Cody Farber. 17. a Walled Lake Central senior,
checks out a 2008 Hyundai Tiburon at
Glassman Auto Group in Southfield.
T2T staff photo by Jessica Polk
teens and their wheels
Driving brings excitement, freedom — and challenges.
By Seth Samuels
n December 1963, Bruce Milen was driving his mom's car when he found himself
implanted in the rear end of the car in front of him. A new driver, Milen received
an early taste of winter driving in Michigan.
"I got my driver's license in September," explained Milen, now 60, and living in Frank-
lin. "When it first started to freeze up, I was driving too close to another car and smashed
into the back of it. I got the car fixed, and a week later, I did the exact same thing."
Despite learning the hard way, Milen's experiences proved valuable to his future on the
road, which has changed considerably since he was 16.
"Driving back then was a lot different than today because there weren't as many cars
on the road and we didn't have as far to go," Milen said. "We always stayed in the same
neighborhood; everything was within about 7-10 miles."
Regardless of the change in times — and in the size, power and technology of cars
— the experience of being a new driver has always been a point of excitement and chal-
lenge for most teens. Aside from the awesome responsibility to drive safely, driving also af-
fords a newfound freedom that gives the first revelations of independence — even before
"I'm really excited [to be getting my license soon]; there is a lot more freedom and it's
a lot easier to get around without my parents," said Laura Silman, 15, a sophomore at
Bloomfield Hills Andover.
Parents And Teen Drivers
Prior to getting their licenses, Michigan teens first have to meet the 50-hour minimum
for driving with an adult. This not only means having a passenger monitor your every
move, but it also includes sitting through what can seem like endless lectures on necessary
"Normally I drive with my dad because my mom freaks out every time I get in the car,"
Silman said. 'And, with my dad it's a lot more relaxed."
While many kids don't like driving with an adult because it's an added pressure, they
usually understand that adults are an important tool because they can learn from their
real-life experiences. These lessons also can help to formulate restrictions for new drivers.
While they vary by family, these rules help keep kids safe while young drivers are exploring
the world that driving opens up for them.
"It's nice because, while I still call my parents to tell them where I'm going, I can go
places and I don't need to call and have them pick me up or drive me everywhere," said
Josh Sternberg, 16, a Birmingham Groves junior.
Many parents outline rules that must be followed by new drivers that include not hav-
ing friends in the car as distractions, no cell phone use, no eating in the car, no loud music,
and no driving at night or in bad weather.
"I was a little nervous that I was going to slide and crash into a ditch," Sternberg said
about his experience driving in the first snowstorm of the season. "I wasn't really used to
[the weather]. But, I feel like I'm more prepared. I now know what to expect while driving
continues on B4
teen2teen January • 2008 Bi