Home / Car News / Dutch Toddler Who Somehow Knows How To Drive Stick Stole Mom’s Car And Hit Two Parked Cars

Dutch Toddler Who Somehow Knows How To Drive Stick Stole Mom’s Car And Hit Two Parked Cars


I know there’s plenty of good people out there who love cars but haven’t gotten around to learning how to drive a manual transmission. I mention this because I don’t want to make anyone feel bad when I mention that there’s a little Dutch four-year-old that seems to know how to drive stick. If it helps, he’s pretty shit at it, because he did manage to hit two parked cars on his short joyride, at least according to Utrecht police. Still, maybe this will be inspirational? If some daring and kooky little Dutch kid can do it, I bet you can, too. You’re easily as skilled as a Dutch toddler. And, look, even if he can drive stick and you can’t, I bet you have a lot more money than he does and don’t need therapy if you watch a horror movie.

The Utrecht Police Department described what happened on their Instagram page:

If, somehow, you can’t read Dutch (I know, I know) here’s a translation:

New Max Verstappen discovered in #Overvecht.

Yesterday we were sent at the end of the night shift to a report in Overvecht. Already there a four-year-old child would walk barefoot and in his pajamas on the street. The child was found by a bystander and placed in the car. The bystander thought that the child might be hypothermic and immediately called 911. Based on this information, colleagues rushed to the scene and took care of the reporter and the child.

@ravu_ambulancezorg has medically checked the child and gave him a comfort bear to put him at ease. There was no trace of the parents at that time. We then took the baby to the police station to find out where he came from (and to drink hot chocolate ????).

Not much later, a report of an abandoned accident site in Overvecht follows from the @politie_oc_ middennederland. A vehicle hit two parked cars. The name of the vehicle turned out to be the mother of the child, after which we made contact with her.

She said that her child is very enterprising. She spoke to the child on the telephone and then we saw that he made a collision with his hands and made a steering movement. This gave us the suspicion that the child might have been driving. Together with the mother and the child we then walked to the vehicle.

Meanwhile, the father arrived on the scene. At the car we asked if the child could show how the car worked. The child opened the car with the key and put the key in the ignition. He started the car, moved his left foot to the clutch and hit the gas.

So what appeared to have happened. When the child’s father went to work, the child woke up and grabbed the car key to go for a drive. The 2 parked cars were hit. The child then got out and ran away in his pajamas. Fortunately, this mini driver’s adventure has come to an end with a sizzle.

First, I have to admit, I’m really impressed with this kid. Four year old kids are basically ambulatory madness, from my experience, bonkers little squashy loons that bounce around performing acts of minimal, if any, sense. They’re as likely to put a dog’s ear in their mouth as they are to, say, open a door. So the fact that somehow this kid was able to open a car door, get in, depress the clutch, start the car, and get it any kind of mobile is a staggering accomplishment, the four-year-old equivalent of achieving low-Earth orbit.

How did those little legs reach the pedals from the seat? My guess is that the car may have been left in gear, and the little loon had been carefully watching his parents drive enough to know he had to push in the clutch to start it, so then when he got off the clutch the car lurched forward in, presumably, first gear, and from there the kid steered a bit and used the throttle (as he showed the cops and his parents he knew how to do) but eventually hit the two parked cars and stalled out.

I also love how police filled in what happened when the kid did a sort of pantomime: “we saw that he made a collision with his hands and made a steering movement.” I can picture it so clearly.

I hope he doesn’t get into too much trouble, because honestly I’d be more impressed than anything else. Of course, this could have ended far worse, and maybe precautions like hiding those keys or something wouldn’t be a bad idea. I know it sounds like rewarding bad behavior, but I’d also be tempted to get the little driver some kind of kid-sized motorized car: he clearly needs to drive, so may as well put him in something more skill-and-speed appropriate.

But look, I’m not here to tell anyone how to parent.

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36 Responses

  1. I managed to drive my mom’s Renault 4 down the driveway into a bush between our and out neighbor’s properties when I was about that age. Even if I tried, I doubt I could figure out that weird ass shifter today. My parents were more impressed and worried than mad. The car was undamaged, save for some minor scratches and the bush lives to this day. Good times.

  2. The great thing about 4 year olds is their complete lack of a middle. The same kid that created an impressive semi-functional TinkerToy crane in the baby’s room when they were supposed to be sleeping will forget how to operate socks a half hour later.

  3. At two years old, I’ve been told, I took my mother’s Cadillac for a joy ride. Apparently I was strapped into what passed back then as a car seat, my mother remembered something she needed to retrieve from the house and left me in the idling Cadillac where I managed to reach over and grab the gearshift and put the car into drive. My mother caught up to me and the car lumbering through the back yard at a slow idle. She said when she got to the car and grabbed control I was laughing joyously at my great accomplishment.

    Mom, it was an automatic any 2-year old can drive one 🙂

    1. Back in the day, my parents’ friend was watching Baby TomMetcalf and took me to the mall. She proceeded to lock me in the car, with it running. This was before anybody had a cell phone and the poor woman was pretty freaked out that she had locked somebody else’s kid in a car. I guess she flagged another shopper down to go inside and call the police.
      I was strapped in well enough that I wasn’t able to drive away though!

  4. “So the fact that somehow this kid was able to open a car door, get in, depress the clutch, start the car, and get it any kind of mobile is a staggering accomplishment, the four-year-old equivalent of achieving low-Earth orbit.”

    That’s classic Jason, just classic!

    I taught my wife how to drive a manual when we got married, and she drove a stick shift like a 4-year old for quite a while.

  5. If I’ve learned anything with how my son pretends to drive, it’s that I apparently use the horn just a whole bunch. Although, I’d be not at all surprised if he could figure out how to work a full-sized car by the time he’s four (if he could reach) – took him about 10 minutes with a ride-on Jeep my in-laws got him before he was mowing down grandma.

  6. Wow, that is impressive! I was imagining something more like what I did when I was six: I was playing in my dad’s Fiat, sitting in the driver’s seat making engine noises, and I reached down and pulled the gearshift lever from first into neutral, and the car rolled forward about ten feet and bonked into the back of my aunt’s Dodge Omni. No damage (thank you, 5 mph bumpers), nobody hurt… but my dad never failed to set the parking brake again.

  7. I remember my father teaching me that you had to press the clutch to start the car and change gears/put it in neutral. Then he told me it was ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN for me to ever do it. I was probably 7 or 8 years old, not 4, but still, it could’ve easily happened if I wasn’t terrified of my dad. Our neighbour’s kid stole his dad’s Simca 1300 when they were having lunch out and drove it all the way home, which was like a couple km away, but still ended up scratching the passenger side trying to park it right in front of the house. He was 10.

  8. One of my earliest memories is helping my dad bleed the brakes. I was probably no bigger than this kid, because it took both my feet on the pedal while holding onto the steering wheel (at about chin-up height) to create any pressure. Dad & I did that trick a lot.

  9. Is this Max Verstappen’s son by chance? The old man has been known to bounce off other F1 cars from time to time too.

    Ooh…Wait…wait…is he the Dutch equivalent of the famous American driver Ricky Bobby?

  10. Lol, dad put little me (4or5) behind the wheel and told me to hold down the clutch on VW split window bus while he tinkered with the running engine, it almost didn’t end well, but fortunately it stalled inches short of the neighbors concrete block porch! Whew!
    Now looking back, I don’t remember the parking brake ever working on that bus.

  11. Mom was probably one of those parents that rattled her keys in front of the kid to amuse them when it was an infant. What did you think would happen?!!

    Years ago, my neighbour accidentally locked her toddler in her car with the keys in the ignition. We tried coaxing him to open the door. She kept saying “open the car”. He climbed in the drivers seat and started the car.

    I started to look for a way to pop the door lock and she kept saying “I hope he doesn’t panic”. I told her not to worry, as he now had the radio on and was dancing on the front seat.

  12. I just had to go through the (expensive, annoying) Dutch licensing process at the age of 40 after driving my whole life, and I was surprised to find that if you want to legally drive stick, you have to take the practical exam (and any lessons from driving school) with a stick, otherwise you get an automatic-only license.

  13. I was only 6 when my dad put me at the controls of his Fiat spyder on our dirt road. Maybe this kid’s parents were even more racecar driver inclined than my dad was and were trying to teach him early.

    1. I feel your pain, one of my co-workers had his can of OC burst in one of our transport vans, it wasn’t exactly pleasant, but at least the inmates were behind the lexan shield so they didn’t get a facefull for no reason. We got them out and used one of the other vans as quick as we could.

  14. Impressive… My son at 4 years old came into our room one morning, complaining that the garage door was broken. He had:
    – unlocked the door to the garage
    – put his stuffed animal and blanket in the car
    – dragged a chair out to the garage to reach the opener button
    – operated the garage door up and down to the point where the thermal overload tripped
    – put a set of keys from in the house into the ignition (luckily we had 2 GM vehicles and he had grabbed the wrong set!)
    We installed hotel style flip locks at the top of all our doors the next day and had to lock the place up when we went to bed (out of the reach of him, even on a chair).

  15. I started teaching my niece to drive stick at around that age. We get in the Miata for a nice little cruise around town (with her in her safety seat, the passenger airbag disconnected, and with a stick so she can reach the button in the center console that pops up the headlights) and when I go to change gears I’ll depress the clutch and tell her what to do with the shifter. “Push forward to fourth! Pull back to third!” She loves it.

    On our second or third drive I tried to explain what the different gears actually were and how they affected the car, and when I was talking about fourth gear she cut in with, “And five is mostly for the highway?” What the hell, kid! Better keep an eye on that one, she’s one smart cookie.

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