DR. WALLACE: My mother was born in Ireland but hasn't returned since she left at age 13. This summer, my parents are going to Ireland for a month to visit Mom's relatives and do some sightseeing. They want me to go with them, but they said I could stay with my dad's mother if I didn't want to go. My grandma is super nice, and I would feel very comfortable staying with her. She's chill!
But now I'm not sure what I want. I have a boyfriend who I love very much. He really doesn't want me to go because he loves me as much as I love him, and he says it would be torture without me.
I feel you'll likely encourage me to go to Ireland with my parents, and I probably will go since it's a great chance to see the "old country," but I'd like to request your opinion in case there is an angle here that I had not thought of. — Margaret, Toledo, Ohio
MARGARET: You are an excellent mind reader! By all means, go to Ireland with your parents. This is an opportunity not to be missed. You will have a chance to meet relatives and learn about some of your family's roots, as well as take a wonderful opportunity to soak up a new culture. Trips abroad can be life-changing. Years from now, you will treasure your memories of this trip and be very happy you took the opportunity to go.
Of course, you and your boyfriend will miss each other, but you can text, email or even phone each other. And it will be fun making up for lost time when you return! As is often the case with young romance, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
LACK OF DRIVING EXPERIENCE DRIVES RATES
DR. WALLACE: I'm 17 and have a part-time job two nights a week to help pay for my college expenses. My grandmother (bless her!) bought me a used car as my means of transportation to and from work. I'm pleased that the price of gasoline has declined a little lately. Each cent less really helps me out.
But since I pay for my own insurance, of course, I'm shocked at the premiums, even for minimum protection. The insurance agent said the price was high because I'm a teenager, and that the only reason he provided me with insurance was the fact that his company insures my father's and mother's cars. When I was taking driver's education in school, I learned that teens have the best eye/hand/foot coordination and are therefore considered the drivers with the best physical tools possible.
Since that's true, why do teens pay a higher insurance premium? I think it's just another "rip-the-teens-off" scam. What do you say? — Broke Young Driver, via email
BROKE YOUNG DRIVER: It's very true that teens have all the physical "tools" to be the safest drivers on the roads. But, unfortunately, some teens lack the maturity, and all have only a little driving experience. Sprinkle in youthful exuberance and the result is that teens have more accidents per driver than any other age group that drives on our nation's roads! Insurance companies base their rates on accident averages, and the averages for teens are very high indeed. That's the reason your insurance rate is so high. It is absolutely no scam or bias against teen drivers: It's cold, hard statistics. Basically, even given their superior physical skills, young drivers lack the decades of driving experience that nearly all older drivers have.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at rwa[email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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