I’m a little disappointed with myself because of the first thought I had as I woke up on this first morning of twenty-ten. I might have hoped for something I couldn’t put into print here, but I guess my thinking does indeed prove that I’m a car freak.
And a weird one, at that.
I woke up this morning thinking about the requirements to get a drivers’ license in the U.S. Boring, right?
I guess that was spurred by two recent comments on this blog, one from Dalton, a 14-year-old who doesn’t want the driving age increased to 18 (I think it’s a good idea) and one from zerrath, who wondered why the U.S. doesn’t have stricter licensing requirements.
Most European countries require new drivers to be 18 before they can get a license. If the U.S. is going to keep its 16-year-old requirement, I think tougher driving classes and stricter requirements are in order.
Rather than just skimming over the basics of making left turns and how to parallel park, why not teach teens how to actually drive a car? I’m not talking about a performance driving school, I just think we should take some extra time to teach them the basics of what cars can do (and how to react when their limits are accidentally exceeded).
Being a driver means being an extension of a car, and learning to handle it in all situations. Why not require student drivers to spend some time on the skid pad and learn to control a car in slippery conditions? Why not put student drivers in controlled adverse conditions so they can properly learn how to avoid accidents?
I think adding requirements like that would give teen drivers confidence and ultimately result in fewer accidents. Plus, what teen driver wouldn’t want to spend time on a track learning how to properly control a car and even attempting to drift around a high-speed corner?
Since the odds of increasing the driving age to 18 aren’t good, I’d compromise by adding some tougher driving requirements to the licensing process. And I’m pretty sure most teens would even look forward to learning how to actually become a good driver, as opposed to just learning how to move a car up and down the road.
Are the requirements to get a driver’s license in the U.S. strict enough? I say we actually teach our kids how to drive!