1. I am extremely glad that when my kids are ready to take driving lessons, it will be “not my job“. Germany does not permit parents to do this (unless, of course, they are licensed driving instructors).

  2. They don’t permit parents to practice with student drivers, or they require the student drivers to learn for a certain number of hours with licensed instructors?

  3. @ Bill – Both. There’s no such thing as an official “learner’s permit” here, but when students sign up with a licensed instructor, the instructor can take them out on the road for lessons(*). I suppose it’s the instructor’s call to decide when and/or if a given student is safe to take out on the road, and it probably doesn’t happen at all until the student has passed a test in classroom instruction. The road training requirements are set by the state, and are a major source of revenue for the schools, since you have to take (and pay for) something like fifteen or twenty hours, and possibly more, if the instructor decides that you are not ready for the official test.
    P.S. I have heard that there are a limited number of private “offroad” facilities, in which non-licensed drivers can practice, but this is an uncommon exception, based on the fact that the facility is not part of the regular road network. Normal parking lots are not exempt, so you can not take your kid down to the mall (or school) parking lot on a Sunday to practice, such as used to be common in the US (way back when malls used to be closed on Sundays).

  4. I’m not sure who teaches their kid to drive through a busy urban intersection. If you are at that point with your kid, you probably past most lessons. And if you yell at other drivers as a passenger, your kid has probably heard you yell at other drivers while driving them around (this is how I learned what the word “asinine” meant at age 8).

    Many malls and large shopping centers in the US are great for driving practice nowadays because they are closed completely (and many more are negligibly busy).

  5. Kilby, “practicing in the mall parking lot on Sunday” probably qualifies as a geezer reference.

    In NJ, a certain number of licensed driving school hours in mandated, though parents can take their kids out to supplement that. With my older son, we found a large community college that’s closed on weekends, with three parking lots and a series of roads connecting them. They had signs all over saying GIVING YOUR KIDS DRIVING LESSONS HERE ON WEEKENDS IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN! but come on, you couldn’t design a more perfect spot for it.

  6. @Kilby: I’ve seen one of those off-road courses. It’s basically a little practice area with stop signs, fake intersections and so on. Enough for a new driver to get a small feel for the real thing. It’s also not unheard of out in the country for parents to let their kids get behind the wheel on farm access roads. Can’t do much more than learn how to shift and maintain a straight line, though.

  7. What billytheskink wrote reminds me of when my cousin, when she was a toddler, thought the car horn was called a “sumbitch,” because that’s what my grandfather often shouted when he used it.

  8. The reason FL is so hot is that it forced most folks to keep their car windows shut . . . you never know who has a gun and isn’t afraid to use it, for any excuse. And of course, windows are tinted, so there’s pretty much no point in giving someone a one-finger salute.

  9. In my younger days friends used to speak of doing donuts in the snow in mall parking lots, and learning to drive out of a skid.

    I’ve seen TV stories of driving academies that teach adults and teens defensive foul-weather driving, etc..

    I have seen pictures of driver-training facilities that are laid out as miniature towns, complete with intersections and street signs. I’ve never seen on in my region. I also remember the Disney film that satirized the teenage rite of passage:

  10. For the record, according to a recent census, New York City is home to over 800 languages, by far the most of any city in the world.

    A New York Time article opens thus:

    The chances of overhearing a conversation in Vlashki, a variant of Istro-Romanian, are greater in Queens [a borough of NYC] than in the remote mountain villages in Croatia that immigrants now living in New York left years ago.

    At a Roman Catholic Church in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, Mass is said once a month in Garifuna, an Arawakan language that originated with descendants of African slaves shipwrecked near St. Vincent in the Caribbean and later exiled to Central America. Today, Garifuna is virtually as common in the Bronx and in Brooklyn as in Honduras and Belize.

    And Rego Park, Queens, is home to Husni Husain, who, as far he knows, is the only person in New York who speaks Mamuju, the Austronesian language he learned growing up in the Indonesian province of West Sulawesi. Mr. Husain, 67, has nobody to talk to, not even his wife or children.

  11. “Mr. Husain, 67, has nobody to talk to, not even his wife or children.”

    I would assume he’d’ve learned English by now? You mean he has no one to speak to in his language-or-origin, I assume. I know the feeling . . . I’ve not spoken Dutch with anyone for years, and let’s face it, it’s not an uncommon language. But not common wherever I am.

    A few times in my USA life, I would hear someone speaking Dutch and be thrilled to talk with them for a few minutes; I can even tell if a Dutch(wo)man is speaking English ’cause I can recognize the accent. Hasn’t happened years and years, tho . . .

    I may have told the story of my parents and I going to a city in WI that was having a ‘Dutch Festival’ (you know, with wooden shoes, which I’ve NEVER worn, BTW, and tulips and cheese) and we thought how nice to speak with others in Dutch.

    We heard someone speaking Dutch, turned around, and it was my Mother’s sister, who lived in the same city as we did and traveled up to this Festival for the same reason as we did . . .

    One of those family stories that you remember forever . . .

  12. Mr. Husain must know SOME other language or the reporter of the story would not have known what Mr. Husain was saying…since no one else in NY speaks Mamuju, presumably.

  13. They could mean he has nobody he can speak to in his native tongue. Or possibly he knows English like I know French: he can survive and communicate basic thoughts. I can tell un journaliste, in French, that I have nobody to speak to in English.

  14. Bill, that same childlike curiosity apparently came from me as well. My mother often told the story that I politely asked her one day if a red light meant the exact same thing, because my father described every one as such.

  15. I took driver’s ed – taught by a couple of the gym teachers that I had been doing office stuff while volunteering in the district office. But it was my dad who taught me to DRIVE. When Robert was still able to ride sometimes with me driving he was often amazed at situations I could deal with that he knew he could not. When he has a problem parking somewhere or such I tell him to let me do it – he used to let me, now he is old and stubborn.

    A couple of years ago while driving home from the western edge of Queens I had a problem with our car. Every time I stopped in traffic or at a light it stalled. At the shock and panic of the first time I figured out to how to put on the flashers and push the (auto) transmission into neutral and restart the car. As I went along trying to get the car home – this was rush hour so lots of stops, I figured out to stop far back of the car ahead if I could and instead of stopping just very slowly coast along. Our mechanic(s) did not treat me as stupid woman as they know that I will give them a better description of a problem than he does. It took this happening again the next month for them to figure out what was wrong. (We now know it related to oil leaking problem that Chevy does want to recall and fix.) I mentioned to Robert that it was good thing it happened to me – he said that I was right as he would have panicked and sat there.

    I have probably mentioned that we have a small RV that is a Chevy Express Van converted into a “very cozy” RV (Class B). When we picked it up in PA (not sold near us) I drove it to a campground (figured we should make sure how everything worked and nothing broken – oh, boy were there problems with stuff in it) for an overnight stay while he followed with our car. Next day I drove it home,while he again followed. We just a big problem with the batteries and had to drive it the dealer – once again, I drove the RV there and last Friday, finally, back home, while he followed in our van (because with our craziness going on of one repair need on one vehicle after another, lately the 23 year old van is better able to make long trips than the 6 year old car). He was terrified of driving alone that far, while I enjoyed being able to drive that far when I only drive locally lately – and the chance to legally drive at 70 mph – wow.

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