From the Mommy Files…

3 Year-Old Backseat Driver

Posted on: March 19, 2010

No one likes a backseat driver. How about a three year-old backseat driver? I didn’t know this was even possible. She’d learned that red means stop, green means go, and yellow means “be careful, the red light is coming.” I didn’t know that she would use this basic knowledge to tell ME how to drive. A three year-old!

This morning we were driving to preschool. The street the school is on was closed because the city was cutting tree branches with large equipment. So we had to drive around, back out to the main street, then go all the way around – “no outlet” streets and one-ways would not allow us to cut through anywhere. So I got to a stoplight. It turned green while I was checking the one year-old in the backseat. “It’s green Mommy!” the three year-old shouted. OK, I thought, and just said “Thank you, Honey.” Well, we were in the left turn lane and with all the traffic no one was able to turn. “Why aren’t we going Mommy? It’s green,” she called. I tried to explain that there were cars coming in the other direction and if the people turned, they’d crash. She didn’t respond, so I thought that was it.

Guess again.

We missed that light, so we had to wait. Then came a little voice from the backseat, “Why didn’t you turn, Mommy?”  I responded, “It wasn’t my turn.” She then said, “Oh.” The light turned green again, and we were first in line. “Green!” she announced. I proceeded to the middle of the intersection and waited for traffic to clear so I could turn. “Mommy!” The voice seemed annoyed this time. “Why aren’t you going? It’s green!” So I began to explain again that if we turned we would hit another car. When we finally made the turn, a “yeah!” came from the backseat. All I could do was laugh to myself.

Now we approached another stoplight, and it was red. “It’s red Mommy. You have to stop!” I said OK, and tried not to let it bother me. Then, she announced the green, and again wanted to know why I wasn’t going when it was the go light. I don’t like backseat drivers, but a three year-old one? Come on! I felt myself starting to get irritated, and I reminded myself that reasoning with a three year-old basically impossible.

We arrived at school just fine, without the advice of the backseat driver. We saw another child in the parking lot. After exchanging greetings, my little one said, “you know, my mommy wouldn’t go when the light said go. I don’t know what’s going on.” The mother looked at me, chuckled and said, “You too?”

3 Responses to "3 Year-Old Backseat Driver"

Thank you for your interesting story. Our organization Red Means Stop Traffic Safety Alliance devotes a lot of time to educating teens, pre-teens and grade shcoolers on the importance of responsible driving and the consequences of red light running. We hope that through early education, we can develop a new generation of responsible drivers.

I will add a link to your blog on our next newsletter.

Ha! My son is the BIGGEST backseat driver! He acts like he knows how to drive better than the adult, who has been driving for 20 years! 🙂

You just have to chuckle! Already they think they know everything. We’re in trouble when they get to be teenagers!

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