Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sure you have a driver's licence?

I do have an issue with our current driving instruction/licence policy.  I always thought that learner drivers should have at least 16 hours on-the-road training before they're allowed to take their driving tests.  But that seemed not to be the case.  I estimated the number of hours that my girl went for her lessons to be less than10.  That included the time she left the front gates till the time the instructor dropped her off again at the front gates.  And when she announced she would be going for her test I thought, that's incredible...  

I checked with her instructor and was told, That's the minimum requirement and it has been met.  Not to worry, She'll pass.  

Pass?  Just to pass?  No wonder we have such fantastic statistics!  I shook my head in disbelief, but I had to let it go.

Sure, she passed.  But I wouldn't put her at risk by tossing her the car keys and say, Here, go for a spin to celebrate!   We used to do that.  We had some 16 hours of practice too.  But that was 40 years ago when you could still cross the road if you see a car coming up 50 meters away.  They used to speed at 30 mph and thought that's pretty good.  Now, it would be like beep! and zooom! and someone shouting, hey! you tired of liv.... ?  

And also, those days they don't leave dumpsters in the middle of the road.  Roadkill wasn't a word yet because animals could still outrun cars.  My dogs would come back huffing, puffing and tongues dangling, looking proud they could chase a car for 2 miles.  Nowadays, they don't bother.

You must have heard enough stories about folks passing their driving tests with flying colors, then go home and take down their gates along with part of the garden fence.  Afraid she would have done just that, I pulled the hand-brakes before she stepped on the accelerator.  Also I had to risk getting a heart-attack everytime she approached a T-junction, one hand on the hand-brake handle and the other on an overhead holder.  Both knuckles showing no colors.  OK, that's just for a while until she stepped on the brakes but that's usually too close to the junction or the car in front.  

Anyone thinking of a driving school that teaches new drivers using their own cars instead of those little contraptions from Toys-R-Us?



  1. Ah! parents!
    My parents are petrified of the thought that I'll drive...I've had a driving license since 2003...and more than 300 hours of experience...But NOOO! I'm just a kid...
    I'm too young...Blah Blah Blah!

    Oh Yeah...I forgot. This isn't about me...

    I Remember, my dad used to get heart palpitations whenever he was on the passenger seat and I was on the drivers mom's voice would rise exponentially whenever she saw a pothole or a cow a mile away (we live in india, so cows on the road are pretty normal)

    The stress levels a parent faces are simply not worth it...

    Let her drive with her more conscientious and patient friends who have a younger heart!
    Or else invest in a good eye cover!

  2. You are a good and concerned father. By all means accompany her for several days and if you think she can be on her own then let her drive alone. I too don't trust the licence system, kopi duit lah. The maiden flight of a grown up baby bird needs practices and to improve mistakes. But since she is a girl don't worry too much. She don't have a heart of a lion that voom .. voom .. voom

  3. that's a good tip. In fact I have a few lying around in my travelling bags. lol

  4. I have doubts about that. I've seen tail-gaters on the highway who go voom-voom-voom and as they sped by I was surprised. They're young ladies who look like they just got their licences. It's something about getting behind the wheel that change characters.

  5. Ya, come to think of it .. there are girls who rob, steal, and even murder. We don't have these sort of things in the old days, right ?

  6. nooooo dad, we don't learn by you pulling the brakes!~

  7. hahaha... sound so funny, but with all the automatic car available now, is the test still testing on manual car? Frankly, if you ask me to drive a manual car now, i will need to attend the learning class again, i had been off the manual car for 22 years! :D

  8. I know... that one time I had to pull the brakes before fy hit expensive gate post. The angle was wrong. She had to reverse and make a bigger angle. I got her to repeat a few times until she got it right. Like you did for your uphill stop.

    If you're talking about life in general, there were lots of brakes I didn't pull on you girls.

  9. It's the same for basic training in every subject, I suppose. You learn manual first.
    In engineering or architecture training they still put you at the drawing board. You use Autocad only when you master the manual stuff.

  10. If driving schools are rated by % of passes, then I'm not surprised. Some certification centers will increase their pass rates by lowering the bar. Don't ask about the quality of people they certify though, haha.

  11. My daugther too is undergoing her driving lesson. They gave her 9 driving hours but I felt after her 5th driving hours I asked her to drive my car and I came to the conclusion she needed more because it was well below what I expected for 5 hours experience so I gave her personal driving lessons and it took another 4 hours driving lessons before I had the confidence to say she was reasonably OK even so her left turns were not as confident as her right turns. I told her to me one needs at least 10 hours of serious no-nonsense faster than average L speed to master the road because one learns from mistakes faster because the effect of the mistake is more pronounce.

  12. I always have in mind that any mistake out there has the potential to be fatal considering the speed at which vehicles travel nowadays. What I'm concerned about is what I teach them may be my own bad driving habits. Professional instructors have a set of standards and they know how to train drivers to avoid those mistakes.

    When I'm driving I know I'm in control but I get alarmed when I see someone else at the wheel and she's doing something I can't control. That explains the imaginary braking on the passenger side... LOL.

    Anyway, it's better to master all the skills before they go out on the highways.

  13. that explains the high statistics...

  14. can we have the trainer to accompany her driving in your car, like we used to?

  15. yes, I think that can be arranged. I already have that in mind. Only the time isn't available. SPM - NS - college... only a few days in transit.