Teenage Driving Lessons Move into Phase 2

In our driving lessons, we seemed to have moved from phase 1, controlled environments like nearly deserted islands and suburban-like neighborhoods to regular errand running in the city. (The island can be accessed by bridge, in case you were wondering.)


On the plus side, we are actually getting things done. Trip to the grocery store, return the rented oboe, get a covid test. Done, done and done. Mission accomplished. On the delta, my heart beat slower and my breathing was less ragged on the empty roads of Treasure Island than navigating busy roads at rush hour, albeit, Covid rush hour.


Today, we even added rain to the list of phase 2 conditions. As a result, I think he kinda knows how to manage the windshield wipers. Kinda, maybe. Not really, actually. My husband seems to be the push, push past comfort( zone and ZPD (zone of proximal development) and I am the I retreat to safety and practice. He took the boy on the freeway. I know! The freeway! That was after asking him two separate times if he wanted to try the freeway and my son answered, “no”. To be fair, it is a road that if you stay on it, becomes the freeway, where the freeway starts, but his first time bounding down the road at 65 miles per hour, in the driver’s seat. My son said he was glad my husband pushed him, that he got it over with. I am not sure I agree. There will be no freeways on my watch. Not till phase 35.


There are a surprising number of things to teach someone in phase 2. Changing lanes is huge. The first few lanes he changed, he did, without bothering to look and thankfully managed to not kill us all. We scared him enough in our reaction that he now looks consistently. There is also knowing what lane to be in depending up upon where you are going, especially in this city of one-way roads. Or knowing which lanes will lead you right onto some freeway. Again, on the plus side, his sense of geography is getting so much better. He now knows the names of roads he has ridden down his whole life and what they intersect with in different parts of the city.


Some parts of the city require even more constant scanning for pedestrians, bikes, delivery drivers that just stop to deliver or suddenly pull out when done. Feels a bit like Mario Cart to me.


He, however sees pretty confident. Too confident, if you ask me. He told me the other day that he will have mastered all the skills and still have 20 hours of driving practice before he can take the driving test in July. Yikes! I tried explaining that there is “knowing” and then there is being confident and comfortable in a variety of situations and that would take well past those 20 hours.


There is more rain in the forecast, so watch out if you are out on those wet, slippery streets of San Francisco. Student Driver behind the wheel!

4 thoughts on “Teenage Driving Lessons Move into Phase 2

  1. OMG- Kansas City was enough to fray my nerves!

    My former student driver has a serious case of attention deficit and some directional challenge in her stew, so it was always an adventure.

    Good luck, momma!

  2. Love this post. We are teaching Sadie to drive in Tarrytown, NY about 35 miiles north of NYC. We’ve been driving on really curvy and narrow roads. I try not to show my nervousness by looking out the window as she drives. She has been in the car with me for years and has seen a fair share of crazy driving moments. She remembers them. I tell her to assume that everyone on the road is also on their phone. It’s my way of saying “defensive driving.”

    1. So nice to hear from a fellow parent teaching their teen to drive. It is a different kind of stress. I love the idea of telling them that everyone is on their phone while driving. Often when he sees someone not doing the right thing, I always say, “they are probably on their phone”. Good to hear from you friend!

  3. I love your ending! It was really fun to hear about having a teen in “phase 2′. There are so many phrases I enjoyed reading. The description of phase 1 involving a nearly deserted island (and then the note that it was accessible by bridge–to let us know that you’re speaking literally here, not metaphorically, as I first imagined), the assessment of your son’s windshield wiper skills, that you won’t be taking him on the highway until phase 35. 🙂

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