Lauren started driving at 18 years old, rather I enrolled her at a driving school when she turned 18. I figured that she’d learn to drive a car using stick-shift just like I did at her age, instead of an automatic. We didn’t own an automatic car that time. I pride myself in being a teacher to my kids in (practically any topic) ever since they were babies but not driving. No, no….no

I want you to watch this youtube video of Happy Slip and Kevin as the latter learns to drive a stick-shift car. View it till the end because that’s the way I felt after I went on a practice driving session with Lauren the first time.

Put it in Purse

I felt I was in the throes of a heart attack whenever Lauren practiced her driving skills with me. Driving in stick-shift made it even more complicated for her. I just couldn’t take it anymore.

I am a very nervous driver. Even when my husband is driving, I freak out at his driving style. I told Lauren that it just won’t work out. Someone other than me should sit beside you. “Ask your boyfriend to help you”. Lauren smirked “My boyfriend doesn’t drive”.

Almost 4 years passed and Lauren still didn’t drive regularly. We now own an automatic car. A few months ago , Lauren whined: “I am almost twenty two, mom. Let me drive now.”

I agreed she should be driving now but I had other things in my mind that made me nervous about letting go. I trust Lauren can drive but I don’t trust the reckless drivers in the Philippines. Being in a grief support group does not help assuage my fears. Just last week, a mom talked of the death of her only son because his car hit a pole after a motorcyle swerved in the car’s direction. Another mom describes how her son was the only one who died in a car crash. Both moms’ sons died the same day. What about the death of the pastor and his wife in Commonwealth Avenue on Valentine’s day? A speeding truck just rammed onto their car. Or Dulce Saguisag, the wife of Former Senator Rene Saguisag? If not deaths, motorists face indiscriminate traffic enforcers when they flag your car at the street intersection of the STOP sign. Or pranksters, hoodlums that bump your car at the back like what happened to a nephew of a friend. And so on and so forth.

What I can only impart is defensive driving. For the past few weeks, Lauren has been practicing with her dad. While her dad accompanies her all around metro manila, I list driving tips to Lauren:

1. Don’t cut corners.
2. Even if you have right of way, check if there is a speeding vehicle before proceeding to cross the intersection.
3. Don’t stop to check your car when a motorist points to your tire. Go to the nearest gas station.
4. If a traffic enforcer stops you, find out your traffic violation. Ask for a ticket and make sure the traffic violation is as listed. Reckless driving fine is 1000 pesos and I nearly got that ticket just because I went through a red light. I questioned the violation and got a lesser offense of 500 pesos which was “not stopping at red stop sign”.
5. Stick to your lane even if the motorcyle hits your car. Swerving might make you hit an oncoming car or the car to the right.
6. Don’t drive late at night.

Any more ideas?

Lauren turned 22 years old yesterday. Hopefully, she will drive on a regular basis now. This mom, the backseat driver will continue to pray for safety and protection.

About Noemi Lardizabal-Dado

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

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