Orwellian, but I remember driving at 16, and I remember some of the idiotic things I did. Driving too fast was definitely one of them. Fast enough that I remember thinking, “This is way too fast. I shouldn’t do this again.” If a sixteen year old brain can recognize that, you can only imagine how fast I was going. At night. On narrow Pennsylvania roads.


So we’ll almost definitely be getting that app for Tomas’s phone once he can drive.

In any case, it’s exciting to see him get to this point. Having another driver in the house will make a lot of things much, much easier, even if we’re not planning on getting a third car. (Because expensive, and also because by the time he’s actually driving, he’ll have less than a year before he’s off. Any other parents out there have any tips on what to do to prepare for a new driver?


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