March 30th, 2014
In 2004, the model experiment “accompanied driving at seventeen”, was created by the German government because of the high accident rate especially by rookies. At first, it was successfully started just in a few states in Germany, including my hometown, Hamburg. Later in 2010, every state in Germany adopted it. I got mine in 2010, and for me it was a great opportunity to start gaining driving experience at the early age of seventeen. Of course I had to drive under the custody of my mother and my older brother. Getting my driver’s license affected my life by changing me into a more flexible and responsible person, so I was able to do almost all the important duties for my family.
To be allowed to participate the program, a teenager has to fulfill some certain requirements; for instance the driving partner must be at least thirty years old or older and passes a valid driver’s license longer than at least five years. The terms fit perfectly for my older brother and my mother, so I started classes at the driving school after my 17th birthday. After I finished my written exam and my driving test, I got handed out the accompanied driver’s license, so I had four months to go to practice my driving skills with my two driving partners until my 18th birthday. It was such a great feeling to have somebody next to me to answer my questions about traffic situations and show and tell me some hints and possible solutions in the big world of driving. From that moment on, I was able to drive everywhere I wanted and I had the feeling that I got a bigger reputation in my family. Also the impression driving a car is for me the last brick to be completely grown up. I was also the first one in my circle of friends who had a driver’s license, so I got the feeling again that I was the most ostentatious guy in the group.
In addition, after I turned eighteen, I was able to drive to the grocery store, bring my little brother to his schoolmates which most of whom were living on the countryside, or pick up my mom or brothers from the local train station by myself. At this point my family was positively affected because nobody had to sit next to me anymore to let me drive. The accompanied driving program was also good for the insurance company, so the bill was very low. Furthermore, I was able to practice my skills a lot, because those routes were short drives way, but each time when I was driving on the highway downtown to my grandma, I was a little bit scared and nervous. I spend many months driving with my oldest brother that way for a long time to practice it, what helped me a lot.
Finally, I felt totally capable after the months of practice of driving downtown on my own to help my grandmother get to her doctor appointments. My mother has to work all day on weekdays and my both older brothers were very busy with the university. This mean they weren't available anymore to drive her that often to her appointments. At that time, grandmother was getting older and almost physical handicapped, so my driving influenced my family such in a positive way that I were able to help out. I enjoyed the time when I was driving my grandmother to doctor appointments because I saw her more often than ever before, which I loved a lot. Besides, I also helped her with grocery shopping and carrying the goodies upstairs to her apartment. She also enjoyed the time I spent with her, and that made me even more proud to have the driver’s license.
The satisfied feeling of being more in charge and supporting my family more than ever before was so great. The additional duties also relieved my two older brothers of car related tasks, and that gave me more confidence. Those two are the reasons why I’m so happy that I participated the accompanied driving model experiment because that made me the reliable and safe driver I am today. I’m now less afraid and feel more comfortable to drive by myself. My mother and my oldest brother were great supporters in my accompanied driving time. When friends would ask me if they should wait for the driver’s license without restrictions or take the accompanied driver’s license, I definitely would recommend the accompanied driving model to them because it helped my family a lot.