Monday, July 28, 2014

Don't Drink and Drive; Drink After Teaching Your Teen to Drive

Dear Ann Abler,
I want to help my daughter achieve independence, but I'm also worried for her safety. Most importantly, I'm kind of tired of driving her to dance classes three times a week. Should I let her drive?
- Stuck in Overdrive

Dear Overdrive,

As always, I'm your Ann Abler, primarily looking out for your sanity. In my opinion, teen drivers are equally if not more dangerous than teen wolves. But a real teen wolf, not a Michael J. Fox kind. Though my kids are small, I have done some pre-panicking on this issue. So, here are a few tips off the top of my head:

Photo from
  • Wait for those self-driving cars. A recent Wired article says in 20-ish years most vehicles will be driving themselves. Tell your daughter to dance around the house for the next couple decades, and save up for one of these robot cars. Ditching the dance classes will also save you money on sequins and sparkles.

  • Let her drive, but only 2 miles per hour. Tell her she can get a Mini Cooper...but it has to be this exact one:
Driving Miss Baby

  • Bubble wrap her. Sometimes you have to nudge the little birdies out of the nest, but no one says you can't provide some cushion.
Photo from Jay P. Morgan of

  • Pick your poison. There are now several states where you can legally obtain a certain substance that can mellow you out after an outing with your teen driver. If you're in one of those lucky locations...ask your doctor if marijuana is right for you. You deserve to relax after reeling from the fear and anxiety that driving with a teenager can cause. I mean there's always Ujjayi breathing, but sometimes you need to "speed relax" like my friend Lori says. Just remember, at no time do I actually expect my advice to be heeded. I take no responsibility for your future habits, and I will not pay for your Ziggy Marley tickets. Let's just not pretend we're all Puritans. That's so 1600. So, do what you're going to do and don't judge yourself too harshly. As a wise woman once tweeted:

If you do decide to teach your daughter to drive, make sure you instill in her the value of good driving music. You can start with The Top 25 Songs About Cars, Driving and Roadtrips. Now that you have one of those songs stuck in your head, read my last post about how to get rid of earworms.

Hope that helps and doesn't send you on a downward spiral with drugs.

Your Ann Abler


  1. Holy hell...can I relate to this. My youngest just got his license. I need to move to a medical marijuana state.

    1. Michelle, head out west! There's gold in them thar hills. And by gold I mean green. And by hills I mean a local dispensary. OR - and this idea just occurred to me - tell your teen he owes you a massage for each hour of driving instruction. I feel that is only fair.

  2. I'm with you on the pre-panic mode! It's never too early to panic. My oldest is 9, and her driving days are steadily approaching!

    1. Apparently time flies whether you're having fun or freaking out! I say have fun, but even I don't always follow my advice. :)

  3. My first daughter got her license at 15 (which was the age in Louisiana) – it was horrific and, we soon discovered, a mistake – as she had numerous fender benders and occasionally side swiped her car into fast food drive-thru concrete lane guidance poles (or whatever they are called). I made my next three wait until they were at least 17 – it was a good call. Less drama, less trauma!

    1. Ouch! "Occasionally" sounds like more than once. On the bright side, she must be really skilled at bumper cars.