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Mom the Backseat Driver

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.

18 thoughts on “Mom the Backseat Driver”

  1. I have two: look left and right even if it’s a green light in case someone wants to run a red light; and… don’t drive in Cambodia. 🙂

    I had a really difficult time learning to drive. I’m the only person I know who had to renew the student’s driver’s license about three times. 🙂

    Happy Birthday to Lauren! 🙂

  2. sa pinas? don’t insist on your right of way and lock all your doors at all times. wag makipag-gitgitan sa mga jeep at bus. check oil and water and tires before even rolling out of the driveway. put mom’s number on speed-dial. don’t drive in unfamiliar places without company. don’t use your phone while driving, keep the music volume down. hm, ano pa ba?

    on the other hand, accidents are called accidents because they happen unexpectedly. even the most skilled drivers aren’t exempt.

  3. let her wear a cap during late night driving, especially if the car’s not tinted enough. madalas kasi pag-tripan ang babae e.

    don’t text while driving.

    teach her the basic troubleshooting. for me, i think changing the tire’s a must knoe.

    kahit mali ang jeepney or cab, wala talagang laban so iwasan na lang sila as much as possible.

    ano pa ba? hehehe… share pa ako pag may naalala ako. hehehe…

    happy birthday to lauren! btw, i also read her blog. pft!

  4. Great tips! You’re right, the reckless drivers in Metro Manila are unbelievable!

    Tip: Don’t panic. Even if the cars behind you are honking loudly because your car died and you’re keeping them from moving forward, don’t mind them. They’re gonna have to wait. Instead, focus on what you have to do, and start your car properly. You don’t want your car to end up hitting something or dying again just coz you’re panicking.

  5. Driving? Other male drivers on the street tend to look to women drivers as stupid. Ahaha… I still remember the way they look at me when I was a newbie in driving. Ingat lang po kay Lauren, huwag po siya mataranta agad. Unahan lang ng sindak yan sa ibang male drivers.

    I stick to my lane (if I’m not on the hurry) and still gentle enough to give way if someone wants to overtake… depends on my mood. hehe…

  6. 2 things: the car and the driver, they make a team

    the driver:
    – don’t get distracted. don’t text, answer phone calls, use a wireless ear piece.
    – seatbelts!
    – control impulses like road rage and speeding
    – and always remember to drive on your side of the road… LOL, some people forget that

    the car:
    I got a 2008CRV for these basic reasons, I may sound paranoid here… but… it may help. Get the car that the driver is comfy with.
    -I’m short, I can’t see past a huge truck or car
    -One of the safest cars plus it has curtain air bags which is a huge plus
    -I have a precious cargo, my son

  7. I agree with Glitch. There seems to be a stigma on female drivers. I often hear my elders utter the following line:

    “Kaya pala nag-trapik. Babae ang driver, mahina sa pagmamaniobra.”

    Manual or “stick-shift” cars as you call it, is a good drive. The manual shifting will keep you awake and alert especially during night driving.

    Use the seatbelt. Always.

  8. hi noemi. my mom is cool, my dad is THE backseat driver. having him as passenger can be so nerve-racking, i had to beg my sister, his student at the time, to get off the car and let our dad drive the rest of the way. my sister was doing ok naman, but my dad was sooo tensed, hahaha!

  9. One tip I got from my brothers (at least I think I got it from them) was this: assume that every other driver on the road is stupid. Corrollary to this is to assume that they will not follow the rules of the road. Offshoots of this idea:
    – Other drivers will not signal when switching lanes or turning at a corner, so always expect them to even if you don’t see their blinkers.
    – Other drivers will try to beat red lights, so don’t rush forward as soon as the light turns green.
    – Other drivers will stop or drastically slow down at the most inopportune times, so keep your distance from them.
    – Related to the previous point, always check your mirrors (even if you don’t have plans to switch lanes) so you can switch lanes in an instant if you have to.
    – Also related, don’t just watch the car directly ahead – watch those 2, 3, or even 4 cars ahead. That way you dont’ get surprised if the car in front of you suddenly slams on the brakes.

    Basically, the idea I took away from that piece of advice is to stay on your toes. You can do everything right and still get into accidents.

  10. other tips:
    speed kills so drive within the speed limit and don’t go too slow either
    don’t get too close to the next vehicle.maintain a safe distance
    anticipate danger, be aware of what is going on ahead of you.
    in case of blow out tire, don’t stump on the brake. have control of the vehicle first and then apply brake.

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