Monday, February 25, 2008

Backseat Driver

It'll be a few years until I need to worry about my son being out there on the road, driving, but he'll have a hard time being patient waiting for that day to come, I have a feeling.

Just the other day, as I was sitting behind four or five cars at a red light, he calls from the back seat, "Mom, you're not driving the right way." I looked up to make sure I was on the correct side of the road (just recently he and I were driving on the incorrect side of the road - but that's another story).

As the light turned green, I started to move forward behind the other cars. I was still trying to figure out what he had been referring to, when a second later he yells, "Both of your hands need to be on the steering wheel."

I took a quick glance back at him and smiled. "You're right, Dominic," I said, "I was driving wrong way."

Instead of telling me it was OK - as he's said before when I have admitted to doing something wrong, he says to me, in a very matter-of-fact voice, "I'll show you how to drive."

I will be a nervous wreck once he actually does get behind the wheel for the first time. Although by then, there will hopefully be some new technology that will allow me to have a GPS tracking system on the car so that I can make sure he hasn't been run off the road or fallen asleep at the wheel - or worse - lying about where he is.

Thinking back to my own years and the first years of freedom, it was much different then. My mom was excited to learn that I purchased a pager for myself. (Note to self: Must check to see if people - besides doctors - still use them.)

My mom would page me when I was out too late or past my curfew or didn't come home the night before. I can't say that having a pager made her life any easier. I would either ignore the page and not call her, or call her back and casually explain why I just had to spend the night at my boyfriend's house - again.

Being young and having freedom is exciting. It's just as exciting - if not anxiety-inducing - for parents.

That's why, when I heard about this new system, I wanted to know more. Will this be something that is going to be even more technologically advanced when the time comes for me to really have a use for it?

I don't usually think that far ahead, but when it comes to the safety of our children, what a parent wouldn't do...

What do you think? Is this GPS Tracking System too invasive? Do your teenagers have the right to total independence when they get their license to drive?

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