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My daughter just turned 17, the age when she could now get a student’s permit even without a notarized parental consent and be let loose on the streets. I’m both glad and scared.

I felt nostalgic since my late Dad taught me how to drive at the same age. How he must have felt uneasy teaching me, a hard-headed rebel who had the wildest of imaginations with the wits and will to make crazy things happen. He probably lost some sleep and hair the moment he handed me the keys of his well-loved red Mitsubishi Galant.

I guess I have it easy (crossing my fingers). I have no issues with my daughter, who consistently gets straight As without me lifting a finger or nagging her to study. She is joyful like the Dad, responsible, and no way near doing the crazy things I have done at her age (knock on wood). I guess it is true; a delinquent mom can produce responsible offspring.

Her father, JP Tuason, a former racer driver, has been teaching his daughter around the village. He is well equipped to take a task since he is a professional, teaching people how to race and be better drivers. How does a race car driver teach her daughter how to drive? With both driving lessons and his extensive experience of how boys behave. You see, you reap what you sow. But kidding aside, I have reflected and thought of the lessons I want to teach my daughter Alysha for me to say that I have done my job. Since driving signifies a big step into independence and leaving the warmth of your parents’ wings, In short, there are things you can hide from my watchful eyes. I want to share with you some lessons my husband and I have imparted on our daughter.

From Dad

1) Always keep your car in fighting form. A clean vehicle, up-to-date maintenance, and complete tools will prepare you for the surprises on the road. Wars are not won by numbers alone; they are won by how many real soldiers you bring.

2) Expect the Worst and hope for the best. Thinking that the people around you do not know how to drive will make you a more defensive driver. With this kind of mindset, you will likely have faster reflexes on the surprises the road has in store for you.

3) Don’t be afraid to drive at your own pace, to stop or follow someone. A few honked horns is not the end of the world, especially if you feel certain hesitation. Getting into an accident (no matter who is at fault) should be avoided at all costs because it’s a hassle. When driving at night or when it is raining, follow another vehicle within a safe distance to learn from their journey and light/guide yours.

From Mom

1.    Don’t take it personally. I had road rage when I was younger. I felt slighted by people overtaking me, thinking they did that because I was a woman. I realized that it was just in my mind. It was a mindset that I had. Accepting that other drivers’ actions are beyond your control and how you react is the only thing you have power over, choose not to let things upset you.

2.    Trust your instincts. One of the biggest issues women have is overthinking. Driving is muscle memory and reflexes. And how your mind and body (instincts) will react is usually correct. But sometimes, your gut feel is covered with layers of imagined concerns. Always ask yourself how do I simplify this or how am I complicating this.

3.    It pays to have a plan. Knowing where to go makes the trip easier. All decisions are made following the plan, where to stop, what materials to bring, and who to be with. Having the destination ( or the goal ) insight helps you filter the endless information and only absorb what you need to reach your destination. Plan your trip.

4.    Be a better driver. Let’s face it, there is a stigma on women drivers. Instead of being angry, be better than them. There is no point in crying injustice without working on the root cause. Take the high road and be better.

5.    It’s okay to get help. Learn how to drive, change tires, and do troubleshooting, but if there is someone ( a boy) who can do it, let them. Being a woman has its advantages, so use it. Pride is not about showing the guy you can change tires faster than him; it is changing the tire without breaking a sweat.

6.    Leave early. We always get into trouble when we are in a hurry. We get stressed when we are in a hurry. We make mistakes when we are in a hurry. So to lessen the chances of needing botox at a young age, leave early and enjoy the ride.

Congratulations to Philippine Daily Inquirer on its 36th Anniversary! Happy birthday to my daughter Alysha, you are the personification of Mom and Dad’s best of the best. I hope all your dreams come true, including your dream car, right Dad?

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