When Teenage Drivers Attack

Quick quiz: At a four-way stop, who has the right of way? This guy.
My son is learning how to drive. It would be much funnier if I could tell you stories about him driving on the wrong side of the road, careening into telephone poles, mowing down old ladies or forgetting to adjust his mirrors.

But no, he’s doing all he can to stay out of his mom’s blog. So he’s doing a darn good job of driving.

I’m really proud of him. He’s learned a lot from watching me drive. When he was 3-years-old and playing with Matchbox cars, he would have his one car say to the other car, “You idiot!”  My older son claims he got this from me. I have no idea what either of them is talking about.

In the ensuing 14 years, my son has picked up more from me than just suburban mom road rage. He’s learned a lot of other good stuff. Like complaining about Kentucky drivers who never use their turn signals. And complaining about the long red lights in Lexington. And complaining about tailgaters by driving reallllllly sloooooooooowly just to tick them off further.

I don’t want to scare you, but I’ve got to share this thought, just to spread the panic. Take the size of your town or your big neighborhood, your school district, whatever, and think about how many high school sophomores there are in your high school. There are, what, 200? 300? Maybe 500? If there are 365 days in a year, then you can figure that somewhere around, oh, say, every single day, there’s a kid who lives near you that is turning 16 and getting his driver’s permit. Which means that roughly around every single day there’s a kid getting behind the wheel for the first time, his mother clutching the dashboard next to him, her foot firmly planted on the invisible passenger-side brake pedal, her eyes squinted and her mouth in a large “O” shape. If the windows were open you’d hear some shrieks and squeals, a couple of “Woah! Woah!”s and maybe some “Agghhhhhckckckckk!”s

Makes you want to stay home, doesn’t it? To avoid being on the road with that kid, yes. But also to avoid being in any checkout lines with that mom.

A couple other questions that come to mind while we’re on this subject: Why are there not more accidents involving high school students? Where can I get a Student Driver sign to put on the top of my car? And how about those driver training instructors? What are there nerves made of – Reardon metal?

I keep trying to tell myself that since the caveman invented the wheel, there have been teenagers who learned to drive and lived through it. Although in caveman days, right after getting their learner’s permits, the teenagers died of old age.

But the Fitzpatricks will survive another teenage boy driver. We’ll pay the insurance, we’ll hand over the car keys, we’ll make the sign of the cross when they leave the house.

And while they’re out on the road, we’ll stay home.