As you know, we have two Learner drivers in the house. Almost a year on, so far so good. They are learning to drive. They are putting in the hours to reach the required experience milestone (not quite as fast as their friends since there are two of them to share the driving opportunities). And to date, we have had no bingles or near misses (although perhaps a few more grey hairs for their parents)!
However, not all is as it seems. Father of a Man-Child was recently made aware by a neighbour that she had seen one of our sons behind the wheel of his car – alone! Yes, an UNLICENSED 16 year old driving a car!!!!! We have since deduced it was during our holiday last year when we left the boys in Melbourne with my sister for a week. Hmmm, next time we won’t be leaving the car keys will we?
Suffice to say a bit of investigation led us to discovering that in fact BOTH of the men-children have driven their father’s car without an accompanying parent in the car. (One accidentally dobbed the other one in – that went down well as you can imagine). Almost as well as the knowledge of their offence. At this point in time they are both probably thinking it would have been preferable to be caught by police and given a warning than to be caught by us.
As they deserved, we went absolutely nuts when we found out and spelt out for them just SOME of the potential consequences of their incredibly STUPID behaviour (which from discussions with friends appears to be solely a male trait, not a female one).
- For starters, if they have an accident, the car is not insured, nor is any other damage to property covered.
- Even worse, should they injure a person in an accident, they could be convicted of a criminal offence (there goes your future), and also sued for damages (their goes our house/future etc).
- Of course, the likelihood of ever getting their precious license if they are caught driving unlicensed diminishes somewhat doesn’t it? Great for the tradie who wants to be an apprentice driving a ute in about a year’s time. That might be a career limiting move?
- Plain common sense (not common in teenage boys as we know) is that they are still learning to drive, hence the reason experienced adult drivers accompany them. Accidents DO happen, and not just in Dandenong! So whilst they think they are good drivers (with only one hand on the wheel), adults know they are not.
What made us feel even worse was their defence of their behaviour – we know how to drive, all our friends do it, blah blah. The fact that this behaviour is rampant amongst their friends makes me furious. I could understand (even expected) that at some stage they would take our car without permission one day, once they got their licence, and drive somewhere they shouldn’t, but we certainly didn’t expect they would do it whilst Learners.
I must confess to taking my mother’s super shiny, new and very cool Toyota Celica sports car (with sunroof) in the early 80’s to Portsea for the day without my parents’ permission. Naturally (as my friends came to expect), I got caught! Two simple things gave me away: a very sunburnt forehead (the downside of a sunroof), and a speedo with an extra 200kms on the clock – yep, my father was way too smart for me!
As for our boys, they have been warned about EVER thinking about driving unlicensed again. And of course, they will be punished for their stupidity. One is still trying to negotiate his way out of his punishment (not on your life), and the other is still awaiting his – it has to hurt so we have to wait for the right opportunity. I know it sounds pretty mean, but they just have to understand it cannot happen. And sadly, it also means that we cannot trust them and so can’t leave any car keys in the house again.
It is not often we think our boys are stupid, but in this instance, common sense has certainly been absent. It is when you realise that the feelings of being invincible, and knowing everything, and having your whole life before you is the stuff of naive youth (and our men-children), and that one day they will look back and know how wrong their behaviour was, and realise just how right their parents were. In the meantime, we will just wait for the next hurdle to leap over in the steeplechase of adolescence.