"I want to learn to drive!" Ugh!!!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son wants to take driver's ed. What are your thoughts if you have a spectrum kid? I think he can learn to drive and I want him to, but I was thinking 18. First off, insurance for boys is sky-high. Secondly...I don't really know...lol. He's such a rule follower that I know he won't speed and he certainly won't do drugs or drink and drive...but he does tend to get nervous even when *I'm* driving...lol. Maybe it's my driving???:surprise: Well, I've never had an accident! But still...when is the right time to give a kid a license? Need some feedback.
  2. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Oh boy! I don't know. I suspect my daughter won't be ready to drive until she is 35!!! lol

    You know your child best. Why don't you just start out with a permit and only allow him to drive with you in the car. That way you can feel it out and see how he does. Start out in a huge parking lot, when it is empty of course!! :) He might just surprise you. And hopefully he won't want to try out for Nascar!!!

    Good luck. :)
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I don't know the answer...but I have been contemplating the question myself. My 13 year old difficult child is starting to talk about all the fantastic things she is going to do as soon as she has her drivers license. Yikes! I can't even trust her with a pair of scissors...much less a car. I have been debating about whether to start indicating that she'd best not get her hopes up vs ignoring it and saying nothing. At this point--I definitely cannot see taking her for a learner's permit anytime soon. Age has so little to do with maturity.
  4. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    My oldest got his temps the day he turned 15 1/2 and license the day he had his temps long enough. But I trusted him completely, and he was and is a very safe and good driver - had only one speeding ticket so far (he'll be 22 in March) and that one was a "fluke" - going down a large hill in my car instead of his truck.

    My youngest will be 18 in March and while he's gotten his temps twice, he really has no desire to drive, and I have no desire to push him. He knows himself best, and if he thinks he's not ready, I agree. Not that I think he'll be unsafe, but just absent minded and forget to, oh, say keep his foot on the brake at a light or something.
  5. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Does he want this for himself or is he caught up in his classmates talking about it? If everyone around him is excited about learning, he might just want to learn to feel part of the crowd?

    Is there a cost to your driver's ed? If so, you can stall while he earns the money to pay for it (extra chores to show his growing responsibility to handle driving)?

    You do know him best. You might want to go to the library and borrow a driver's ed manual (or purchase from department of transportation) and let him look through what the class will cover. You two can then decide if he is ready then?

    Good luck!
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Move to Australia. Here, you have to be 16 before you can get a Learner's Permit. We don't have Driver's Ed as a school subject. YOu can't get a Learner's Permit unless you pass a computer test showing you know the road rules. And to get your Driver's Licence you have to be at least 17, pass the computer test and also pass a very stringent practical test. You also have to notch up 150 hours experience behind the wheel, according to the log book you must keep. Your instructor should sign off as you achieve competence in various areas of expertise when it comes to driving. Ie you have to be signed off in reverse parking, in changing gear, in hill starts, in angle parking, in correct use of indicators and lights, in breakdown procedure, and so on.

    Get through that gauntlet and you get your red Ps. The first provisional licence. A year's probation, on red Ps. No alcohol consumption permitted (go easy even on cough mixture) and any accidents will lose you your licence. Then you do another computer test and get your green Ps. Another two years of no drinking AT ALL (zero blood alcohol or don't drive) but a little more leeway if you have a minor accident.

    difficult child 1 knew he would be a liability behind the wheel and chose to not drive. Then when he was 22, he decided he perhaps could now give it a go. He's just gone onto his green Ps, after having red Ps for a year. daughter in law has her full licence (blacks). After you've had black licence for a few years you can choose which grade of licence to get. husband & I each have gold, which also means we've been driving for over 10 years with no accidents or loss of points.

    difficult child 1 knows he can't get his Ls until he is 16. easy child 2/difficult child 2 got her Ls at 17, got her Ps at 18. easy child got her red Ps at 17.

    It's not easy if the age is lower because frankly, I don't think they have the maturity, the capability to multi-task or the commonsense (often) to do this well and safely.

    All I can suggest is let him, but set strong conditions that he must meet. If he wants to drive your car, he needs to meet your standards.

    Learning to drive a car is a rite of passage, kids feel it's another important stage in being accepted as an adult. The trouble is, it's far more serious than that.

    Here in Australia, the only kids younger than 16 behind the wheel (even at 16, with a fully licensed driver beside them) are driving on private property, because they're farm kids with "paddock basher" vehicles. And they're talking about possibly raising the age.

  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I don't know how far along the spectrum your difficult child is. I have a friend who is 18 and learned to drive at 16. He is VERY stereotypically Aspie--the stare, the accent, ripping up paper, etc. And he is a good driver. He never speeds. :)
    He weaned himself off of his stimulants (don't know what else he was on) and is completely medication-free.

    My son is more argumentative than this kid is, and thinks he knows it all. That is problematic.
    Other than that, he will follow the rules of the road. But at this point, as a pre-teen, he is still very ADHD.
    Still, I'm looking forward to teaching him to drive. He has watched his older sister learn, and has heard us repeat, "Early permit, late license. The more practice, the better."
    So I think he's going to be okay.

    Don't know if that helps you at all ... I think you'll get a variety of opinions here! :)
  8. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    MWM, my difficult child drives and does well.

    We took difficult child to the rehab center and had him evaluated by the staff that evaluates brain injured or stroke folks. Before we proceeded I wanted to make sure that he had the decision making abilities to be safe. It was a rigorous evaluation. They told me he could do it but it would take a long time to master the skills. He had lessons for about a year before he got his license.

    When I asked difficult child if he wanted to learn to drive. He asked "why? Isn't that what you do?" I told him I wanted him to be as close as he could to his peer group.
    He has not had an accident other than the first week and he was totally without fault. TG! Over the years he has driven quite a good distance. He has to use GPS so that he isn't stressed about directions. He does ok and is one of the things that helped me feel he could learn.

    Having your difficult child get a driver's license doesn't mean he has to drive a car or get insurance. It is one more chance for him to achieve something he wants to achieve. I would never hold them back if they have a desire. (and he has the skills)
    If he wants to drive, he will have to get a job to pay for the insurance if you are unable or don't feel you should pay for his insurance. It will be the carrot for him to move forward.
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I suppose it would depend on your son. I mean there are pcs who would make me nervous to drive at 16. lol

    Why not let him try? Does he get a driver's ed course where there is a teacher who takes him out driving? I mean, if he's too bad, they won't let him pass, and you don't have to be the bad guy. :)

    Now picture yourself with a legally blind kid with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) who wants to drive. lol
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the tidbits, guys. Lucas is high functioning. And he's such a rule follower, he'll never speed or break the law. I'm leaning toward next year for him as insurance is just darn expensive for boys and the year after this one he can work and help pay. But I want to take him in parking lots and see how he does. Or, rather, I want HUB to go in parking lots with him...hey, I'm no hero ;)
  11. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    That might be exactly the reason to let him take Driver's Education: those cars are equipped with brakes on the passenger side, just in case.

  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I like your idea, Fran, to get your son evaluated.

    difficult child 1 is high-functioning, extremely. And a rule-follower. His problem is that he ias difficulty multi=tasking, which is a big problem with the upredictabilitty that can happen when you're driving. For example, he had a nasty accident the week before Christmas. It as an unseasonal wet day (OK, these days ANY really wet day in Sydney seems to be unseasonal!) plus he was driving tired, I suspect. He IS a rule followr in the extreme, but was distracted to the point that he just didn't see that the light had changed to red, so he ran a red light and t-boned a BMW.

    Then later that day, he discovered that he didn't have the insurance he thought he had, so he will be up for the entire repair costs to the BMW. Not good.

    It wasn't a case of him thinking, "The light has only just changed; I think I can slide through," he really hadn't realised it had changed. I suspect there was just too much going on. He wasn't speeding, or he and the other driver would have been injured.

    Where we felt he was justified in giving things a go at last, was his increased capability with computer games. To a certain extent driving is like playing a computer game over and over (a very sophisticated computer game!). A lot of the actions become automatic, but based on the evidence coming in through your eyes, your fingertips, your ears, all processed by your brain.

    MwM, the parking lots idea is a really good one, it's what husband did with our kids. We have a really good area where we can go, it's behind our village hall. WHen there is nothing on in the hall there are no cars parked there. However, there ARE big bins. Our big bins are plastic and on two wheels. It's no big deal to nudge them with a car (especially if they're empty). Alternatively, we take down our own household plastic bins in the back of the car and set them up. What we do as driver instructors - we mark out a line which is the kerb. We then put one bin in front against the kerb (a car width out) and the next one behind, with a parking space between. The student then has to learn to reverse park, using the bins as the back corner of the front car, and the front corner of the back car. We also teach them to use their mirrors.

    Other good training exercises are reversing for a distance using the rear vision mirrors (the middle one or both side ones) as well as reversing while looking over your shoulder. We make it s little more complicated by using witches hats (if we can get some) to make them navigate a curved path.

    Kids in Australia have to do their test in a manual car, if they want to be permitted to drive a manual after they get teir licence. Otherwise their licence will be endorsed "automatic only". So bring in a manual car and you have a lot more nasty stuff they have to learn. Hill starts, slipping the clutch, reverse parking on a hill (facing either direction) and push starting when the starter's not working well. An early lesson from husband involves driving the car as smoothly and SLOWLY as possible, a foot an hour sort of speed. It involves learning really, really good clutch control. We do this in our (level) driveway, which canscare the crud out of our kids because they're scared they'll hit the wrong pedal and race up the driveway. It makes them a lot more careful. I remember him teaching tis to easy child in mother in law's old house which had a very steep driveway. She had to hold the car on the hill, using the clutch, then begin to ease the car slightly forward, again using the clutch. Doing it without the handbrake really made her work hard.

    A kid who can play computer games really well has the potential to be a good driver. A Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid has the likelihood of knowing the road rules better than the examiner, and will never knowingly break the rules; not and feel happy about it.

    We were able to get our hands on some computer games which were designed around our road rules. One of these games was produced by our NRMA and was called "Shift". It was designed as a refresher course in road rules (and how complex a situation can be) for new drivers. If you can't find something similar, maybe you could track down the Aussie ones? But surely there should be something in your state. Or if there isn't, see if your amazing son can design one in the time he needs to spend waiting for the insurance to be more sensibly affordable. Lucas is a game-head like my boys, isn't he? Doing something like that would drill him in the rules, would give him something practical to work on and in the event he succeeds, would make enough money to keep you in a style to which we all would like to become accustomed! Then insurance costs needn't be the issue.

    OK, maybe a little light humour here, but stranger things have happened.

  13. Rotsne

    Rotsne Banned

    Driving is a very serious thing. Here it is a very long and expensive process, because it include mandatory CPR-training, time on a race track, both a written and a behind-the-wheel test.

    So parents want to be very sure that their children are able to drive. The punishment is very severe if they end up in an accident even without alcohol in their blood. A driver got 60 days and 1.100 dollars in fine for killing to young men on a bicycle and leaving them in a panic. If he had remained, other cases show that he had got away with the fine only.

    Thats one of the reasons we have the 16 year limit when it comes to alcohol, so some of those who are unable to drive due to their consumption habbits, are sorted off by their parents.

    We don't have an very easy access to weapons, so cars are the major killer in our society and while mobility comes with an accepted cost, which are lives lost there is no reason to overdo it.

    So being placed in your shoes, I would certainly try to have him evaluated by professionals and if necessary use this process to stall him so he is older before he ends up being the wheels.

    I know that I come from another culture, but personally I don't believe that 16 year olds are mature enough to drive a car. In some cases even 18 year olds are too young. This year all Europe have decided that drivers of lorries over a certain limit have to be at least 21 years. We have a similar system with motorcycles where 2 years with an ordinary licens is needed before a license to larger bikes can be taken.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks again for all the great advice. I am going to have him evaluated again and have them tell me what they think. My opinion is that he can drive and will be able to do a decent job---but I'm far more protective of THIS child than all my other ones put together! I agree that 16 is young. I waited until 18. But my easy child daughter will no doubt want and get her license at 16. I am really going to talk to hub and mull over this one. We have gone around and around on "when should Lucas drive?" Fortunately, drinking and driving is not an issue for Lucas. In his world of rigid rules, he won't drink at all, let alone drink and drive and he will never even try drugs. That's just how Lucas is. However, I do want to make sure he can multi-task enough to drive. It won't kill him to wait a little longer.
    As usual, you are all so wise. A big thanks!
  15. Rotsne

    Rotsne Banned

    A question:

    Do you have special race tracks where they sell driving courses over there?

    Time on a racetrack has become a mandatory part of the drivers education here in Denmark because a lot of the teens "learned" how to drive on a computer or a playstation, so in order to give them a touch of reality they learn about how Newtons law and the law of gravity affects them when driving. Once out in traffic we know they also would speed if they try to keep up with the other drivers and they are not as experienced so the risk of a crash is higher.

    Normally the courses provide a reinforced car and helmet, but you can also come in our own car. (However, if you crash you have to bear the costs of a repair.)

    Even experienced drivers can benefit from such a course and many firms give them as bonus to some of their drivers.

    If the evaluation gives him OK to drive, I would recommend that he takes such a course.
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That's a good suggestion, Rotsne. We have that option here as an advanced driving course, available for new drivers especially. PLus, in an attempt to get idiot kids off te road (they race their cars in public streets and kill people) the racetracks have been opened up for SAFE drag racing. It still needs a lot of work, though.

    I doubt that Lucas is likely to be a problem in that respect. However, husband did the advanced racetrack defensive driving course back when he was a new driver, they taught him how to get out of a skid, for example, as well as other driver awareness things. Really good stuff.

  17. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I had this conversation with a neighbor man. He said his kids will not get their license until they were 18. (granted...easy child's). He says they will be more responsible.

    My argument is (my easy child had his license at 16) so, good drivers come from experience. My opinion. Their insight and reaction and defensive driving looking for the "what if's" that comes with experience not necessarily age. If my son gets his license at age 16 and your child at age 18, I believe my child will be a better driver when he is 18. He will have two more years experience than your child.

    Insurance - goes down when they turn 25 or get married. Good grades help. easy child had ONE speeding ticket in his life. Going to college to take entrance exams. Saw the cop on the overpass but didn't think he would see him or was close enough (???duh??) Caught going 93 in a 65 WITH cruise control on. (he told me that) That ONE ticket had his license suspended for 6 months. I never had a ticket. husband had minor tickets ..slowly speeding (is that possible) Anyway when easy child (a college student) got his license back my insurance company dropped me. Even though he didn't even live at home. He was considered an occassional driver.
    My oldest easy child took drivers ed at age 15, then his temps test at 15.5. He drove with me until he turned 16. He wanted to wear those baggy pants. I told him the people at DMV won't like that. So he dressed normal. May be a coincedence, but he passed. the boy behind him with baggy jeans and colored hair failed.

    difficult child has been getting post cards for Drivers Ed. At AGE 14. He is SO full of anxiety and always asking "what if" and "am I going to die" I don't know what he would do. He would also be influenced by friends. Although he is not speaking to me or even looking my way.
  18. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Truthfully I think 16 is too young to drive these days. I think the driving age should be raised to 18. 16 is not what it used to be. Jeesh, when my mom was 16 she could have been an adult. Back then, when the world was a better place young people were far more mature and responsible then they are now!!! I wish I was raising my kids in the 50's!!! :)

    Of course when my son turns 16 (8 years from now) I'm sure he will be getting his license. I will, no doubt be a nervous nelly!!! Then again I am a worry wart, I worry about everything. Ideally, I would put both my kids into a gigantic bubble and keep them hidden in the basement!!!! lol lol Then I would just worry about flooding!!!!! lol lol
  19. Rotsne

    Rotsne Banned

    In some parts of Denmark you can get a reduced insurrance if you allow the insurrance company to install a GPS unit in your car and they can see that you respect the speed limits. Because most streets are charted they can see if you are speeding. My car is owned by the firm I am working for so such a device is not installed in my car due to security reasons.

    Alcohol interlocs are now installed in most busses carrying passengers on regular schedule. They are voluntary in Sweden if you have not been convicted of DUI, but mandatory after the first conviction.

    I don't know if the insurrance companies have started the use of GPS in return for lower fees anywhere in the States, but it could be worth to investigate that. If the driver knows that someone is watching him he would be less motivated to drive too fast.
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    No, we don't have that option here. The kids learn by driving with their parents.
    And in this case it will be hub...lol!
    I wouldn't give a car to my kid to drag race. That sounds dangerous! I know driver's ed is different in Europe. My hub lived in Germany. However, we have to deal with the programs we have here here.
    This particular child is not going to drive fast anyway. There would be no need to put him on a racetrack. He'd freak out and so would I. None of my kids did dragracing (or if they did, they never got caught...hehe).
    Lucas is an honor roll student. That should c ut some of the insurance rates. Plus our car is considered low risk for being used as a sports car. Most kids don't think of four door Escorts, ten years old, as race cars ;)
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009