28 May 2022

20 things your parents said when teaching you how to drive

It is a rite of passage in Ireland

20 things your parents said when teaching you how to drive

20 things your parents said when teaching you how to drive

Learning to drive is a nerve-racking experience for most people, but you can be sure it is even more daunting for the parents teaching you – not that they'd let on. These are the 20 things every Irish parent said to their children when teaching them how to drive.

1. Don't be nervous, now...
Your father says this as he absolutely straps himself into the seatbelt in the passenger seat beside you, beads of sweat bubbling onto his forehead in anticipation.

2. Wait for the bite...
Mastering the clutch will be the death of you or your mother before this lesson is over. She'll drill the bite into you until you've got the hang of it, then have another panic attack when you attempt your first hill start.

3. You just do your own thing now...
Reassuring you not to worry about other drivers who are getting frustrated with you on the road. 'Bullies they are.' Your mother will say this while her eyes are out on sticks looking for possible dangers coming her way. 

4. Woe, woe, woe...
You've become a little bit too brave and tipped over 20 miles an hour. Your beleaguered mother or father is up to ninety beside you and they respond with the amount of panic befitting anyone whose life is flashing before their 20 miles an hour!

5. Relax, would ya?
You've bitten back at the constant drone of 'woe' every two seconds, the grabbing of the steering wheel, handbrake, the handle over the door....and yet they suggest you should relax. Your father is developing high pressure as he speaks!

6. Progress...
They've worn you down to a snail's pace and are now hammering home the concept of progress. 'They could fail you for dilly-dallying at a roundabout, sure. No bother to them!'

7. What about your mirrors?
They'll say this sarcastically when you become a bit lax about breaking your neck, swivelling your head toward either mirror. 'Is the middle one alright? Sure you can't see out of that at all.'

8. I thought he was going to pull out...
Your father has completely yanked the handbrake as you proceed to pull out of a crossroads. Last minute panic ensues and then this is his weary excuse. He might even lob in a sarcastic 'You're welcome' as if he's just saved your life. 

9. You're panicking...
Fresh from nearly dying at the crossroads, you're worked up now. You're revving too high, grinding gears and then you're met with this pearl of wisdom. 'There's no need to bite my head off – I'm only helping.'

10. Let him do his thing...
Your father has resigned himself to dying of a heart attack during this lesson and decides to give this advice at every turn so as to avoid any potential brushes with death.

11. Don't mind him, you're doing your own thing...
A follow up to number 10. As you wait at a junction for 20 minutes before pulling out (letting other people do their thing on the main road), the guy in the car behind you has understandably become very worked up and is blowing the horn and everything. Your mother is quick with a bit of reassurance as she scowls at him through the back window, pointing (eyebrows raised) at the 'L' plates.

12. You're too close...
You've finally pulled out, and still have the disgruntled driver behind you, so you speed up a little bit so as not to annoy him further. You get within a parish length of the car in front and you're accosted once more. 'You'll be up the back of him next.'

13. 3rd gear is lovely...
Your mother regrets ever telling you the car has five gears because your aim has now become to get to fifth as quickly as possible. 'We're in a town, love, there's no need for fifth at all - just nice and steady.'

14. Did you you see him, now...
You pull out onto a main road and there is the faintest speck of something resembling another car coming in the distance. It's time for another lecture. 'You're a chancer, do you know that?'

15. You're going a bit hard...
A snide comment when your speed becomes cause for concern again. Your aul lad glares over at you and begins glancing his eyes from you to the speedometre until you calm down and bring her back to a steady 30km/h.

16. They'll do ya for observation...
'It'd be more in your mind now to look in your mirrors and stop waving at every young one we pass. All it takes is a second and they'll catch you out. Expect the unexpected, did ya ever hear that one before?'

17. The middle one!
Not an indecent suggestion for you to get your own back on an impatient driver! They want you to brake and so will repeat this hysterically until the brake is the only pedal you can think of. 'It wouldn't kill you to tip it every once in a while – Jazus my legs are like jelly.'

18. Good, that's good, lovely...very good...

Finally, a bit of praise! This is the running commentary as you reverse around the corner. You're looking over the shoulder, out the window, stopping halfway round, and just as you're coming to stop....'Ah, you see, you lost it a bit there at the end, didn't ya?' They can't help getting the boot in. 

19. Turn down the radio for Jazus sake!

You're living your dream of cruising along listening to tunes but are brought back to earth with a wallop. 'Where's the knob thingy to turn it off?' When it's eventually silent, you'll get the lecture that a car is a serious thing, 'a weapon in fact,' and clearly the radio is the devil, and you're just a fool with no sense.

20. Your father can take you out the next time!
Your mother needs a glass of wine or a Xanax or something after enduring the lesson and she's having no more of it. 'I try to help you and what thanks do I get – nothing only abuse!'

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