New to the Driving Game.

Submitted: Monday, May 26, 2008 at 11:46
ThreadID: 58006 Views:2614 Replies:4 FollowUps:2
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Had a camping party on our bush property recently with a big group of teenagers almost all of which were within 1 yr of age 18.

Son turned 18 and that day got license and next day got bike learners, girlfriend got her license two days earlier and several others had also got theirs and this was a big adventure out with most never having been in charge of a vehicle by themselves
so far from home.

So all young teenagers, just with cars/4wds and in an enviroment were they could more or less go wild, along with more than a dozen trail bikes, and all were in for one of their first camping/4wd experiences.

We stayed low key, just hanging around the edges looking to trim any real excesses and were probably the only people there up tight because of the potential of something going wrong.

Like to observe human nature and it was quite fascinating to listen and see real young culture in action, and compare to how we behaved when that age.

One of the main topics around the huge bonfire was various experiences with getting their licenses and the negative atitude of those who couldn't book in to get theirs pre-july when in Victoria the rules get tougher.
In general the approach to authority was pretty negative, with many pointing out how unrealistic a requirement for zero blood alcohol was and that new rules meant that those with bikes (most) could no longer tow trailers and that the new in car for "Teens" is a Ute as it can carry bikes.
So the new rules effectivily push these kids into less safe cars (air bags are rare in price range of utes they can afford).

Our son, with driving experience from Cape York to the Corrong, Big Red to the High country, got thru his driving test with highest score possible.
For a bike learners permit now in Victoria you are required to attend a one day course.
So next day with more than 10 years riding and racing experience all over the place he not only breezed thru his test but was used by instructors to do the various demo's.
We were relieved now that we don't have to look out for the law any more when we go camping with the kids and their bikes, espically as he is one of those on our bike Simpson trip in a few weeks.

Back at the party, their BBQ was ugly, their was lots of skylacking and general carry-on as you'd expect and camping experience was quite mixed ranging from those who forgot there sleeping
bags and sleep around the fire to those who had no idea of tents, and those you new it all and ended up getting drenched in the condensation of there new Swags.
Almost every type of 4wding mistake had been made this day and this made for great and exaggerated stories throughout the evening.

Hard issues for this age group seemed to revolve around drugs smoking and binge drinking.

Despite this event being billed as a sort of "exercise in freedom" for the newly independant and with almost no oldies around, we were pretty sure that the drugs issue scored zero, smoking
was about 5% and I think only one had to much to drink.
Indeed we said almost nothing apart from e couple of gentle reminders about using bike helments .

But the real test came when the convoy drove thru a country town next day on way home and a police breath test operation was in progress.

For most of the newish drivers this was a first experience and there was much nervousness about. The previous evening I took a few questions on this subject and it seemed that advice had been taken.

While all were tested only one got pulled out of the line and this turned out to be because of having an out of date South Aussie rego sticker.

All in All I ended up with improved respect for the younger mob, but their camping and 4wd skills will need a lot of working on.
Robin Miller

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Reply By: Dasher Des - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 12:25

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 12:25
Robin, There would have been lots of positives coming out of the weekend and I bet they all had a pretty good time that they will talk about for years to come.
They would have learned from mistakes and the fact that you were just there hanging around the fringes would have been a comfort to some.
You have more respect for them because of there behavior and you are now in a position where you can show them the proper way of doing things like their driving skills both in vehicles and bikes and a better appreciation of looking after the bush and happy camping.
I bet you enjoyed yourself too.
well done
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 15:03

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 15:03
Your right there Dasher , I did enjoy it a bit to much espically when one girl let out an ear piercing scream when a giant ant was on her foot, the poor little sugar ant would have died of fright if one of the others hadn't rode his mini bike onto her foot and squashed it for her instead.
Robin Miller

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Reply By: Moose - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 13:19

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 13:19
G'day Robin
You're a braver man than I am taking a large group of teenagers. Best I've managed is my son and a couple of his mates on a hunting trip.
Best to get them whilst they are young and teach them the correct way to do things from the start.
I loved listening to their srories around the camp fire each night as I see you did.
You are very fortunate in having your own property.
Well done.
Cheers from the Moose
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 16:46

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 16:46
Thanks Moose, as I only personally knew a few of the twenty or so that came I was very apprehesive as so many things could go wrong, but all the accidents were minor although a couple of my trail bikes took a beating from first time users.

I did a lot of subtle things to improve saftey, like move the motor bike jump ramp in to 50ft and making sure there was lots of logs around such that they could tow them to the fire but not need the use of chain saws etc.

But as you found also, listening has its advantages as you get to
see things from the other side.
Robin Miller

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Reply By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 16:07

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 16:07
That was a good post. Thanks foe sharing it with us. Cheers
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Reply By: Member - Tim - Stratford (VIC) - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 16:54

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 16:54
Robin,

Well done in giving the young'ens a go. When you said you were observing from a distance - it reminded me of an episode from the Goodies - trying to observe and catch a Ballamy. LOL



Tim
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