Kids and driving.

  1. I got into a minor debate about this with a friend the other day.
    How old were you when you first started driving?
    My daughter is 15 and has her learners permit and will get her provisional this week.
    She has been driving, though, since she was about 11.
    My son is now 11 and I let him drive in areas when there isn't too much traffic (this includes highway driving) but only when with me beside him.
    They are both good drivers and my theory is it's a skill best learned when practiced.
    My friend says kids should wait until they are legal age.
    What do you think?
  2. 36 Comments

  3. by   ThirdWorldGirl
    I started driving when I was about 14, my parents were over protective even though we lived in a very small community. Now my daughter who is 15 has her learner's permit and she drives an old junk car to run over to a friend's house or down to the lamb pins to feed them, but drives the family car when her dad or step-mom is with her. Here she drives if I'm with her only if she brings her learner's permit with her. She will be getting my 90 Plymouth Laser when she gets her driver's license this summer. She is an excellent driver from having been able to get the "experience" that you don't get in driver's ed.
  4. by   BadBird

    I think you may have a loose screw somewhere, 11 is way to young!!!!! 16 is about right for beginning to drive with a restricted permit and only if that child is a very mature 16. Of course it depends on where you live, our roads are very busy, full of potholes and old people to dodge around. If you live out in the sticks with no one around then it would be easier. Driving is not just keeping the vehicle in it's own lane, you need the maturity to let a aggressive driver go even though it was your turn, you need to be a defensive driver, develop skills to look ahead and anticipate what the other driver is going to do. Being right doesn't make you a good driver, the cemeteries are full of people that had the right of way. Not to mention that you need to learn to maintain your own vehicle in a emergency, learn how to change a flat, check your own oil, etc...

    Of course only you as a parent know the maturity level of your own child and it will be you who decides when to let the child get a permit, pay for the insurance, etc...
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Russell, my dad used to do the same thing. Let us "drive" on deserted parking lots, steer the car, etc very young. However, consider, if a kid of 11 or 12 gets into a wreck (not likely but can happen) what will happen when "authorities" get hold of the info and what this will do to your insurance coverage (or soon to be lack of it ). somethings are not worth the risk in my book.
  6. by   nurs4kids
    I think it depends on where you live and the maturity of the child. I grew up in the woods and started driving with an adult when I was 12 or so. BUT, I also rode motorcycles on the roads at that age, so I had a greater respect for other cars. Started driving to the store alone at 14. I did have my motorcycle license by then. I remember backing into a car at a store when I was 14...scared me to death. I lived through it, but DO consider myself lucky. I'd NEVER let my kid drive at such a young age and also would not allow motorcycle riding on the streets at that age.

    I think as long as it's with an adult, it's probably okay. Not alone, though. At 14, I ended up in court b/c me and a friend were "trailing" her step-mom's ex-hubby on a motorcycle and he slammed on the brakes and attempted to back over us. That was poor judgement that I'm confident happened b/c of immaturity.

    Also russell, don't dare forget about the legal implications IF something happens while he's behind the wheel. You could loose everything you've worked for..

    however, I DO think the earlier experience made me a safer driver in the long run...
  7. by   cactus wren
    That`s one of the many perks of living in the Boonies, isn`t it, Rusty ? My kids all started driving on back roads at 11 or so. They have all grown up to be good,careful drivers. When the youngest 2 were learning, we lived in a very rural place, had an ancient VW bug, they drove it all over, the local Deputy would wave as he passed them going the other way.

    Actually my boys started learning how to drive their Dads " Big rig" very young, too. They are now all owner.operators,so guess that worked well, too.
    Now before amyone has a fit.....they learned on logging roads....way off highway....
  8. by   jnette
    Didn't start driving 'til I was 22. 'Course where I grew up you didn't need a car... busses ran every 8 minutes to anywhere you wanted to go !

    As for my own kids, they started driving around the farm at about 10 yrs. old...first the lawnmower, then the tractors, snowmobiles,and so on.. to the car. Their dad would also take them out on the "backroads" (most of which were still dirtraods at that time) at about 12-14 yrs.old and let them practice. By the time they were "legal", they had plenty of practice and a good feel for the road and respect for the vehicle. They, too, had plenty of dirtbike exposure on the farm as well.

    But Blue Eyes has a valid point.. re IF something were to happen out there on the highway, especially. Worth thinking about.
  9. by   Rustyhammer
    Of course they learn on the dirt roads.
    My daughter rides her motorcycle all over the place but now is in the market for her first truck.
    The 15 year old and 11 year old are both excellant drivers.
    They both had to learn with Totanka Blanca so they know the ins and outs of shifting.
    Thanks all.
  10. by   Lausana
    I don't think I could reach the pedals at 11
  11. by   itsme
    Oh rusty!! You could have been yelled at by many! I think as long as you are in the country not on the freeway, what the heck! My daughter has her permit, and it isnt the same with her on main roads as it wa on the back country roads when she was 12!! The first time I drove I was 13, my big brother was with and we drove right past my parents- oops!! went around the corner and quick switched places and drove past them again! Better that they are driving with you than with another kid! And it is great that they can drive a stick, I am 36 and still havent learned how!!!!
  12. by   renerian
    Thank God I am on the last one of 5 to drive. I have been taxi mom to many years LOL.

  13. by   zudy
    I was 16 when I started driving, but I live in a mostly rural state and driving at 11 or 12 isn't unusal here. My son started when he was 11. However, I couldnt reach the pedals at that age. I think driving is like most other skills, the more you practice the better you are.
  14. by   Disablednurse
    Rusty, my 3 brothers and I lived in a rural area and were able to drive starting at an early age around 11 like your children. There were many old abandoned roads out where we lived and got to practice there. We all took drivers ed. in school too and were able to get our driver's license first try. We are all good drivers today and each of my brothers does the same thing with their children. I don't see anything wrong with it. Makes it much safer when they take drivers ed.