Thursday, April 15, 2010

Learner Drivers + Peak Hour Traffic = ???

Today I woke up feeling faintly nauseated. It's a feeling I know really well - it's a nervous nausea. I couldn't work out why I should be feeling nervous for some time. And then I realised that today I was going to take Luke into school in the city in peak hour traffic. I HATE peak hour traffic at the best of times but today's trip had an extra twist. I was NOT driving - my 16 year old learner-driver was.

I would like to write a disclaimer at this point. Under no circumstances could Luke be considered a bad driver. He is cautious and alert and sensible. The problem is me! I am a BAD passenger. My husband hates driving if I'm in the passenger seat. He hates when I gasp and try to apply my imaginary brake. Generally I do the driving. I've had to be instructor for the previous two learner drivers so you'd think by the third I'd be really good at it. I'm not! In fact I think I'm worse.

So poor Luke had to put up with his neurotic mother in the passenger seat. I tried to get in a zen-like state with my mantra - "We'll be fine. We'll be fine" That worked for about five minutes until Luke oversteered while turning a corner and almost ran us into the gutter. (He really is a good driver - he was just trying to get around the corner a little fast) I nearly popped a quadriceps trying to apply that imaginary brake. Luckily I was wearing a skirt so Luke didn't see the muscles straining but I'm sure he picked up the nervous tension.

Trying to be calm was pretty much over for me at that point but all attempts at keeping myself together faded when we were passed by a huge semi hauling a trailer that was a mite too close to my window. Harrowing would be an appropriate descriptor. Thank goodness there was only five more minutes driving. We reached school, he handed back the keys and my nerves dissolved.

I think I have serious control issues.


  1. I tell my son that we will let him have his driver's license when he is 32 or 33. He will be 15 in this year.
    I am not a controlling person but in a car I need to be behind the wheel. I always feel my dh brakes too late, does not change lanes to get to the exit soon enough, drives too fast, accelerates too hard... I learned to keep quiet but I really, really wish I had my own brake and my own steering wheel when he is driving.
    So what I am trying to say is that I so totally understand what you are going through.

  2. I dread the day my children (11, 10, 6)get behind a wheel. You are brave. Hard to let the apron strings out even an inch. Thanks for commenting my my blog. I'm learning that being authentic is the #1 priority. Good luck with the new - probably great - driver.

  3. People should have the number of kids they can sanely teach to drive. Good luck!

  4. I am an awful passenger...considering I'm generally a pretty calm person. Put me in the passenger seat and that disolves...I'm braking and tapping the dashboard and pointing at the car in front...sigh. Okay, I am definitely much better now than I used to be (ask my husband and kids). But I feel for you...

  5. Hey, I have an imaginary brake too! My poor hubby. Good luck!

  6. You'll eventually miss days like that...


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