Expect an accident. But give your children an edge to help with the fender benders. It's a great responsibility and a very exciting moment, driving for the first time. There is a lot to learn about Anti-Lock Brakes, air bags, defensive driving and distractions.
#1 My sons learn to drive.
I remember when I was 10 years old driving tractors, our "53” Ford and then on to the 2-ton "47” Chevy truck. Clutches were fun. Dad called my learning curve, " jackrabbit starts.” There were a few times when we hauled bales from the field, I was driving, dad and my brother were loading the bales as I drove along with the "Graves bale loader.” Some of my, "jackrabbit starts,” flipped my brother off the back of the truck 7 bales high! He was not happy with his little brother. This might have been one of the reasons I went to big round bales when I had the farm, along with sandburs, cockleburs and rattlesnakes stuck in the little bales. But I was glad I learned to drive on the farm with all the room in the pasture to practice. My sons learned to drive in the same pastures and fields as me. They discovered the same things about clutches. I think I yelled at them the same as my dad. We all want our kids to be safe and driving is a very dangerous thing. Especially when we are young and prone to showing off. My boys followed me in the small pickups, (Ranger, Mazda,) behind the tractor and baler. This makes the top speed of 18 MPH following a tractor, a good speed to learn and daydream. Some of the dirt road hills did test the clutch skills and "jackrabbit starts.” A few times of turning corners seamed challenging, watching the boys drive straight into the ditch instead of the turn. Watching my boys drive the "77” Chevy dually, was always fun. It took both of them to push in the clutch just to start it. The ole Chevy had a 4.55 rear axle ratio, so it did take off well. But I use to love to watch my boy's heads bob up and down above the steering wheel as they pushed in the clutch. They next battle was my oldest son's 70 Malibu. The gears were very close and 1rst gear was hard to find, but he did find all the gears especially the go fast one.
#2 A pickup holds very few friends.
Especially a regular cab truck, with only three seat belts, makes it hard to fill it full of friends. Not to mention no back seat, which can create all kinds of havoc. Trucks don't usually have the top speed of a muscle car. I know from experience that no matter how many speeches you give your kids, they try to find the cars top speed when given the chance. That might explain why my dad bought a 6-cylinder in my first car instead of a V-8. I managed to get that car to 90 MPH though! As mentioned earlier my oldest son's Malibu, after he found all the gears, reached the top end once or twice. After that he had to save up his money for a new engine. But the cars my sons had, seem to hold their whole high school class! I don't understand it. But a pickup especially one with a floor shift held a lot less friends.
#3 The College move.
And the move from college dorm to apartment to apartment and someday a house is where the truck has no equal. I lost track of how many times we moved before our second son was born. Your children can also be very popular with a truck and the ability to help their classmates with college events. You've all heard of the company "Two Students and a Truck.” There you go, the part time job, besides delivering papers, pizza and the lawn mower. The insurance cost is generally lower for a pickup than a muscle car and it looks better than a 4 door family car to their friends.
#4 The truck that lasts forever.
If your children don't trade off their trusty truck, it could last for your grandchildren. I have had some 30-year-old trucks. Pickup trucks are a body on frame construction. The frames hold the body together, give it strength and contain the impact in an accident. The sheet metal is usually thicker on a truck than a car. Also the resale is generally better for a truck than a car. I recommend a full size truck, (Ford F150, Dodge 1500, GM 1500, Toyota Tundra,) this size gives you the protection and capacity. If your kids keep the truck, they are always needed for hauling carpet, appliances, wood, garage sales, and lawn mowers. Oh hey, they could bring their lawn mowers over to your house when you are too old to mow or at least when you are retired and running around in your RV.
Just for safety reasons, the pickup trucks generally are above the crowd of cars, giving you better visibility and an advantage in an accident. In the big city where I live now, I see kids constantly in accidents. It's not an easy task driving and growing up. I wish all kids could learn in the pasture that I did. MT
Author H. Kent Sundling writes for AgWeb.com via a special agreement withMrTruck.com.