Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Teenage Drivers

My life in appalachia teenage drivers

I don’t do much driving these days-I have 2 chauffeurs who are always at the ready to take me where I need to go.

Chatter and Chitter weren’t in much of a hurry to get their drivers license-so they’ve not reached the stage of driving without an adult yet.

I’ve noticed lots of kids don’t seem to be in a hurry to get their license these days-or either they get a license-and then continue to let their parents ferry them back and forth.

I wonder if what I’m seeing is an anomaly-only happening with the kids who attend the girls high school or if its a more wide spread occurrence?

When I was a teenager everyone wanted their license and everyone my age seemed to have a car to drive once they got that plastic card.

There was a whole lot of cruising town back then-now the kids here don’t do that at all that I know of. But when I was a teenager the place to be was riding up and down the main street of Murphy-and having a drivers license helped you make those laps every weekend.

Kids today connect with their phones. Instead of having to go look for someone to hang out with-they ‘hang out’ by texting, surfing facebook, posting to Instagram, or snap chatting each other.

Cars, insurance, and gas cost a lot more than it did back in the day-maybe that’s part of the reason kids don’t seem to be driving as much. Or as I said-maybe what I’m noticing is a very isolated occurrence. Either way-I’ve got 2 teenagers who are now anxious to be on the road alone-it just took them longer than I figured it would.


p.s. The All State Blog has an article on this subject-go here to read it.

Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    November 18, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    I didn’t get my license until I was almost 17, can’t remember why…might have been lack of money cause it was tight for our parents back then, and I sure didn’t get a car until I got my first job and needed the transportation to get back and forth, and then it was a cute little old black and white Hillman wagon that I got for $50 and drove until I’d saved up enough for a little bit better car.
    I don’t know what it’s like elsewhere, but here where we live in the sandhills, seems so many get their licenses along with high powered cars or trucks so young, and so many here in Harnett County and nearby in Johnston County sadly end up wrapped around a tree with them.
    We lost three young’uns just last week here in Harnett when the 23 year old driver bolted from cops at a road block safety check with four friends, wrapped his truck around a tree, which then caught fire and burned three boys to death. Two girls got out but with serious injuries that are going to have them in the hospital for quite a while recovering.
    So I’d say if you have young’uns willing to wait, I’d stay quiet and let them. They’ll be safer that way!!!
    God bless.

  • Reply
    October 14, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    If I’m honest, I don’t get hanging out via technology, I’d much rather be cruising in Murphy. I see technology more as a necessity to communicate and coordinate events, rather than texting and chatting with someone instead of being face to face with that person.

  • Reply
    Kerry in GA
    October 14, 2013 at 9:27 am

    I’m a few days behind. Back in the day, I wasn’t in no hurry to get my license. I didn’t have a car and knew I wouldn’t anytime soon. I knew even if I had them Daddy and Momma still wouldn’t let me go anywhere much, but Momma made me go get my learner’s and Driver’s permit as soon as I came of age. She said that way I would have them if I needed them. I think that was important to her because neither one of my Grannys and several of my great aunts couldn’t drive. My Daddy’s Momma finally went and got her driver’s license when she was 62. She’s 87 now and says that was probably the best thing she ever done. 🙂

  • Reply
    Dan O'Connor
    October 13, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Brings back some good memories of cruising around. We circled the McDonalds parking lot and the local diner lot. One of the more popular spots was the submarine races at the reservoir or watching the water flow up behind the water tower. All made possible with you “wheels.” $2.50 in gas filled your tank, go to the spot, turn on the radio, swap stories and sit up on the hood with the windshield as you back rest. My first car was a $200 Corvair I had to rebuild before I could join in the fray. Good memories…

  • Reply
    October 13, 2013 at 7:10 am

    Ed-Don’t worry we ALWAYS buckle up-thats the rule. A seat belt saved me from getting hurt twice when I was a teenager. Chatter had the seatbelt on in the photo-she just had the shoulder part pushed behind her that day because of a bruise that was hurting her but the lap portion was firmly in place. I know people who don’t like to wear seatbelts. I’m like you- I think they save lives every day and buckling mine is the first thing I do when I start the car-and then I remind my passengers too buckle whether they’re my kids or not LOL : ) The other morning Chitter was driving us to town. We went by to get Granny, and before she had time to get her seatbelt on-Chitter told her “Granny buckle up that’s my rule. This car don’t move till everyone is buckled.” I thought well all those years of saying buckle smuckle to the girls has paid off.
    Thank you for sharing your story-I’m so glad you survived the wreck and it’s wonderful that you can share your story with others (like us) to encourage someone else to live through their wreck!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 12, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    I know how that shoulder harness’ saw into your neck, but I am convinced it saved my life the night of December 12, 1989. I was skidding sideways on ice and to correct I would have had to slide under a Schneider truck. I chose to hit a bridge pillar instead. I was on 321 North passing under 2nd Ave. in Hickory. The driver of the 18 wheeler I was trying to pass was trying to kill me and he almost got his wish. I was in a Dodge Colt and chose to hit the pillar rather that be mangled under the truck and trailer. The shoulder harness bruised my chest and my nose was torn off my face. It had to be sewn back on. Two to three hundred stitches.
    Please, make them buckle up. It’s not about clickit or ticket. Its about losing someone you love needlessly. Believe me I know the feeling of facing an impact face on. I survived! I am convinced that had I not been wearing the seat belt, I would not have been alive today.
    Your beautiful twin daughters mean something to me. I am not sure why. They are distant cousins but I feel an affinity for them I don’t completely understand.
    Sure, all the people who disregard the seat belt laws say “Look at me, I don’t wear them and I am just fine.” But if the people who didn’t survive could speak, their testimony would be different. The next time you are driving east thought the Nantahala Gorge there is a bridge that the crosses the river at Hewitts and just beyond that bridge a little road that turns to the left. Turn there and pause at a little memorial to Lenora Jane Martin and her friend who’s name escapes me right now. Lenora’s little sister Helen was a schoolmate of mine.
    It awful when six seniors in a church bus die on the highway in Tennessee. It is so much worse when it is children who have just started to live. I have never been an advocate of governmental laws and regulations but in this case I agree wholeheartedly. The human body was not made to withstand the carnage created by a forty mile an hour impact, much less a seventy mile an hour head-on catastrophe.
    I know I should not worry. I know you have the best interests in mind for your two junior angels, but I can’t help be worried about them.
    Tell then Uncle Ed said to get in the habit of buckling their seat belts before anything else. I can’t imagine a world without both or either of them!

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    October 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Driving is a pretty expensive privilege these days. Only one of my kids wanted her licence when she was 16. Of course, she had to work a 40 hour week on top of her school work to afford her car payment, insurance and gas. Needless to say, I didn’t have to worry about her running the roads too much-she was waaay too tired!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    October 12, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Two of mine where in a hurry the other wasn’t, he had friends with cars that were happy to take him anywhere he cared to go.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Back in my day, like a whole lot of other guys,, we learn to drive a tractor first, then a truck on the farm, you were out in the fields or pasture and didn’t have to worry about tearing up something, then got girls on the brain and wanted to cruise the Boat harbor on the river or the square down town.. seems like a reasonable amount of teenagers in our area with license and driving alone, because more times then none they’re the ones crossing over in your lane texting on their phones.. we’ve had several fatalities because of this habit..

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    October 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I don’t wear seatbelts hardly ever
    around here, only when I go on trips.
    Times have changed alot since I was in High School. We had to write a
    thesis on a certain subject and I
    chose “should students be allowed
    to drive school buses.” I did alot
    of research and made a convincing
    report in their favor.
    The family of a friend had a ’57
    Chevrolet and we had a ’56 model.
    We could outrun anything on the
    road but a gas station. Those were
    the good ole days…Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 12, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Shouldn’t that seat belt be across the shoulder? Or is it just an optical illusion?

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    October 12, 2013 at 9:46 am

    My daughter wasn’t in a hurry 20 years ago. I couldn’t wait. There wasn’t much traffic back in my day. My uncle started teaching me when I was 12. By the time I turned 16, my friends felt safe with me because I was a good driver. I think it’s scary for kids now.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    October 12, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I had a learner’s permit as soon as I could get it in Tennessee and went on my birthday to get my license. I couldn’t wait. I didn’t have a car, but since my mother was legally blind, my Dad bought an old Chevy for me to drive and got me a gas credit card on his account and paid for my insurance. This was all with the understanding that my priority was to take my mother where she needed to go. It was a win-win for me and for my Dad. He got to watch ball games on the weekends while I took my Mom shopping and I got to drive for my Mom and for myself. I could not have afforded it on my own when I was sixteen.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2013 at 9:34 am

    I spent several years doing classroom and hands-on training with students who came to work in my employer’s co-op program. I was constantly amazed at the number of teenagers who didn’t drive and were not eager to. The day my girls turned sixteen, they took their test for the driver’s permit, thirty days later they were driving on their own. I’m glad those laws have changed! Two grandsons are driving now and a another will test in January. I worry more about them being on the highway than I did my girls. Things change as we get older…I can’t imagine getting in the car with a new driver now.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2013 at 9:15 am

    I read an article about that sometime back, Tipper, and apparently it’s a nationwide trend. They attribute it to exactly what you said; they hang out electronically and it just costs too much money.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2013 at 9:01 am

    My dad surprised me one day and he took me to get my learner’s permit. My mom didn’t think a girl needed to drive. However, the real story, I think, is that my mom had not driven since the day that she rolled down a hill, knocked over a fence around a yard, and hit a tree. She has not driven since that day. I guess hse figured I would do the same thing. The only thing I did and never admitted to it until I was in my forties – I hit the side of the garage door trying to pull the car out. I just put the piece back into the garage door and several years later the piece fell out. My dad thought it was termites. Whew! Nothing like a fond memory! Girls, enjoy your grown up time! Be careful and don’t text and drive!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2013 at 8:35 am

    You’ve probably hit on something there: kids today network via their cell phones. As to the cost of driving – my Dad thought 50 cents a gallon was exorbitant so cost is a relative thing.
    My husband and I didn’t “cruise” – only the “tough” kids cruised, contrary to the Happy Days, Grease, and similar stereotypes – – seems we all had chores or jobs to get to or were busy with a garage band or with extra-curricular activities at school. However, it was important to get that license (we could get them at 14) because it was cool to be the one who could give your friends rides; but, mostly we drove siblings and ourselves to school and after school activities or grandparents shopping.
    Our kids didn’t “cruise” either – they party-hopped when there was an opportunity (and, to keep their driving and riding privileges, they had to call in every 2 hours so we knew where they were). We also didn’t let them drive our GM van. Even though it smelled like soggy Boy Scouts, they and their friends kept talking about what a great Party Van it would make – – or were they using reverse psychology on us ? ; )
    One of their friends decked out his car with all sorts of neon lights underneath and along the outside – quite a sight – but he lamented that he had no place to take it. He also had speakers with the bass so loud I could feel it in my stomach. I could announce his arrival 5 minutes before he showed up because I could feel him approaching before any of us heard him.
    Sorry about the tangential mindstream – but its “your fault” – you always come up with such neat discussion topics and stir up many fond memories.

  • Reply
    Darlene Debty Kimsey
    October 12, 2013 at 8:22 am

    This is the same at my daughter’s school. She is one of the few that drive. She wasn’t excited to get her license but now knows it’s her key to freedom. She also borrows my car to drive and doesn’t really have her own. I have heard other parents be just as surprised their teen doesn’t care about driving. It really is strange and apparently is of this generation.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2013 at 8:21 am

    PS…Tell that twin to fasten her seat belt…afterall that’s not a buggy you know! LOL
    One parent I once knew said, when giving drivers-training, “You don’t have to stay in the lane, so and hit every pot hole, this ain’t a buggy! LOL I wonder who that could’of been!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    October 12, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Your girls are not alone Tipper. My son was eighteen before he got his. He was so busy with band, school and Scouts that squeezing in the required drivers ed course was nearly impossible. I think high school kids stay too swamped with advanced placement courses, etc to get enough behind the wheel time in. That was certainly our experience. Nothing wrong with having more mature drivers on the road anyway!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2013 at 8:03 am

    My first license was a paper card also…There was no place to check for donor registration, etc.
    Good thing, cause back then I doubt any doctor could do a transplant! LOL OH Well, let us not think about the “Frankenstein” movie that we just drove ourself from. With all the parts of bolts and screws and flasks bubbling about…ewwwwww!
    We used to hang out at the local drive-in restuarant. Back then believe it or not was Shoney’s Big Boy! We would order something and eat or not drink a coke and watch for the cool guys to drive around. Sometimes there would be a car challenge, and we would all leave and go to the bridge, (two lane, no traffice…much) the cars line up some girl would stand in the middle and wave them to go! If my parents knew all that goings on they would have rolled over and they weren’t even dead yet! There would be the settle of the challenge and we hopped back in our cars and back to the drive-in we went for another coke…PS…I think with ice, cup, drink and a straw, it was only a quarter…How high is that!..LOL
    Thanks Tipper,
    I am sure your girls are safe drivers…No sense rushing things, I got my license later in my teenage years. The boys were driving the day they turned 16 back then. Most had an old put together car much like the “Frankenstein Monster” LOL

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 12, 2013 at 7:42 am

    I don’t know Tipper, except for Chitter and Chatter I’m pretty far removed from kids today. I don’t know of any places in Black Mountain where kids ride like they used to.
    I was late getting a license but that was because I had no way to learn to drive. The norm then as to get a license as soon as you were 16. There was no drivers ed requirement like there is now.
    Chitter was very excited to drive my car last weekend when we went to the folk festival and she did a very good job!

  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    October 12, 2013 at 4:42 am

    My first driver’s license was paper, no photo either. Yes, we wanted to cruise around town. Sons wanted to get licenses. DGD got her license right away. Her older brother does not have his license and is still ot interested in it.

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