You cannot talk to someone of your equal in age and intellect like they are a child. That is teaching 101. You can always tell a child to stand in a corner, good luck doing that with an adult. So you can imagine how people reacted when I told them I was teaching my girlfriend (now wife) how to drive. It is like a secret taboo no one tells you about because they do not think anyone is stupid enough to do it.
Truth is, teaching my significant other how to drive was not that daunting of a task. But that could be because my significant other is surprisingly easy going behind the wheel. However, people are incredibly scared of teaching their significant other how to drive, which may be a more common thing to happen since people are getting their driver’s license later in life. So I may be touching some territory that no one really talks about that may be addressing a growing concern.
It Will Be Easier Than The Norm
Teaching anyone how to drive was never easy. When you teach teenagers how to drive they are either fully defensive or fully reckless with little in between. It is difficult to teach teenagers how to drive, that is why there are hundreds of blogs about that. Believe it or not, but a little maturity goes a long way. I think my future wife gave me much less grief when I taught her how to drive than I gave my parents when they taught me how to drive as a teenager. (Thank you mom and dad!)
Take a deep breath if you are teaching your significant other how to drive. It will all but certainly be easier to teach your significant other how to drive than a teenager.
You Cannot Treat Your Significant Other Like A Kid
When you were a kid, have you ever noticed that your parents act differently around others than yourself. There is a good reason. Parents have an authority over their children that is incomparable to any other type of authority. Therefore, parents can act differently around their kids than others. To illustrate that point, have you ever brought up what parents said or did while you were a kid and jaws would drop while you are ignorant to how abnormal your upbringing was.
The only reason you should talk to your significant other like they are a child is if you want them to leave you. This is something that cannot be trained in a simple blog post. You must talk with your significant other pretty much exactly like you do normally.
You may be thinking you do not have good social skills. If you have a significant other and you belong in the millennial generation like me, trust me your social skills are at least above average. Otherwise, you would not have a significant other. Talk to them about driving like you would talk to them about how to cook or whatever else you just talk about.
Let Them Take Charge
If you are teaching your significant other how to drive you must note that you are trusting them with your life. They are literally handling a machine that kills more people than guns. And the latter was engineered to kill, the former was engineered not to. Think about that.
It makes no sense to teach someone how to drive if you do not trust them with your life. If you cannot trust you significant other with your life, do not teach them how to drive. If you are already well past that stage you should trust their judgement. When your significant other is driving a specific way, your default should be to believe that they are doing it for a reason. When you are driving, you are paying attention to the road and taking in many factors as you drive. Your significant other is doing the exact same thing.
If they want to switch lanes, let them. If they want to slow down for some reason, let them. Of course, stop them if they are about to cause an accident. But if what they are doing will not cause an accident why stop them? As the teacher and not the driver, you are not tasked with knowing the road nor watching out for the many factors on the road. Your significant other is. If they are doing something then it is probably for a good reason for it. You may do it differently. If you really want it done that way though, you would just do it yourself.
Even the most experienced drivers hate backseat drivers. Why would inexperienced drivers like back seat drivers any more than experienced drivers?
Laugh When The Occasion Arises
Even if your significant other is a better driver than you (which I would argue my wife is a better driver), there will be many times that warrant a laugh or few hundred. Take these as they come they are a gift that will relieve stress.
The time this happened was when the my then future wife and I were driving up the PA Turnpike. We saw one of the last things any driver wants to see: a cop car speeding towards us in our rear view mirrors. You probably experienced this before so you can imagine how my future wife felt when she saw this. We were going somewhat over the speed limit.
She started to panic and I told her this was a learning opportunity so she can learn how to properly be pulled over by the cops. I was telling her how she needed to keep driving until the cop would pull up and turn on their lights. Then I told her when that happens she needs to turn on her four way lights.
Before I could tell her that after that she would need to pull over the cop pulled behind a black car that was fairly well behind us. The black car turned on their four way lights and was pulled over.
I laughed. When I was done and wiped the tears of amusement from my eyes my future wife made an angry pout that was almost cartoon-ish.
My girlfriend: “It’s not funny.”
Me: “It’s hilarious.”
My girlfriend: “I almost had a heart attack, why didn’t you tell me that the cop wasn’t gonna pull me over.”
Me: “I didn’t know, that’s why I’m laughing so hard.”
She pretty much never speeds.
Driving is one of the most dangerous things you will ever do. In fact it is the 5th most likely way to die. Laugh at the funny moments and it will seem less dangerous.
It is stressful to teach anyone how to drive. However, teaching your significant other how to drive is not likely to be any more stressful than teaching a teenager how to drive.
Ultimately, the stress produced by teaching my future wife how to drive came almost entirely from me. She knew how to handle a car and was able to maintain mental stability while driving. I would say that if you trust your significant other to drive you around in a machine that is literally more lethal than a firearm, you trust them to keep at least some semblance of mental stability as they drive. And admittedly, the key to driving is mental stability.
So as long as you are fine next to your significant other while driving, they will be too. When you realize that, 90% of teaching your significant other how to drive is literally sitting back and shutting up about their driving.