How To Survive Driving Lessons

By Christian Gallen

December 13 2016

Driving means so much to us. Freedom. Individuation. Drive-thru cheeseburger missions. These are things that we all look forward to as teenagers. But there is one big obstacle in the way: actually learning to drive. More specifically, surviving driving lessons from a parent.

These lessons can bring out the best, the worst, and the ugliest sides in us. Your parents will freak out and get super panic-y. You might become hostile and “accidentally” drive over some road cones. But despite all that, it can be a really good quality time together. At the end of the day you can’t change your parents but you can change your attitude towards them.

Four tips on surviving driving lessons with your parents

1 – Become a negotiator
You need to be tactical in how you ask your parents for stuff. Stuff like driving lessons, petrol money, and more driving lessons. Parents might not feel like taking you for a drive. They might prefer to sit down with a cup of tea and argue with people on the internet about politics. So you need to become a master at negotiating with them. Being a good negotiator does not mean that you get exactly what you want. It means that you are willing to compromise so that you both get what you want. If you want your Mum to take you for a driving lesson you could negotiate with her. “Mum, if you could take me on a one hour drive then I will pay for the petrol. Or I will do the dishes everyday this week. Or I will give you a head massage and check you for nits”. If you can negotiate well then you will create more opportunities to get good quality driving lessons. The better you get at asking, the better your parents will get at saying yes.

2 – Study the road code
You’ll find that if you break the road rules then parents seem to freak out. If you know the road rules you are less likely to break them. Learning the road code is actually pretty easy. It’s just memorizing information, which you can do. If you can remember song lyrics, or pokemon, or all your different user names and passwords then you can memorize stuff. So you can learn the road code. Sure, you’ll end up learning some random trivial stuff like how fast you can go on a Segway down a country road towing a horse trailer… but most of it will be helpful and give you a massive advantage on your driving lesson.

3 – Prepare yourself mentally
Seriously, it can be intense in the vehicular classroom. Accept that your parent is in charge in this situation. They are the more experienced drivers, even if you have played hundreds of hours of Mariokart and have watched tonnes of drifting videos on Youtube. Your parent will be in charge, which means they will be patronizing, they will be over the top and they will be pedantic. But it’s going to be very hard to get your licence without their help. So accept your fate and choose to be a great student.

4 – Listen lots
Parents hate it when they think you are not paying attention. Sure, they just don’t understand your incredible ability to focus on multiple things at the same time. During your lesson there will be distractions. Your phone will get notifications, the music might be really good, your friends might be in the back seat chatting to you. You need to eliminate all distractions so that you can concentrate. If you can be the world’s greatest listener then you will be sweet. Just make agreeable noises like “mmm” and “yes” and “of course mother, you are so wise”. The truth is that if you can listen lots then your parents will feel like you’re learning lots.

If you can nail these four things then your driving lessons should be sweet! It’s only a short time in the grand scheme of your whole life that you spend learning how to drive. For lots of people it’s the last time they spend good quality time with their parents before they are full blown adults themselves. So even though it can be a tense time, it can also be an epic time with your parents.

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Christian Gallen

Christian Gallen joined the Attitude team in July 2009 after completing a BA in Te Reo Maori. Christian’s performance and speaking ability has been honed through his involvement in various bands and speaking engagements.


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