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Teaching Your Teen How to Drive Safely? Parents Can Cling to Humor at Every Turn

Before I became a parent, I heard all about (and sometimes witnessed first hand) the horror of a terrible-two’s tantrum in the middle of Target. I also heard potty training tales that made me grimace and emit sounds like eeewww. What no one warned me about was that one day I’d be gripping the sides of the passenger seat of a four thousand pound moving vehicle while my newly permitted teen driver goes from zero to sixty faster than they hurled their poopy diaper like an Olympian shot-put athlete. 

For all you parents like me who need some support and a paper bag to control your hyperventilation as you teach your teens to drive, I present you with some signs that belong next to actual road signs.

STOP
Stop Slamming on Your Imaginary Brake

This sign would have been really helpful when I was teaching my twin teens to drive. Now I need to replace the car floor mat. I pressed down my foot so hard and so frequently that I wore away the fabric and rendered the mat useless, much like my imaginary brake. At the very least, seeing this sign could have saved me twenty dollars. Once you add in my visit to the doctor for my foot sprain, the costs really add up. I’m just saying—this sign could save lives, or at least some feet and floor mats.

DANGER
You Are Going to Pass Out If You Don’t Breathe

Your body has transitioned into survival mode—you know, that whole flight or fight response thing you learned about in high school. You want to “flight” right out of the car, but you can’t because you’re strapped in with a seatbelt and you have zero control over what happens next. You know the sidewalk is way too close to the car, and you’re fully aware you’re in the “death seat” and why it’s earned that lovely title. But listen, it’s really important to breathe—because, if you pass out, you’ll distract your teen driver and they’ll end up crashing.

SLOW
You Need to Calm Yourself

I’m not sure if my twin teens have watched too many high-speed chase movies or played too many video games like Mario Kart or Rocket League, but both of them try to accelerate from zero to sixty in less than two seconds. I feel like I need to find some calming activities for them, like reading or yoga. Better yet, buy myself a spa gift certificate to help calm me down.

U-TURN
It’s Okay to Go Home

Most roller coaster rides are less than two minutes long because if the ride were any longer, you’d probably die of a heart attack or stroke from pure fear. So, if you’ve somehow managed to survive more than five minutes in the passenger seat while your teen is learning to drive the car, it’s okay to call it a day and go home. You have your doubts about their driving skills. I get it. Afterall, this is the same kid who can’t seem to figure out how to pick up their wet towel from the floor and hang it. Now you’re supposed to trust them to stop in time so they don’t hit that pedestrian? I’m just not buying it—are you?

Everything mentioned above is, of course, merely hypothetical—I swear—because teaching our teens to drive is not something we openly talk about. So, if you’re wondering why I got a new floor mat, it’s because there was a great deal on floor mats. There’s always a great deal on floor mats. You should check it out because I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you’ll need one. 

Cheryl Maguire

Cheryl Maguire holds a Master of Counseling Psychology degree. She is married and is the mother of twins and a daughter. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, Parents Magazine, AARP, Healthline, Your Teen Magazine and many other publications. She is a professional member of ASJA. You can find her at Twitter @CherylMaguire05

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