Lordy, Lordy, Driving Up I-40 (with a teenager at the wheel!)

Lucy driving

Number 2 got her driver’s permit this week.


There are so many times I look at being a father and think, I’m going to miss this so much when they grow up.

I’m not thinking that with this particular task.  I HATE riding with people who don’t know how to drive!

After our two and a half hour visit to DMV (nah, we didn’t even have to take the driving test, and it took that long), I had a choice to make.  I could toss her behind the wheel immediately, or I could let her bask in her glory and put off the pain ‘til later.  I compromised.

I just couldn’t get the courage to let her drive down Wake Forest Road in Raleigh on the way home.  The lanes are as wide as the Food Lion ketchup aisle; even I grip the wheel a little tighter when riding by the TGI Fridays.  Instead, I drove a bit closer to the house and pulled over to switch seats.  That took 15 minutes.  Since there is a good foot between our heights, every mirror and seat setting had to be massively adjusted.  And, I had to remind her to put the car in drive – which is so very important.

After the switch, we headed up a fairly steep hill.  The car behind us was on our tail, because we were going 7 miles per hour.

“Give it some gas baby! Your grandparents are expecting us for Thanksgiving dinner, and we don’t want to be late.”

I understand the potential frustration of those driving nearby.  And yet, I don’t think they get the danger that abounds.  I want a Driver’s Ed sign on the top of my car so that there is an excuse for our roadway behavior.

We were driving down Wade Avenue to church this morning, and Stephanie was using the curbs like bumper cars.  There is more passenger side tire on the curbs in the 27607 zip code than there is on my car!  Why must she drive so close to the curb?  She practicing for a career as a street sweeper?

I never realized how difficult merging could be.   I think her Driver’s Ed teacher chickened out and spent the whole six hours they rode together in an empty warehouse parking lot.  Clearly he failed to make her road ready.

Yesterday I pondered two options for how we could get home.  I chose the one that went closest to the hospital.  The thought literally went through my head: which street would I most prefer to die on?  Lake Boone Trail or Edward’s Mill Road?  Well, Lake Boone is closer to the hospital, and we likely won’t clog up as much traffic there.  Plus, there is a Starbucks, perhaps I could pass through on my way up to heaven – offer Simon Peter a cup o joe… just in case.

I slept on my shoulder wrong last week and have had a massive crick in my neck for eight days.  I think it’s getting a bit better, and then I get in the car with my adolescent chauffeur.   Before we’re out of the driveway, my neck is so stiff I can’t nod.

Plus, she’s teeny!  Too teeny to drive.  She looks like the “Where’s the beef” lady from the old Wendy’s commercials.

I had my Sunday School class put us on the prayer list.  I’m not sure if we are going to die in an accident or if we’re going to kill each other in the process of trying to learn to drive.  Either way, things don’t look good in the Tanner household.

Leave a comment


  1. Good luck! Or do what my dad did and just plain old refuse to teach me.

  2. Fran Yohman

     /  July 22, 2015

    Hang in there, Stephanie. He will adjust!

    Fran Y

  3. Mom

     /  July 22, 2015

    I’m with you, Bo. Practice drivers unnerve me! Sometimes you unnerve me too when you are whizzing around curved roads at 70 miles an hour…especially in the mountains. Maybe you could find a speedway to rent until you get used to her being behind the wheel.

  4. I love your blogs! You’re soooo funny and your writing brightens my day.

  5. Wake Forest Road is like the purgatory of driving. Until you get further down towards Falls and then the congestion isn’t so bad. I hate driving down there myself, even at 30 years old.

    Send her down Capital Blvd for a truly enlightening experience. Or if you reallllyyy have a death wish. OR if you want to hear early road rage fly from her mouth.


    • Danny Tanner

       /  July 22, 2015

      We ain’t going down old wake forest road until I can no longer drive myself.

  6. Mel Ham

     /  July 22, 2015

    Are you cussing yet in the car with her? It is involuntary….driving Cam to the singing christmas tree carrying other good choir boys they heard me curse being scared to death one Sunday night…..it is what it is….I took a xanax when he drove to your house due to construction and narrow lanes on 40 at the downtown exits….

  7. YES! YES!! YES!!! My soon to be 16-year old daughter is barely five feet tall, and I feel like I’m driving with a 12-year old when I’m in the passenger seat. She’s not allowed to pull into the garage yet because she might end up in the family room, and I always bang my knee on the steering wheel when I jump in to drive the last 20 feet of our trip into the crowded garage. She smiles and shrugs and says, “oops – – sorry.” I’m almost getting to the point of looking forward to being able to hand her the keys and send her on her way. (Gasp! Did I really say that?!) She’s determined to get her license on her 16th b-day, so I have less than 3 months to impart all my driving wisdom to her — I just hope she doesn’t get pulled over for looking like a 12-year old!!

  8. hahahaha it reminded me of me

  9. 😂😂😂

  10. Aunt Susan

     /  July 24, 2015

    Don’t you remember what it was like with the 1st one? you wuss, by the time #3 gets to it you should be the instructor! And I agree with your Mom renting a speedway is a good idea.
    Raleigh is tough to learn in. At least you don’t have a garage! I took out the whole frame one time!
    Luck and just ignore him kiddo

    • Danny Tanner

       /  July 25, 2015

      why am I not surprised that you took out a garage???

  11. Pam Burnette

     /  July 27, 2015

    I love reading your blog because I can relate so well. Our daughter is also driving with her permit and everything you said is so true!! 🙂

  12. Great blog, I will look forward to reading more:)


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