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Good Place To Teach Teenager To Drive

Original post made by Sarah, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on May 21, 2012

My son hasn't had any lessons yet, he passed the written driver's test. I want to take him to some quiet area to give him some beginning lessons-does anyone know of a good place? Thank you!

Comments (25)

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Posted by P-town Native
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 21, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Hi Sarah,

The Pleasanton Fairgrounds parking lot (when there aren't events going on) is a great place to learn the basics and practice. My folks took my siblings and myself there, way back in the day. Have fun!!! What a great experience for your son!!

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Posted by Sarah
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2012 at 7:17 pm

You're so nice, thank you!

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Posted by another parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I recently took my 15 year old son to the Carr-America parking lot (across from WalMart) on a weekend - it's huge and completely empty...

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Posted by nancy s.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2012 at 7:13 am

Early Sunday morning at Stoneridge Mall. Wide and open. No one around. Carr America is also a good place.

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Highland Oaks
on May 22, 2012 at 8:40 am

Hacienda Business park on any weekend. Streets are quiet and there are lots of large parking lots.

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Posted by Betsy
a resident of Laguna Vista
on May 22, 2012 at 8:42 am

I also learned years ago in the Fairgrounds Parking lots. Just check the website to make sure there are no events going on. Good Luck!

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Posted by P-town dad
a resident of Amador Estates
on May 22, 2012 at 9:18 am

I do this with my 13 year old daughter too! It's amazing to see how confident she has already become. I just use empty office parking lots on Sundays. I think I'll try the fairgrounds sometime too!

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Posted by LIvermore Neighbor
a resident of Livermore
on May 22, 2012 at 9:24 am

To Ptown Dad,
You do realize that taking your 13 year old daughter driving is illegal even on private property. I'm all for Father-Daughter bonding but that is teaching her to bend the rules and it's ok as long as you don't get caught. Is that the message you want to relay to a young teen?

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Posted by June
a resident of Mission Park
on May 22, 2012 at 9:58 am

We used to take our kids around the business park streets/lots off Stoneridge and Hopyard. There are also good empty streets in the business parks in Livermore (off Isabel) if you want to teach stick shift - long enough stretches to get up past 2nd/3rd gear.

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Posted by Nosy Neighbors
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 22, 2012 at 10:28 am

Nosy Neighbors is a registered user.

To our wonderful neighbors in Livermore...please stay there & mind your own beesax!

What P-Town Dad is doing is the same exact same thing we did with our kids. Installed a sense of individual accomplishment and a huge dose of personal responsibility by teaching them that driving a car is a privilege not a right and along with many other youthful experiences we are teaching our children to acclimate them into adult life experiences.

Take a trip to ANY country outside of the nanny-state USA and you'll see a much more mature attitude from their youths towards most all social aspects of their teen lives. If the Hellicopter Mommies and the rest of the kid coddlers would show some restraint, instill a sense of personal responsibility along with a truly good dose of discipline towards their offspring (IMHO) we would not even be having this discussion.

Oh yeah, just be careful of the tree's at the Fairgrounds.

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Posted by Pleasantonian
a resident of Mission Park
on May 22, 2012 at 10:54 am

Pleasantonian is a registered user.

Nosy Neighbors why don't YOU take a trip and live outside the USA. You talk about personal responsibility and yet you don't show you live by that mantra. You are teaching your kids that it's okay to break the rules.

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Posted by 13 is against the law to drive
a resident of Canyon Meadows
on May 22, 2012 at 11:03 am

Just take you kid on 580 during the rush hour-

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Posted by Informed Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2012 at 11:21 am

I taught all my children to drive in the parking lots at the Fairgrounds. They also had their first summer jobs at the Fair. Great community asset!

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Posted by D
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on May 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm

If a 13 year old un-permited driver is in an accident...YOU the parent are liable and can lose your shirt....or your home.

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Posted by RJ
a resident of Del Prado
on May 22, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Go here:

Web Link

the hold events at Altamont Raceway where your teen can get driving experience in a controlled environment. 14-years and older, no permit required. Make a donation...this is a good group organized by a Tracy father who lost his son to a car accident.

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Posted by Member
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 23, 2012 at 8:28 am

I learned to drive with "lessons" from my grandfather and my father. But, before my kids were that age, I decided that learning something like this (and some other things) from a parent is not really the best way to do this. The same thing applies to "teaching" your spouse something similar or how to play a sport or something like that. The parent-child relationship should be removed from the picture, in my humble opinion.
Fortunately, the law here requires young people to take behind-the-wheel-lessons from a licensed professional. So I left it to the licensed driver training to do the first part, and then later I would drive with my kids.
So I kind of agree with Ptown Dad, but for other reasons.

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Posted by Behind the Wheel
a resident of Birdland
on May 23, 2012 at 8:35 am

Carr America parking lot.

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Posted by aparent
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 23, 2012 at 10:44 am

Try the office buildings in Kohl Center on the weekend.

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Posted by Kimberly C
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on May 23, 2012 at 11:09 am

It's a sad state of affairs when the common practices of our youth are now frowned upon by an overly litigious society bent on finding an iota of illegality in any aspect of daily life.

While it seems like more people live by the mantra of there can never be enough laws, restrictions and bureaucratic infringement to "save us from ourselves" there does exist a small group of people who somehow have managed to make it through life with barely a parking ticket on 55+ years of our criminal record and have raised children who have yet to experience anything more than a handshake from a Police Officer. Yet we are the ones targeted as "lawbreakers?"

For everyone who gets skittish around the term "personal responsibility" I can only question your own personal demons.

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Posted by Tango
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on May 23, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Many, many years ago in a place far , far away, my dad taught me to drive when I was 11 or 12. This was on town roads. My how times have changed. I taught my children to drive in Pleasanton on town roads, but the last one I used Stoneridge parking lot before the mall was completed. I have to now agree that to teach a teenager to drive on any parking lot or street you need a valid learners permit. Your teenager will also need to prove that they have had drivers training with a licensed drivers training company. In CA you can get a learners permit at 15 1/2. Unless you have very good insurance, I would not put your 13 year old behind the wheel.

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Posted by LIvermore Neighbor
a resident of Livermore
on May 26, 2012 at 1:15 pm

To Nosy Neighbor & others

I still stand in my position that teaching young teens to pick and choose which laws to break is a dangerous precedent. Which laws will they pick and choose later...drink alcohol as a teen...perhaps in a home where the cool parents live? It's ok to drive and text as long as you don't get caught? Just take a little money from their employer as a loan and pay it back before it is missed? What is the harm? How about copying a friends term paper in high school or college? Perhaps padding a resume with a more prestigious college or a degree that was never finished? How about leaving the scene of an accident where a bicyclist was killed and hire the best attorney, better than facing a DUI charge that night....sound familiar?

It is a slippery slope. Just because I live in the next town doesn't mean it is not my business. It could be my child that is hurt or killed by your 13 year old in a few years as this lesson is learned today.

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Posted by Dee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 28, 2012 at 10:38 am

I took my children to Hacienda Park and used one of the buildings parking areas to learn how to steer, park, go fast, slow down, back up, etc. This was in the beginning when they didn't have any experience. It was really invaulable to them. It is okay with the guard if you just explain what you are doing should they ask. The parking lots are big at some of the buildings and allow you the room to make turns and practice the art of really getting used to the car and its power. Good luck. I'm sure you will figure it all out but this is what I did and the buildings that I used were on West Las Positas.

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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 29, 2012 at 8:11 pm

So, if your kid passes the written test, they still do not get a Permit so they can be taught to drive behind the wheel?

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Livermore
on May 11, 2013 at 9:54 am

I'm also from Livermore, but I'm not a clueless prick. Of course it's okay to break some rules some of the time. Teaching right and wrong is much more valuable than teaching permissible and impermissible. The idea that a child will turn to drunken vehicular manslaughter because he or she Lear Ed to drive at a younger age than allowed in CA shows you lack of respect for the ability of human beings to think rationally. One is a moral issue, the other is a question of by-the-book allegiance. If my child only follows the rules because they are the rules, I've failed as a parent.

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Posted by Maria
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 13, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Speaking from personal experience, it's better to start learning sooner than later. When I had my first behind-the-wheel lesson, I hadn't done very much driving at all after getting my permit and the instructor seemed rather surprised that I didn't know basic things, so we had to spend a good portion of the lesson going over things that I should have already known.

Drive slowly, but drive often. Any empty parking lots are a good start (Carr America on weekends, also Kaiser after hours).

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