A parent’s angst upon turning over the keys

You just can’t be an Uber rider forever; eventually you need a good used car

Photo by Metro Service

■ By Richard Perry / Contributed

Greetings from the Hemet Car Guy!

Our youngest child Dannie has just turned 18. With living at home and having unlimited access to an Uber app, it’s no wonder she wasn’t motivated to get her license at 16 as many of us did. I must say it’s getting expensive. So OK, yes—I bought her a good used car.
For many teens, getting a driver’s license is an exciting experience. Just think about it! No more trying to catch a ride to the mall or waiting around for your parents to pick you up after practice. Once you have your California driver’s license in hand, those days are long gone.

The age requirements for driving, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, are as follows:

• 14 years old: One may be eligible for a junior permit if you can prove a hardship.
• 15 1/2 years old: Must take driver’s education in order to get a learner’s permit.
• 16 years old: Eligible for a provisional license (with completion of driver education).
• 17 1/2 years old: May apply for a provisional permit without taking driver’s education.
• 18 years and older: Allowed to apply for a driver’s license without getting a learner’s permit.

Now for 18 year old Dannie, the only thing is… can she drive? “Heck, how hard can that be? She drives the golf cart with no problem!” is my standard joke to the rest of the family.
“Hey Dannie let’s go for a drive!”
I must say, it was a bit difficult. She needs practice, and I’m trying to do my best to not make her nervous by pushing down on the imaginary brake invisibly situated on the passenger side.
Wow! There is so much for young people to be aware of.

Safety Considerations
Someone who is just learning to drive has an awful lot to remember. On top of remembering all the fundamentals of what pedals to use, turn signal function, and shifting gears, etc., there are also the numerous road rules to consider. (Should I have her take driving classes? Maybe an instructor— instead of Dad—would be better at pointing out all the important things there are to remember.)

Financial Considerations
Most car insurance companies offer incentives for taking driving classes. A student who passes the program—besides Dad’s—will be able to take advantage of special discounts not otherwise available to new drivers. I feel that it may also make it easier to get insurance coverage in the first place.
Another reason for 16-year-old youths to take driving classes is that students who complete these courses tend to feel a greater sense of confidence and personal responsibility once they’ve passed the course, especially when it leads to their securing a driver’s license. However, Dannie is 18.
Obviously there are other reasons why driving classes are a good idea. So maybe it’s time to start thinking about my youngest learning to drive. Funny, but I don’t remember being this skittish with her older brother and sisters.
I’m told there are plenty of online resources, not only written tests, but other aids that can help you find the best driving classes in your area. You’ll want to find options that best fit your needs as well as those of your student driver, including schedule.
For my part, maybe I just need to remain calm, and give her time. After all, our other kids did just fine.

Good Driving!


Richard Perry is the Hemet Car Guy and owner of VIP Autos 4291 Florida Ave., Hemet. For more information, visit www.hemetcarguy.info.

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