One of the most exhilarating times in a young person’s life is learning how to drive. One of the scariest times in a middle-aged person’s life is teaching that young person.

Now my 16-year-old son has been at the wheel and getting in all of his practice hours while I’ve been googling "how to buy Xanax from Canada without a prescription." He’s done well. It’s just that, think about it, you are sitting in the passenger seat with someone who has never driven a car before.

Heck, in a comical way think about it like this… you’re allowing an unlicensed driver to drive you around.

He takes his road test in a couple of months. To be sure he’s ready we are really going heavy now on K-turns (3-point-turns) and parallel parking. Parallel parking for me is the most mysterious thing to be able to teach a kid. Sure you can lay out the funky theory about the 45-degree angles and when to cut the wheel and all, but ultimately I’ve always felt that parallel parking is almost a Zen thing.

If you overthink parallel parking that’s when you’ll screw up. If you just kind of go at it the way Luke did the Kessel Run in “Star Wars” that’s when I feel you do it flawlessly.

Also, I started wondering how many people even with licenses for many years avoid parallel parking and so they have forgotten all the basics? I started doing some googling (after I gave up on googling buying the Xanax).

I found an article filled with stats about people self-reporting whether they could perform certain driving skills. Now because this is self-reporting, you have to assume the real number who can’t do certain things is probably higher. They broke it down by the major cities but apparently Newark, New Jersey was not a major enough city so it’s not on the list. Nothing representing New Jersey is. New Jersey dissed once again.

The closest they had were New York City and Philadelphia. About 10% of drivers in New York City say they have no ability to parallel park. In Philadelphia it’s 20%. But these are cities where parallel parking, you would think, is a real must.

You don’t have a lot of that in New Jersey. You have a lot of strip mall parking and driveway park. Suburban parking. So unless you’re in Hoboken or say Jersey City, a lot of people can get away for years without bothering to parallel park in the Garden State.

What about driving a stick shift? Philadelphia reports nearly 64% unable to do it. New York City drivers come in at 50% unable.

Then there’s changing a tire. With how well they make tires today and so many more people having AAA, this is another lost driving art.

In Philadelphia, 46% of drivers say they cannot change a flat tire. In New York City it’s 37%.

So what about New Jersey drivers? Let’s do our own polls. It’s anonymous so be honest!

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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