Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hyperbole: The Sequel

Yes, this evening Annie was the proud recipient of her driving permit. The school distributes these at a parent and teen driver meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to scare the bleep out of both the parent and the driver. It succeeded, at least in this household.

First the new superintendent, Attila (truly), spewed out a bunch of facts, such as 99% of teens die while driving a motor vehicle, 99.9% of teens will drive like maniacs, so just sell your soul to the devil now to pay for both the horrible talk therapy you'll need to recover from this experience and the physical therapy those few children who survive will need.

Maybe he wasn't quite that hyperbolic. Perhaps that's just left over from the previous blog. I think the superintendent really said something like the vast majority of teens have at least 2 accidents in the first three years of driving and driving is the biggest killer of teens.

This was after the lovely film clips that were showing while we all walked into the auditorium of kids who had been in teen car accidents: a girl who could no longer smile, a stomach-wrenching shot of a compound leg fracture before it had been set, and a severely brain damaged young man.

The content of the meeting was actually pretty decent. I thought there was a fair amount of practical advice. And it was good to know that we (parent, teachers, and student driver) are all going to work together to help teach our kids to drive. Some of the practical advice was a bit too graphically practical for my taste, though. For example, he recommended keeping a parent's hand on the wheel for the first few weeks, while the other hand rests lightly on the parking brake.

While the teen is driving.

Because we don't have a brake on our side of the car.

So I guess he's thinking that we're going to need a brake on the passenger side of the car.

Annie the Anxious really didn't need any of this sobering stuff, though perhaps others did. She asked, upon leaving school, what she was supposed to do when (not if) she has a panic attack while driving. We immediately agreed upon the following course of action: pull over and stop driving. I then reassured her that virtually everyone learns how to drive, even the most anxious of people, and few of them have panic attacks while at the wheel.

Kidding aside, I think she really will be a fine driver. I guess I think it would've been nice if she could've started out not terrified before she even sets foot on an accelerator or brake, though.



Blogger Suna said...

Letting my older son drive around Austin, Texas in my precious, not-yet-paid-for car has really been scary to me. So far, just one tiny little bump the first week he learned to drive the manual transmission. Otherwise, OK. But, heck, I am scared to drive on some of the roads around here myself. And he has no sense of direction!

So, I am full of understanding right now. Yeah, he may be a good driver, but the rest of those folks are my big concern!

9:54 AM  

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