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My View: Driving with a teen hastens gray hairs

By MaryJean Zajac

When my older son turned 16 he was eager to get his driving permit to drive a car.

My husband was smart and said, “Honey, why don’t you teach him?”

So I was delegated to teaching our son to drive. All went well. He listened to me and didn’t have any objections to my brand of teaching.

It was not so easy when my younger son was old enough to start driving. This is the one that wanted the nipple ring. Having past experience with this one, I decided I needed to prepare myself ahead of time.

I got my helmet on, googles were ready and I even added padding to my knees because, well, you know, he might hit something and I needed to protect myself.

Once we were out on the road and cruising along ... oh, did I forget to tell? He was trying his hand at driving in a 1978 Mercury Grand Marquis.

This is one of those cars that had a trunk so large you could fit a dead body in it, not that I would. Once that car got rolling there was no stopping it.

I remember one time taking my “missed the bus again” son to school during the winter and while making a turn onto a side street the car started to skid.

At that point all I could do was hold on tight to the steering wheel and let the car slide into the snow bank. Once the car hit the snow bank it stopped and I was able to put it in reverse, backed out and continue on my way. Not a scratch or dent on this boat.

So to get back to our driving lesson: I was ready with my foot on the imaginary brake and clutching the door handle. As we come to an intersection, my son slows down and turns his right-hand signal on to make the turn.

MaryJean Zajac

The light facing us is red. He proceeds to make the turn and I say, “What are you doing? You need to come to a complete stop before making the turn because the oncoming traffic has the signal for the right-of-way.”

His answer, “Why, there was no one coming from that direction.”

Somehow he did not quite grasp this concept and unlike his brother he was ready to argue with me.

What flashed before my eyes was my husband sitting at home with a smile on his face like the cat that ate the canary, while I was getting more gray hairs as I sat in the car with Mario Andretti.

He continued to practice his driving skills and I continue to acquire more gray hairs.

Then one day while we were going to his job interview and I was allowing him to drive, an older woman ran into the side of our boat. She was parked along the curb and my son had the right of way traveling down the street.
Her defense was that she had her turn signal on.

I then had to contact the police because she wasn’t about to give up her insurance information and was contemplating leaving the scene.

The police officer arrived on the scene and he tried to explain to her as gently as possible and in his words, “Lady, you don’t have the right-of-way!”

That’s when my ever observant son said, “What is it with these people and observing the right-of-way?”

MaryJean Zajac, of Orchard Park, is teaching her son about right-of-way practices.

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