Watch out, there’s a teen at the wheel

Does my teenager’s driving instructor realise what he’s taking on? asks Jo Malone

“I didn’t hit anything,” says number one daughter Sunny, with great excitement as she comes through the door.

“Nothing at all? No cars, people, posts, banks, nothing?’ I check.

We both have a little joyous jump up and down.

Sunny’s back from her first driving lesson and we’re delighted nothing came to grief during that 90 minutes.

She’s not known for her road sense, or ability to steer anything.

Quad-biking is a never to be repeated experience after a sudden U-turn on a bumpy field while chasing Grandma, at least, we think that’s what she was doing, (she’s doesn’t really remember so the story of her scars can never really be told) and she must be the only cyclist who can go to such lengths to get out of a car’s way that she either hits hedges, falls into big potholes, rides up banks and falls off in front of the car or suddenly stops in the middle of the road, throws her bike down and runs away.

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Snowboards, skateboards, scooters, Mario Kart, not so bad; but as there are no mini wheeled cars we’ve found, she needs to drive. She’s sick of our once an hour and not-after-7pm buses, and us having to pile the girls in the car every time she needs to go out is wearing increasingly thin. Her car-driving friends are amazing at lift offering, but she needs to get involved in the rota.

Rather like finishing her Duke of Edinburgh Awards, learning to drive is often mentioned as part of the ‘and another thing’ type conversations with Sunny at home, usually following the ‘when will you learn to….?’

She’s booked a lesson with someone recommended by a friend. It doesn’t start well, he’s half an hour late and reckons he couldn’t find us. He looks a bit scared of me too, especially when he says he found number 3 and I point out that number 1 (us) is normally pretty jolly close to a number 3 (we’re attached) and that our house number is only partially obscured by a rose bush.

Then he takes about eight attempts to back out of the drive without hitting the gate or the bank opposite. It’s not looking good and I’m waving my teenager off with him.

She’s gone for what seems absolutely ages and I’m starting to imagine what could be happening.

The relief when she’s back is fantastic, and the news of no collisions, remarkable.

She’s even driven past parked cars, and had cars coming from the opposite direction and she didn’t drive up the bank.

What’s more, the car has a button-operated handbrake, she’s so impressed.

She’s booked another lesson.

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