KUALA LUMPUR: The parents are sound asleep unaware that their teenage son has sneaked out of the house with the family car.
The parents are rudely awakened at 3am by police with news of their worst nightmare -- their son has been involved in a serious accident.
This scenario is often played out in families with teenagers who are yearning to drive but are too young to have a licence.
Several parents shared with the New Straits Times their stories with the hope that other parents would be aware of the problem.
- Mother of four, Siti Hasbiah Ali, 45, gave her eldest son an earful for taking to the wheel without a licence.
She remembered clearly an incident a decade ago when her son, Yus Adi Azlee, then 16, wrecked her car after it skidded on a wet road and crashed into a ditch at Jalan Damansara.
"I lost my temper when he called to say that he had met with an accident. But he regretted driving the car without my permission and he has not done so since then. The accident taught him a valuable lesson."
But Hasbiah's headache did not stop there.
Her second son, Yus Izzat, one day complained that their neighbour spotted him driving his mother's car and ordered him to go home.
"I simply told him 'serves you right' before taking away the keys," she said adding that she used to hide all the car keys from her children but they somehow managed to find them.
- S. Shamalan from Paroi Jaya, recalled an incident about 10 years ago when his 16-year-old son sneaked out with his car and was involved in an accident with a police officer.
"He was arrested and taken to the police station. Two officers knocked on my door at 2.30am and told me what had happened. I was shocked. It was a nightmare," he said.
At that time, he said he couldn't help but think of the other possibilities which could have struck his son.
"I was really angry on the way to the police station but when I saw him safe, I mellowed," he said, adding that fortunately it was only a minor accident.
But the accident made a big hole in his pocket to repair both cars.
After a long chat with his son the next morning, Shamalan, 60, found out that the teenager had sneaked out many times before.
"He tried to justify his actions, saying he only drove around the housing area. But for my wife and I, it was still unacceptable. I often read about accidents, murders, car-jackings and I don't want similar things to happen to my son."
- For Nazleen Musa, 46, the rules are simple: no lessons, no licence, no driving. Fortunately her three children obeyed these rules.
"My husband and I put our foot down and made it very clear to our children that no one was allowed to drive without proper training and a licence," said the housewife from Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
She said the rule also applied to riding bicycles, especially when her children go on busy roads without proper safety gear.
There was one time, however, when her son Iqbal dozed off while driving and crashed the family car into a pillar in a tunnel.
"I was not angry at him for meeting with an accident because accidents do happen. But I was angry with him for lying to himself and me by thinking that he could drive although he was extremely tired."
- Publications executive, T. Saraswathy, 46, is confident that her 18-year-old daughter, who is about to get her licence soon, would not drive unless she was accompanied by an adult.
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