To worry about my DD being with her mates at 17 who just passed their driving tests?

(47 Posts)
skyblue11 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:09:53

So two out of the 6 of her circle of friends have just passed their tests, they are now obviously wanting to be driving around the city and taking their friends shopping or on nights out.
It drives me insane with worry, especially with the dark nights looming, I know I can't wrap her in cotton wool forever but I am struggling here.

Quangle Thu 03-Oct-13 19:13:59

No experience but I would not permit it. I think the govt was considering a "no passengers" rule for new drivers for this very reason. Not sure how it would work in practice but I would definitely not want my DCs being driven anywhere by 17 yos. Watching for more informed advice.

skyblue11 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:16:00

All of her other friends parents are OK with it, but she says when will I let her? Unfortunately at 18 she can make her own decisions and I'm out of if, they're just so inexperienced on the road and I know how distracted they could get. I also know that RTA's are the biggest killer of 18-25 year olds.
It's really hard.....

janey68 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:16:04

It's understandable to worry but realistically before long they'll be adults and can do what they like anyway.

Reinforce all the right messages- never get in a car with someone who may have been drinking, or who drives too fast. But other than that: they will want to travel with friends and I think you just need to accept that you will worry but the worries will lessen as time goes by

skyblue11 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:17:33

Just to add, she says (rightly so) they passed their test so they are good drivers but I just add they have no road experience, speaking as an ex biker I know how bad the roads are...

carabos Thu 03-Oct-13 19:19:42

I wouldn't permit it either and didn't when DS2 and his mates passed.

Think on this - the Chief Constable of Wales (I think) stated publicly that he would much prefer his teenage daughter to walk home unaccompanied in the dead of night than get in a car with a new male driver of the same age, such is the relative danger.

janey68 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:20:04

I wouldn't go down the route of not permitting it for a 17 year old.
It's different if you're talking about a 14 or 15 yr old: you have much more authority over them and I wouldn't want my child of that age in a car with a 17 yr old

But I've never had much time for parents who think they can 'not permit ' things right up to the age of 18. It's really poor preparation for the second they turn 18 and can do whatever they like: go where they want, with whoever they want and come back when they want.
Far better to accept that freedom and responsibilties is a gradual thing

everlong Thu 03-Oct-13 19:20:10

I hear what you're saying OP and I would feel the same. The only consolation is that girls don't tend to show off and drive stupidly like some boys the same age do.

How would you stop her?

Maggietess Thu 03-Oct-13 19:20:54

Yanbu. My sister is significantly younger than me and I remember being panic stricken when she was that age so can only imagine how poor parents feel.
My parents had a rule that in the year a friend was on their "R"s then we were only allowed in the car if we were the sole passenger (ie not a crowd of giggling girls distracting the driver) and not at all to take lifts from these friends at night during that year. Bit embarrassing explaining it but it was fine really.
Actually I think they are changing/have changed the law here In NI something like that for nights. It's along the lines of no passengers outside family between 10pm and 7am.
Also as my dad had taught us to drive (as well as an instructor just before the test) and he had us sooo well drilled about safety and distraction I didn't tend to want to get in my friends cars as I could see they weren't all good drivers. Parents were happier for me to the driver than someone they didn't teach well.

homebythesea Thu 03-Oct-13 19:21:56

The harsh reality is that the biggest killer of teenage girls are the teenage drivers of cars they are in.

However as you say she is an adult and so you just have to hope that the good sense you have spent the last 18 years teaching her will come to the fore when out with her mates.

Won't stop you worrying though.

Seriously considering buying my teen a smart car so he won't be able to take passengers grin

skyblue11 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:22:23

Janey.....I have to make matters worse our neighbours daughter was in a really bad crash her friend was killed she was 'lucky' ended up being in a coma for months but thankfully is recovering...always at the back of my mind. On this occasion they got in a car with people they didn't know (I know, I know) but because these are her friends it's different, it's just the inexperience and I don't know when I'll feel right about it...

janey68 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:27:23

It must be all the worse if you know someone who's been involved in a horrible accident. But maybe this knowledge will help your dd be even more ultra careful?

I really do understand how anxious you must feel, but I still think not permitting something is just not the answer for 17 year olds . Young people need to hear the right messages and be given gradually increasing freedom. When they are 18 they may leave home; go off to Uni, do whatever the hell they like basically. It's ridiculous to think there is any value in controlling their movements up to then

Mandy2003 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:27:42

It's a shame we don't have the R plates mentioned in Northern Ireland here in the UK. It would make rules much easier to enforce. If the government could be bothered to implement rules to save lives, that is.

JGBMum Thu 03-Oct-13 19:27:48

No advice but wanted to sympathise. We were in the position of DS being the driver, as despite being one of the youngest in his group, he passed his test fairly quickly.
It is scary, I was always concerned that the passengers would distract him, and it's pretty rural where we are, so although there are street lights in town , within a few minutes you're driving on unlit country roads.

We generally tried to encourage DS to drive locally, and made sure that if he was going a bit of a distance, he had driven there before on his own in daylight.

Apart from insisting that we would drive him/them home from parties, there really wasn't much else we could do. But I was/am always more worried when he has friends in the car.

Do the police visit the school with the road safety roadshow? I think the videos in that are pretty graphic, and tend to be a sober reminder to take care.

skyblue11 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:27:53

I know I can't stop her, 17 or not, it's her decision but I'm so worried it's crazy. I've never been harsh on anything so it's not a case of her turning 18 and going mad....I think it gets harder being a parent as they get older not easier!!!

Quangle Thu 03-Oct-13 19:28:11

The other option homebythesea is to buy a second hand Volvo or something. This is the only wise thing I've ever heard Jeremy Clarkson say - that he wishes parents wouldn't buy cheap, tinny cars for their DCs thinking that they are bound to have scrapes so better to save the good car for later....he says it's better to buy something robust that might protect them if they misjudge something.

FlapJackOLantern Thu 03-Oct-13 19:28:32

My neighbours boys passed their tests at 17. One wrote off 3 cars within the first 6 months. The other wrote off 2. Says it all really.

phantomnamechanger Thu 03-Oct-13 19:29:09

I think parents need to educate their kids before they get to driving age TBH. Being able to make a judgement about whether someone is behaving responsibly, feeling confident enough to challenge a friend to slow down, turn the radio off, decline a lift if you feel unsafe etc are all important things.

we have had numerous fatal accidents round here involving speeding teens, cars racing/overtaking/showing off - all completely preventable

DDs school, is introducing some kind of PHSE programme about all these things this term - we had a letter home saying they realised it may be emotive for some families but that they hoped parents would still see the value of it.

silverten Thu 03-Oct-13 19:29:12

I was pondering this the other day. Don't know why, DD is only three!

I was thinking that applying the condition that the first instance of speeding/points on any of her friends parts would get instant withdrawal of privileges- so she simply wouldn't be allowed to give or receive lifts any more, or possibly for a longish period like six months.

Any speeding/points on her points and she'd lose the use of the car immediately. Reinstated only when she paid the extra insurance.

Was wondering how realistic that would be to actually apply...

ZiaMaria Thu 03-Oct-13 19:33:11

The government ran a campaign a while ago to warn teenage girls that they were more likely to be killed as a passenger in a teenagers car than in any other way. Maybe you can find the adverts on the Internet and make sure she has seen them?

skyblue11 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:33:29

I am worried as one friend was taking pics of her friend whilst driving and snapchatting to the others 'look who's driving' but my DD said she wasn't aware she was being photographed.
She can see my point of view but feels embarrassed to decline a lift because of her daft mum!

JGBMum Thu 03-Oct-13 19:33:30

FlapJack - my boys have been driving for 3 years, and for 1 year. Neither has do much as scratched the car. Please don't assume all young (male) drivers will be irresponsible.

Fairylea Thu 03-Oct-13 19:34:25

My dd is only 10 so I have a while to worry about this but I can completely understand how worried you must be. There are lots of teenage drivers in our rural village and sometimes they do drive like maniacs and it scares the living daylights out of me. I honestly wish they'd raise the age for driving, I think very few 17/18 year olds have the understanding of the fact they are effectively behind the wheel of a serious weapon.

I think when dd gets to that sort of age I will make sure she always knows she can rely on me to pay a taxi fare at the other end instead of her accepting a lift from a drunk friend or one who drives dangerously. I would hope and pray she has the sense to make the right choices with things like this.

skyblue11 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:34:29

Zia, yes she has seen all this stuff, they ran a graphic film at school but I think as it's her girlfriends who are sensible she thinks it will be different

skyblue11 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:36:03

I would rather fetch her myself than her be at risk but like others have pointed out she'll be at uni soon.....scary scary times to be a parent, not enjoying this phase at all

StickEmUp Thu 03-Oct-13 19:38:15

Is it just the age or the new driver part? I'm a new driver but then again I'm 30 smile

JustinBsMum Thu 03-Oct-13 19:41:54

Depends on the friends imo.

Ime my DCs were fully aware of no drink driving laws and stuck to that rigidly, are the friends likely to not keep to the rules? They also stuck to speed limits, in fact were very sensible.

Also she must always wear seatbelt, so no overcrowding of car allowed.

And do all their cars have 2 front air bags? Sometimes old bangers didn't - only the drivers side !!! But that might have changed nowadays.

skyblue11 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:48:10

The car's are nearly always small lightweights, they have to be to afford the insurance which is sad...but a fact

skyblue11 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:52:20

StickEmUp....both I think, and just what the basic facts are, also there are always more accidents the week that the clocks go back, some people don't adjust to the dark and driving. I'm just wracked with anxiety about the whole thing but I don't want to be a party pooper!

littlewhitebag Thu 03-Oct-13 19:53:02

It would depend on who was doing the driving. When my DD was 17 two of her friends passed their tests but they were both careful drivers and sensible girls. It didn't stop me from worrying but i didn't stop her from going. I still worry when she drives anywhere even though she is now 21. I don't think you ever stop worrying.

Topseyt Thu 03-Oct-13 19:54:39

I absolutely understand this. It has been on my mind for some time. My eldest daughter is now 18 and has just gone off to uni. She hasn't yet learned to drive because paying for the lessons and also for the insurance has been a problem, but a number of her friends have. She will learn herself when she gets a part time job.

She has been out with some of her friends driving, and the first few times I was absolutely having kittens, but at her age I do have to let it happen. They were all girls, and I happen to know them. They are ultra-sensible on the road and I have never heard of any of them breaking "the rules" as far as I am concerned - i.e. no drink driving, no speeding.

I really do know how you feel though. When my daughter was 14 she asked to go out with a friend of hers who had a 17 year old boyfriend who had just passed his driving test and wanted to take them out. I said a firm NO to that one, and would again too. But at 18 now, not that much older than your daughter, she is away from home and making her own decisions. It is hard. Very hard. But I have no influence anymore and have to hope she remains sensible enough to make the right ones.

Bowlersarm Thu 03-Oct-13 19:55:37

I can't see whether you have said whether she is learning to drive?

LittleMissWise Thu 03-Oct-13 19:56:04

My neighbours boys passed their tests at 17. One wrote off 3 cars within the first 6 months. The other wrote off 2. Says it all really.

DS1 is 18. He and all his friends can drive, most passed their tests at least a year ago. Not one has written a car off yet. I don' think one of them has even had an accident tbh.

DS1 has done PassPlus. He is a good, confident driver. I have no problem with him driving DS2 around. He sometimes drives his friends home at 3-4am, sometimes they drive.

I have to say this, and I drive DS2 to school every day so get stuck behind see a lot of 17 year old drivers, the vast majority of them round here adhere to the speed limit. They can only get 6 points in the first two years, then their licence is revoked. They have to reapply for their provisional, retake their theory and practical test. That is a risk most of them, I know anyway, don't want to take.

When I look at some of the old people on the roads, and the way some people on here say they drive, I would much rather get in the car with a young driver.

LittleMissWise Thu 03-Oct-13 20:01:31

Sorry, my post is meant to read if they get 6 points in the first 2 years!

Talking and typing is not good for me!

specialsubject Thu 03-Oct-13 20:02:36

you can't stop her, as mentioned. But the idea that they are good drivers because they have passed their test is laughable. Almost everyone you see on the road has passed their test. They tailgate, they brake/accelerate/brake, they jabber on the phone or text..terrifying.

new drivers are not much worse but they tend to be bad, faster. Boys have a 1 in 4 chance of a BIG crash in the first year. That is a flowers-on-a-tree crash.

no, of course they aren't all crap - but your daughter needs to learn to be a defensive passenger. 4 kids in a car is a massive risk due to showing off and lack of concentration.

skyblue11 Thu 03-Oct-13 20:08:12

Defensive passenger?I am sure she'd be assertive enough to say slow down or turn the music down but....
I think the type of friends she has aren't likely to be daft and show off it's just they are inexperienced and there isn't a right time when ill feel right about it really, I guess it's another thing to get used to...I'm sure my parents didn't worry about me like this, then again I wasn't in that position at 17

peppermum Thu 03-Oct-13 20:09:50

My niece was being driven by a friend at the age of 19. The driver got into a silly race with an ex-boyfriend on a duel carriageway, the car overturned and my niece died.

My DS is 17 and learning to drive. I want him to be master of his own destiny and not relying on other people for lifts.

Doesn't stop me worrying though..

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 03-Oct-13 20:17:36

I sympathise, it is a worry, it takes a long time to relax when they reach 17 and are off.

I worried when my DCs first passed their tests, I worried when their friends started turning up to collect them but tbh, more than any times being driven by or as passengers in friends' cars, when one of my DCs drove the other anywhere, I was nearly having kittens, suppose they crash? What if....?

Yet they are both sensible drivers and a lot of their driving was confined to round town, 30mph - 40mph at most, often 20mph. They weren't likely to show off in our runabout and unruly passengers got dropped off if they were even allowed onboard.

I have moved to a new area, I have been driving 20+ years and today I felt out of my depth for the first time since passing. My reactions are slower than DCs I expect.

When DH learned to drive he didn't have to wear a seatbelt and of course no airbags then.

Keep vehicles maintained and trust in your DCs' ability.

NoComet Thu 03-Oct-13 20:31:21

YANBU
But a no passenger rule in rural areas would be ignored just as much as the MW speed limit.

I certainly will continue taxi service duties as much as possible, but there will come a time when the DDs learn to drive themselves and I have to accept that.

I went from a very rural area with one set of hazards to a huge city with a whole raft of new ones. Roads had two lanes for a start confused.

I bought an AtoZ and I drove round and round and round on a quiet Sunday, until I knew which lane to be in to get into the car park and how to get back to my flat (not trivial it was awfully sign posted and required grossing three lanes of traffic at the back of the station) I quickly learned taxis have no manners.

I had a ball, DDad, back home must have been worried sick. Giving me the car was an act of faith that I'd be safer driving myself, than accepting lifts or using the night bus.

That's what parenting is, having faith in our DCs and learning to trust them, it isn't always easy.

MummyofIsla Thu 03-Oct-13 20:34:44

I personally think you just have to trust your DD to be sensible. My sister is 18 and when she passed her test my parents were exactly the same but in the end she is a sensible girl who knows about the dangers, as i'm sure your DD does too.

Plomino Thu 03-Oct-13 20:34:52

My son is currently learning to drive . A lot of his friends have either passed and have their own car , it being very rural here , or are learning . I'm not particularly happy about it to be honest . The roads round here are very unforgiving if you make a mistake , with very big ditches either side and very uneven surfaces . Couple that with over confidence , and lack of experience , and accidents are bound to happen . One of his friends died , overtaking in the fog and hitting an oncoming lorry . DS1 was part of the guard of honour at his funeral . Another 18 year old died in our village when he hit a dip in the road doing 70mph , flipped the car and ended up upside down in a field .

I've dealt with a few horrific accidents involving young drivers over the last twenty years , including one that died in my lap despite us doing everything we could to keep him going. The worst bit that upsets me to this day , was his mum turning to me at the inquest and thanking me for making sure her son wasn't alone . So the thought of me being that mother is a fear that's always there for me right now.

In the last year I've made use of every lift I've given DS1 ( and that's a lot!) to explain about hazard perception , about driving in different road conditions , and about how 'red mist' can cloud our judgement . I've tried to pass on a lot of the wisdom I was taught from my driving courses , of which the most important thing we are taught over and over and over , is that no call is urgent enough to justify an accident . I translate that into 'better late than never' . It sounds boring as hell , but we've had some interesting conversations . I just hope it works .

I suspect my dad felt exactly the same way . I know that he never slept at night until I came home once I'd got my licence , but he never let on. I think it's a leap of faith , but its not easy . Not at all .

MummyofIsla Thu 03-Oct-13 20:36:35

In my experience (as a pretty wild teenager not so long ago) the more you try to protect her the more she is going to try her luck. Better to just be supportive and explain to her your worries.

And hey if she's off to uni soon (again from personal expereince having only graduated in June) this will be the least of your worries. My mum used to phone me every night to make sure I made it home from the pub alive wink

GetWhatYouNeed Thu 03-Oct-13 20:37:18

It's another one of the worrying things you have to let your chidren do as they grow up. My children have summer birthdays so learned to drive later than their friends and to be honest I was mightily relieved when they could drive themselves rather than have lifts with friends. I used to ask them what their opinion was of friends' driving and kept reiterating that they should never get in a car with anyone whose driving made them feel unsafe.

I told them that if they were ever concerned that a friend had been drinking they must phone me and I would pick them up. Actually the friends seemed to be safe drivers and drink driving or speeding was never an issue.

It's a terrifying thing but just something you have to get used to. When mine started driving by themselves I used to make them text me when they had got wherever they were going and when they were setting off home. I was less panicky with my second child but drummed in to both of them that if they speeded or had an accident that was their fault the cars would be taken away from them. They are both good drivers and DS car insurance has dropped from over 2500 to £450 due to 2 years no claims.

StickEmUp Thu 03-Oct-13 20:41:22

Sky Okay cool.

Well I don't have kids and alot of posters share your concerns so there are some I imagine (from someone not in your position)

I remember having motorway lessons and this was a couple of weeks after I passed.

when just pulling away from my motorway lesson I realsied I wasn't 'feeding the wheel' and I told him!

He said 'well I didn't notice because I am texting'

We were not on the motorway yet and this is a man who saw me cry etc a few short weeks before.

But after passing, he thought of me as a driver and only really woke up on my lesson when it was the motorway.

so I think, well he's passed so must be okay.

then again, I hate having to talk to passengers, I like my music on and just me!

goodasitgets Thu 03-Oct-13 20:44:44

I passed at 17. Was given an old car and basically if I kept it nice, had no points, no accidents, not so much as a parking ticket I got another car - that incentive worked!
My dad always said if I was in a car no matter where I was and I was scared or they were driving too fast or any reason I was unhappy, to get out as soon as I could and he would get me
Tbh I am the sensible one and the only one that hasn't crashed. I have told someone to slow down, they wouldn't, so I got out at the traffic lights because I felt unsafe
A lot of it is gut instinct, how are they driving, how are they taking the corners? And not loads of screamy passengers and loud music

EugenesAxe Thu 03-Oct-13 20:48:52

YANBU in my opinion. My mate was an actuary and showed me this death rates chart that had a swelling around 17-25 before dropping off again - he casually said 'that's the accident and suicide bump'.

Having said that... you kind of just need to let fate take its course. I've had two near potential-death crashes (ie. I didn't crash but had to swerve and if anyone had been in the swerve pathway I'd have probably died), and I've done some other stupid car-related things.

Whenever I have those stupid night-worries about the DCs (only 3 and 1!), and imagine them having car related deaths, organ donation is about the only thing that keeps me going.

Beastofburden Thu 03-Oct-13 20:57:54

My only advice is to make sure she is the driver. So get her through her test and buy her a Volvo. If you offer to pay the fuel and buy her a cute car they will all use it fast enough.

This is what all my more rural friends have done. I haven't only as Ds1 doesn't need lifts given where we live.

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