Parents Reveal Their Most Memorable Car Moments

Girl, aged 9, taking a picture of a sea view from a car window Alistair Berg via Getty Images
Girl, aged 9, taking a picture of a sea view from a car window Alistair Berg via Getty Images

Remember before you had kids, when you could jump in the car and set off with a vague plan of going shopping, having lunch, maybe just looking for a change of scene? That’s if you even had a car. Once you have children, the car becomes not simply the way to whizz from A to B, but an essential of family life.

At its worst, the car can be the scene for monumental meltdowns (always while you’re at the wheel and can’t do ANYTHING but offer soothing ‘not long nows’) and epic journeys involving the car packed with every child essential and constant pit stops, stuck on the snack and wee cycle. And that’s just the drive to Granny’s.

But the car is also the place for some of your most memorable family bonding times; times you’ll all love sharing for years to come because they were either so awful they are now the stuff of family legend or when you were all simply feeling excited or happy.

Your car takes centre stage in your family life. Struggling to strap your teeny newborn into the car seat for the journey home from hospital; all listening rapt to stories told or audio book installations of the next Harry Potter; ferrying a backseat of boisterous children to and from sports events and those easygoing yet illuminating chats with teenagers that work because you’re both facing forward and they don’t feel so probed by parental concern.

All these shared memories bind you together and give your children a strong sense of ‘this is our family’.

We asked parents to share their most memorable car moments. And this is a selection of the best.

“My son Danny had a major meltdown while we were in the car safari part of Woburn Safari Park, stuck in a long traffic jam as everyone had slowed to see the lions eating.

“He was inconsolable, I was at the wheel and neither me nor my husband could get out because, well, there were hungry lions about. So my husband decided to climb into the back seat of our compact car to try and calm Danny down... putting his foot through the in-car mobile charger and also managing to knee (and smash) the sat-nav in one manoeuvre.” Jo B

“The time I decided to give the kids a treat with a drive-through meal - and managed to pinion the car against the barrier. Cue lots of beeping, much teary emotion from me and children munching in the backseat. Ten years later they still point out ’Mum’s bad driving place.” Marianne

“While my husband was organising the hire car at the airport in Italy, I said to our three children: ‘This is what’s going to happen: we’re going to get lost, Daddy might shout and Mummy might be upset but we love each other and we’ll all get there safely and have a lovely time.’ Later as my husband did a U-turn on a dual carriageway and I screamed in terror, a little voice piped up from the back: ‘Mummy, you’re a magic mind reader.’ That was our family catch phrase for years.” Juliette

“I ran out of petrol after collecting the children, then aged five and three, from school and nursery and we had to walk single file (with bouts of carrying until my arms gave out) down a curving but busy country road to the nearest petrol station. It was terrifying at the time. Now every day as we drive down the same road they say ‘we walked along here... and along here... and along here.’” Nancy

“I picked my daughter up from the train station this summer and while I was driving she just casually told me she’d got a First in her degree. I got quite wobbly with emotion and pride. I never got the chance to go to university.” Dan

“The most momentous car journey for us was taking our children from their foster home to their new home with us. We were so incredibly nervous the whole five hours, desperate that they would be OK and not too unsettled by the whole experience. Carrying our adopted sleeping children into our home from the car is an experience I’ll never forget.” Susan

“When my oldest child was two I was driving him to the childminder’s and someone pulled out on me. Without thinking I stamped on the brake and yelped ‘Oh, shit!’ (skilfully avoiding an accident, I might add). For the next month or so, he shouted ‘Oh shit!’ every single time I braked.” Laura

“The first time I introduced my then two-year-old to my new fella she threw up in his car, having just consumed a meal consisting of salmon and broccoli. He must have been a keeper... he’s now my husband and we have another two kids.” Jo

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