Thursday, October 15, 2009

Driver's Ed...

I am not an expert on teaching kids to drive. I don't have the nerves or patience it takes to get in the car with a teen and teach them how to actually keep from killing themself or someone else. In fact, when Cris was learning to drive and I was a mere passenger in the back seat I shouted out, "We're all going to die!" I couldn't help it. I really thought we were all gonners.

At any rate, my husband is an amazing driving teacher. He taught all our kids to drive.

I gave birth, he taught to drive. We call it even!

But, we did learn a great way to make sure our kids had plenty of experience on the road before we allowed them to take their road test to get their license.

We had them log 2000 miles with Bob or I supervising. Every time they got in the car to drive, they had to jot down the miles and then jot them again when we returned home. I generally felt comfortable sitting in the co-pilot seat after they had logged 1000 miles.

Let me tell you--two thousand miles is a lot! To get that many they will have driven back roads, expressways, during the day, the night, the rain and if you live in northern climates, even the snow. It takes commitment on the part of the parents and the teen, but it is time and gas money well spent. By the time you teen takes their road test you will feel confident in their driving ability.

Also, it takes the pressure and strain off the parents as to saying when a teen is ready. Instead of saying, "You aren't ready for the road test because..." you can just ask how many miles are logged and when you child reaches that mark, you take him. It is not subjective at all--but totally objective and everyone knows the expectations.

I know many states have minimum driving requirements, but even if they say the child needs to drive 50 hours, makes sure they also have 2000 miles. The 2000 mile goal is did not originate with us. Years ago my sister heard a judge say that he had observed that the most and worst accidents caused by teens were by inexperienced teens. He said that if they had at least 2000 miles under their belt they were exponentially better drivers than those who didn't. We took his advice to heart and I think it was some of the best advice we ever took.

I wanted to pass this advice on to those of you with pre-drivers. Please, have your children keep a log book, make them log 2000 miles, then take them for their road test. You will be glad you did.

Take care,


  1. I am Jill's cousin and she has a couple of kids older than mine and she passed along this advice to me. I have to tell you it is wonderful! We too had 5 kids to get liscenses and the 2000 miles is perfect. As Jill stated they had to keep a log, mine happened to keep a sheet on the refrigerator as well. They had to put the date, the place and the number of miles. If they forgot to set the trip tick on the car, it was a life lesson of "oh well, you don't get those miles'. Honestly, that did not happen very often. I never sat behind the wheel again after they were issued permits as they were determined to get those miles! The state of Florida now says they have to have the permit for a year. That still doesn't help much if they are not actually driving. Even if we were going someplace I wasn't staying at, the kid would drive there, we would swap places and then when it was time to pick them up, I moved to the passenger seat and they drove. Again, they had to keep track of the miles and subtract out what they did not drive. IT is a great system and I have passed it along to all my friends.

  2. Hi Pam--I agree with the one year requirement. We have had friends that waited the year but the child did not drive more than a few hundred miles. Time does not make a good driver, practice under supervision makes a good driver.

    My sister used this method with her girls too. I have mentioned it to many people, but thought I would preach it one more time.

  3. Hi, this is Bob, Jill's husband. Some advice for the men teaching your children to drive, with a screaming "we're all gonna die" wife in the backseat. To get your student driver through such episodes, turn up the radio. It works great.

  4. Hi, Jill, this is Heidi, your fellow SCC. Thanks for the tip about 2000 miles! My ds Josh is about to start learning how to drive, and I will definitely suggest this to my husband as benchmark to use in addition to the 50 hours Kansas requires.

  5. I LOVE this idea! My ds is rapidly approaching the age where thoughts turn to him becoming a driver. We'll use the 2,000 miles concept.Thank you for sharing this!