Teaching your child how to drive? Bad idea!

Published: April 8, 2013
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One thing I do know is this: when I get back on the road (soon!) it will be with a driving instructor by my side. Not mom or dad, for sure.

A few years ago, I crashed our car onto a footpath as I was learning how to drive by the beautiful, empty stretch along the sea.

My father was in the passenger seat and I maintain, to this day, that he should be held more responsible than me.

Is this tossing of blame typical, youthful insolence on my part?

Perhaps, to an extent, but hear me out.  Parents can certainly do a lot of things, wear many hats, but there are some tasks you just need to call in the professionals for. In my case, it was learning how to drive.

Yes, I know most people learn to steer the wheel, weave in and out of jam packed, nerve-wracking traffic, and even parallel park on their own, or with minimal help. Yet, in retrospect, it’s clear we should have realised that for someone who had never attempted to drive — and honestly, never even felt the slightest desire to — a skilled teacher was necessary.

My father is a great driver, no doubt about it.

However, having been on the road for decades, these skills are almost intrinsically embedded into his psyche. While instructing me on my very first day (the day of the accident), he kept assuming that I would understand basic directives. Obviously, I didn’t. He was frustrated, I was flustered. In my mind, the accelerator became the brake, approaching cars became bullet trains, and before I knew it, the vehicle was hinged upon a sidewalk, a foot off the ground.

The car was seriously damaged, but not more so than my motivation to drive. I have not tried again and I feel restricted in my mobility every single day. What I would do in case of an emergency, I don’t know.

One thing I do know is this: when I get back on the road (soon!) it will be with a driving instructor by my side. Not mom or dad, for sure.

Read more by Ayesha here 

Ayesha R Siddiqi

Ayesha R Siddiqi

A Features sub-editor on the national desk and a University of Chicago alum. She tweets @twitter.com/ayeshars88

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

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  • Raveem Zafar Choudhry

    hay Allah
    U nd ur difficult life choices.Recommend

  • another girl

    talk about being ungrateful. Recommend

  • Coke

    Get a driverRecommend

  • ozz10

    First world problems !!!Recommend

  • Manly

    This is what happens when women try to poke into men`s activities…driving just aint their job..Recommend

  • Mehdi

    @Manly:

    Please check the dictionary for the following word “chuvanist”, you do fit the meaning.Recommend

  • citizen

    @manly ! here comes another Male chauvinist . I pity your women in family.Recommend

  • I am a Khan

    Come on Lady…you seemed to be nervous when driving for the first time and then you blame your dad for it. Not fair. It may be a better idea to learn from a friend or sibling of a similar age. Firstly you will not be nervous in their presence. Secondly they will make sure they taunt you at your slightest error, which will mean you learn to drive in a near to perfect way…anyways best of luck with your driving and please do not overspeed and do consider the other road users also, particularly the pedestrians, cyclists (if any) and motor cyclists…. Recommend

  • Turbo Lover

    Well, woman the kid’s got to learn some time. Especially when he/she is 18 and above.Recommend

  • Psychopath in hell

    Have some real problems….Recommend

  • Ateek

    This has happened to me as well, my father also expected the same from me although I never had an accident but now I am always woried that I am goinf to run over somebody some day or bump into a Bus or a Truck and start to tremble if a biker or a bus drives by me in an abnormal speed. Even though I drove regularly but I have also decided to take lessons before I get back on road by myself.

    By the way, good luck with your lessons. :)Recommend

  • Stranger

    Yes my first driving instructor was my own father at the age of 18 in Hyderabad India. I did get my license but never drove even one day in India. He would always be 10 steps ahead with his instructions telling me when the traffic lights are coming , how on this street there is no U turn etc., I had no confidence to drive alone in India .Then in London , several decades later I hired a proper licensed driving instructor who never minced his words while teaching me . Now I drive in Europe very confidently thanx to the foundation laid by my English instructor.Recommend

  • moderate

    you dont need to learn driving. there is no road from bedroom to kitchen.Recommend

  • Fudge

    @Manly:
    men’s activities? your driving ability is a proof of your manliness?! (LOL), not the most ‘manly thing to possess’, my friend, ha. Where I live, women drive big buses and trucks and I am sure they can driver better then you. Recommend

  • Critical

    Teaching your child how to drive? Bad idea!

    Learning yourself to drive from your cousin’s bike at the age of 14…..Driving in busy street without helmet….Getting caught by police and lying about my age and then parting my precious Rs.50 to him….PRICELESS!!!!!Recommend

  • Parvez

    Oooooo ! This brought back memories.
    I could NOT teach my daughter to drive but she learnt in 10 days at a driving school.
    I could not teach my young son Math – fractions of all things but with proper coaching he did land up with an A . As for driving, he somehow just drove from day one ( I don’t know how he did that and he won’t tell )
    Recommend

  • Long Time Reader

    Agreed, there may be situations where parents should not teach their children themselves. But the driving instructors in most parts of our town are worse, unfortunately. When I was learning, I had several bad teachers, and the reason is that these people aren’t ‘trained’ either. They merely know how to drive, and many have minimal experience.

    There are a few good driving schools around, but they are hard to come by. Tip: the most important skill to have if you’re driving in Pakistan is defensive driving.Recommend

  • WTH.

    some personal diary page accidentally opened up to me?Recommend

  • Sigh.

    their tiny tiny problems. ^_^Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad

    Professional driving instructor is the only solution. Paying instructor saves huge future expenses.
    @ Manly, in developed countries women pay less auto insurance than men because statistics show women are better drivers than men. In our country driving fast and dangerously is considered good driving contrary to safe, defensive and collision free driving.Recommend

  • Critique

    @Mehdi:

    You really need to work on your spellings before you can ask people to look at words in the dictionary, my friend.

    As for the author, I have one question to ask… How can one bad experience of yours draw you to such a conclusion?! Just because you hit your car in your first attempt means parents should stop teaching their kids how to drive? Recommend

  • Nobody

    Although I don’t normally think an entire conclusion can be reached with only one experience, in my own experience as well, I hated being taught by my parents. Tried it once or so, didn’t work. My older sister taught me how to drive. Ended up working out perfectly. Except she’s a bit of an aggressive driver and as a result, so am I. Recommend

  • Sajid

    Last time I checked the Traffic Police training school was charging PKR 5000/- per month for driving lessons. If you (or more likely your parents) can afford the 15,000 to 20,000 PKR for the training, go ahead.

    I prefered to pocket the sum and got some free pointers from people I knew (dad, brother, couzin, friends etc) and the rest was practice.

    Many folk might not be able to afford the sum and therefore a professional driving instructor, while advisable, should not be made compulsory.Recommend

  • Laila Dharamsey

    Haha, i can totally relate! My dad would scream his lungs out at me when he was teaching me how to drive; so instead i just bribed my drivers to give me the car and learnt myself! Recommend

  • http://tribune.com p r sharma

    Being an excellent driver and being an driving instructor are two different things. Even if the father is a good instructor but the student ( daughter or wife) may not be a good learner.because of the relationship I miserably failed to teach my wife how to drive and finally the driving school instructor came to my rescue.
    This must be understood. Better to hire the professional instructor with specific vehicle This helps to boost the confidence of the learner.Recommend

  • doom

    The state of traffic conditions in our country is probably because everyone learns from people they know instead of the professional way and absolutely everyone (especially men) think they’re brilliant drivers and idiotically enough if you are fast obnoxious driver who cuts in front of people and you’ve had lots of accidents, then you are a good and experienced driver.Recommend

  • Anthony

    She’s absolutely right. Please remember that as we grow older and have been driving longer, we are all guilty in Pakistan of ignoring most traffic rules, especially how to behave at traffic signals, zebra crossings (if any) and pedestrian rights, as well as indicators and others.

    Do you really think a dad who’s been driving for 20 or 30 years will teach all these basics of driving essentials to his child of 16?

    A driving instructor, however bad, will at least focus on the bare essential laws that require adhering to. These laws in the long run help in saving lives. Let’s not kid ourselves here about why it’s ok to let a non-instructor teach your child driving.Recommend

  • mokh

    @Mehdi-please try spellcheck-the word is chauvanist or chauvinistRecommend

  • mokh

    Nothing here about mothers teaching children to drive?I as a mother taught both my sons to drive and it may surprise them to know that I think they are reasonably good driversRecommend

  • Gillani01

    Not only do the instructors have experience on how to build confidence of newbies, they also have the tools for this i.e. the another set of controls in the training vehicle.

    No matter how worried you were on your first drive, you could not have crashed the car and your confidence if the training was being done by an instructor in a proper training vehicle.

    Had your father considered the scenario of you hitting somebody causing injury or death…? (I know it is Pakistan and you could have paid your way out of a homicide case… but still it is someone’s life that you could have messed up…)

    @mokh; Being a mother does not give you a license to consider wrong as right… Are you proud that you did the same stupid thing …?

    I have personally driven a total of more than 570,000 km in 29 countries in all six inhabited continents during last 13 years. But I arranged driving lessons for my siblings by professional instructors in proper training vehicles because that is the right way…!!!Recommend

  • mokh

    @Gillani01-your comment confuses me-my remark was more intended to highlight the fact that there was a presumption that only fathers would attempt to teach their offspring-I didn’t think it necessary to state that I have an advanced drivers certificate and professional training from UK-most driving instructors here seem to be wholly untrained and many unprofessional as well-and btw did I also say I ran a driving institute here but had to close down because of the difficulty in hiring qualified instructorsRecommend

  • Police

    If you did that on an empty deserted road, lord know what would happen if you enter a busy road. Learn Cooking or sewing instead girl.Recommend

  • Dante

    You’d benefit more by telling your dad directly, than telling usRecommend

  • Gillani01

    @mokh; No ma’am, you didn’t say any such thing at all in your original post.

    Your comment mentioned you being a mother teaching you sons how to drive and your disappointment that nobody mentioned mothers as their driving instructors.

    You never did at any point mention your disapproval of this practice. On the contrary, you sort of condoned this action and wanted mothers to be included as well.

    While there were other people making similar comments, yours baffled me the most because you were quick to correct the spelling of chauvinist but did not bother to point out the bigger problem of untrained parents acting as driving instructors.Recommend

  • wasted

    A total waste of time, words and mind.Recommend