I am teaching my oldest son, Matthew, how to drive. He’s 15-years-old and is preparing for his learner’s permit. Over the past few months I have gradually let him drive on back roads more and more often.
Yesterday, we went to the empty student parking lot at Boone High School in Orlando – that’s where he goes to school. We took Carey’s old Honda because it’s easier to drive than the Durango for a beginner. I let Matthew drive solo around the parking lot and we worked on parking for about 45 minutes.
The gas was low in the car and traffic was light, so I let Matthew drive the car from the high school to the 7/11 down the street. It’s all back roads, with a speed limit of 25-miles-per-hour the entire way.
He did great. He listened well. Drove responsibly. I was impressed and started feeling confident about his ability to drive.
After we pumped gas, I drove down Orange Avenue, a major road, towards the house. Once we entered the residential neighborhood again, I swapped with Matthew and let him behind the wheel. The goal was to let him drive the rest of the way home.
And again, he did great. There was a bicyclist who was weaving all over the road and Matthew was calm and collected – he managed to work his way around the cyclist with no issues.
Then we pulled into the driveway. Matthew, being cautious, left too much distance between the Honda and the Durango. I told him to creep the car up just a little. The car started inching forward slowly.
Before I had a chance to say anything, the car leaped forward and slammed into the back of the Durango.
Matthew was just as shocked as I was. I very quietly told him to put the car in reverse and back the car up a little. He was shaking now – he was so upset. He managed to back the car up, put it in park, and get out before he started getting so upset that he was crying.
He very apologetically told me he thought his foot had been on the brake and not the accelerator. He was afraid I was going to be mad, but I was just laughing. He wasn’t sure how to handle my humor and later told me he didn’t understand how I can get so upset when he loses his cell phone or drops it in the toilet and yet laugh off this incident.
He doesn’t understand that as a father I get annoyed when he costs me money because of his lack of attention to detail but I have no problems with accidents as I teach him to drive. But that’s a story for another day.
Here’s a picture of the damage. The Durango is completely unharmed – Matthew smacked into the towing hitch. The Honda has some bumper damage – not that much, but enough that it has to get fixed.
Matthew got a healthy dose of respect for his vehicle knocked into him, but still I would stay away from Orlando for a while if I were you. Beware drivers!
Relatively cheap lesson in automobile respect… think what else could happen. My son just had a little fender bender too. I think its important to have a little accident as early as possible in their driving careers so they understand that it can happen to them.