At the moment I have a provisional driver in the house, and that means I now spend a lot of time sitting in the passenger seat yelling "brake" at the top of my lungs.
Actually I don’t, because my 17-year-old seem a lot more confident, and some might say cocky since the days when I learnt to drive.
That day was thirty something years ago, when we drove around in Flintstone cars, naturally. At this point it is possible to descend into Monty Python Yorkshiremen sketch territory. Cars without seatbelts, spikes for steering columns and a lame donkey under the bonnet, if we were lucky...
The point is, getting a drive was difficult. My dad was busy and my sister could think of far better things to do then take her brother out to abuse the clutch in her car for half an hour. Also, the concept of paying for driving lessons didn’t really compute, even though it was only three groats an hour. That meant I had to wait a while before I could take a test and had to badger everyone to let me drive them somewhere or other.
As a result some of my daughter’s friends have done very intensive courses and passed just a month or so after turning seventeen. Well done to them. But of course you never, ever stop learning how to drive. There are so many situations where the provisional driver is stumped as to what to do. It takes time. Luckily there is a qualified driver in the next seat to advise. Or at least do their best.
My real point is that learning to drive should take at least six months, maybe a year. The longer the teenager spends as a probationary and accompanied by a restraining, level headed, probably slightly panic-stricken adult has to be a good thing. Am I right? Or should driving licences be included in 17th Birthday cards as standard?