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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Learning to Drive… in Other Languages

al-license-babyOur kids continue to study Russian Lite throughout the year. I take them through the paces, the key to our limited success being that we need dialogs which will engage them. In college, you can use the normal, “What are you studying?” and “Do you live in the dorm?”, but for now, we need more everyday chitchat.

“Vodee’telskeeyeh prahvah’,” I intone.

Driver’s license. The magic words to get us off course.

“Mama, how old do you have to be in order to drive in Russia?” they driverwonder.

“Yah nyeh znah’yoo,” ( I don’t know) I shrug. “Maybe 45.”


image.axdAnd off we go. I inform them that Russia was one of the first places to institute the driver’s license around 1900 in St. Petersburg. I let them know that nowadays you must be 18 in Russia to drive, or 16 for a motorcycle.

“Oooh, moto-tsee’kuhl!” Sashenka, our 13.5 year old daughter likes the idea likes the idea of something dangerous that could possibly maim her, yet still be legal.

Most of the countries where we might be upon occasion have set legal ages for driving at ages higher than in the U.S. I like that idea.

Israel – 16 years, 9 months; Italy – 18 (or 17 with the supervision of a person not over 65 who has a driver’s license); the U.K. – 17; and Russia – 18.

Suprisingly enough, it’s America that shocks me with a few states allowing learner’s permits at age 14: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. I never knew.

It might have something to do with wide open spaces.628x471

Or not much to do.

Still doesn’t change the age when they can obtain regular driver’s licenses, which might mean that those states need more practice. I’m really not sure.

All I know is that out of our three teens technically old enough to drive, only one has his license. And that’s by design. In my book, older is better.

Until they’re old enough to talk about driving in several different languages, I figure it’s just not time. Oh, and if they need a copy of the Driver’s Handbook to study in Russian or any number of other languages, the California DMV has PDF versions online for anyone to print.

Because studying and preparing can happen at any age. The younger the better.


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