For those of you with young ones, you may have recognized the title of this blog post. Yep, it is a play on the Wiggles "Toot Toot, Chugga Chugga, Big Red Car" song which has been played many a time here in our household. It reminds me of my first car.
My husband and I were talking about our first cars and this inevitably led to a discussion on when our daughters would be allowed to get their licenses. Fast forward thirteen years. Would we buy them their first cars? Would they be responsible for paying their own car insurance? When would they be allowed to use their car? What offenses would warrant losing this privilege? We agreed to disagree and decided that this topic is something we would have to entertain when the girls are much, much older. It was interesting though to talk about how different my husband and my experiences were in regards to learning how to drive.
What was your first car? Mine was an '89 red Ford Escort. The year was 1996. I still remember the exhaust and engine problems this car had. It spent much time sitting in the local mechanic's shop, getting repairs. My car was nicknamed Little Red. My friend's car was Big Red.
I picked the car out myself. I had no clue how to go about choosing a car. I needed a car to learn how to drive. My experiences behind the wheel were few and far between. There were the stints sitting on my dad's lap when I was little, turning the steering wheel while he worked the gas and the brake pedals. This was in our driveway by the way and not on the highway. There was also that one stint driving bumper cars. I kept getting stuck and needing help from one of the amusement park workers. Who can forget the infamous go-karting outing which also ended badly. Luckily only my pride was hurt and I walked away only with a nasty headache.
Once driving with my sister during the summer we were struck as my sister was pulling out at a light. It wasn't a bad collision and my sister had been driving my mom's car. My mom owned a tank. In fact, there was only a mild dent. Yet, the collision left a bigger impression in my memory.
Let's face it-I was scared to get behind the wheel. The one time my mom "attempted" to teach me to drive, she kept grasping the dashboard, slamming her foot on an imaginary break, and making little gasping noises. All of this was before we even made it out of the parking lot. A dear friend bravely taught me to drive in my little red car. I probably should mention that I was 19 at the time and in college. This was the same friend who had nicknamed her car Big Red.
I even taught myself to parallel park the night before my driving test. I used our riding lawn mower and my mom's car. A picnic bench turned on its side resembled the curb. After rereading the driver's education manual, I attempted to teach myself this skill. Looking back, my mom was a pretty good sport for letting me attempt this. Maybe she was making up for her inability to shore up her nerves enough to teach me this necessary skill herself.
Needless to say I managed to parallel park my little red escort the next morning (after one failed attempt). I luckily had a very nice, understanding instructor in the car with me. No cones were damaged in my attempts. I passed my test and officially was given my license.
Unfortunately, may our picnic bench rest in peace. The lawn mower fared better though. It seemed fine the next time I started it up. You would never know I had hit it. It already had a few scratches on it so who would notice a few more...After two successful attempts at teaching myself parallel parking and feeling mighty proud of myself, it appeared that the third time apparently was the "charm".
What are your thoughts on teens getting their licenses?
Memories or thoughts on the financial aspect of this milestone?
*Photo credit: donvito101 from stock.xchng