Letting go is a rite of passage for parents of teen drivers

It doesn't matter if they're going two miles or 20. When teens start driving themselves to school, moms report that sirens suddenly get louder and the minutes grow longer when you're waiting for them to come home.

Sally Calhoun Williams just launched two teens onto the road this past year -- her son Drew, 17, and her daughter Brittany, 16, both students at Pickerington North High School.

Though the school is only two miles from their home, Williams, pictured here with Brittany and Drew, said the relief she feels not having to chauffeur two busy teens is often
outweighed by the anxiety of wondering if they're OK.

"It's nerve-wracking because you worry every time you hear a siren," Williams said. "They haven't had any fender benders, knock on wood, but you don't want to think about it."

Chris Hucek of Delaware is sending her 17-year-old daughter Alayna about 20 miles south every morning to Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus. It's not so much Alayna's driving skills that worry her -- it's the other drivers on the road.

"One day she said she could see this accident happening before it happened," Hucek said. "But I tried to let that make me feel better because it meant she was watching the whole road."

Letting go and letting your teen take the wheel is a rite of passage for many parents.

"There is a part of you that says you have to let them grow up," Hucek said. "Every time you let them do one more thing on their own, it's good."

But it's hard. Both Hucek and Williams said that getting good training and laying down firm rules about curfews and checking in often via phone (but not while driving) has helped alleviate their concerns.

Williams said she thinks that holding off on handing over the keys also makes a difference.

"My son, because of his baseball schedule, didn't get his license (as soon as his younger sister did)," Williams said. "I can totally see the difference that just a year makes with the maturity level. There's no need to push it."