When it comes to teaching your teen to drive, it can be overwhelming to think of all the things you want to teach them before they begin driving on their own. While book work is a good start, there is nothing like hands-on experience. While many driving lessons are important, there are a few driving skills that are essential for a teen to learn before they start driving on their own.
Even experienced drivers may struggle with this, especially when driving in low-speed areas like school zones. The key is learning the right pressure to keep on the gas pedal and to learn to check the speedometer every few seconds. Teaching a new driver to make a habit out of checking their speed can help them learn how to maintain the appropriate speed.
2.Matching Traffic Conditions
Matching the traffic conditions around you is a skill that is learned with lots of practice as it involves experience with things like merging and changing lanes. Your teen needs to learn how to quickly assess what speed they should be going to either merge or change lanes by knowing how many cars are around and their speed.
Learning how to flow with the traffic around you also means learning how to keep a decent space between you and other vehicles. Smartmotorist.com suggests the “three-second rule.” They recommend teaching a new driver this concept by telling them to select a fixed object on the road ahead such as a sign, tree or overpass and to count “one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand” when the car in front of them passes the object. If the driver reaches the object before completing the count, it’s a good indicator they are following too closely. In inclement weather, heavy traffic, or night-time driving, double the three-second rule to six seconds, for added safety and in poor weather, use a nine-second rule.
3.Identifying Potential Hazards
From something in the road to a truck with something loose in the back of tractor trailers and even cars pulled over on the side of the road, traffic hazards are everywhere. Learning to notice these things and react to them is a big part of being ready to drive on one’s own. Some hazards like debris in the road could require a quick reaction; whereas, a car pulled over to the side of the road can allow the driver time to get over. Teaching a young driver to always move over when they see a car on the side of the road is a must. Something a new driver should learn, in regards to driving on the interstate, is to not drive in people’s blind spots, especially tractor-trailers and other large trucks.
4.Determining Right of Way
With traffic lights, knowing who has the right of way is self-explanatory, but new drivers have to learn the right of way rules for stop signs, hazards or roadblocks and what to do when traffic lights are not working. For the most part, if someone else reached the stop sign or the hazard first, you should give them right away. If you reached it first, then traditionally, you go first. Sometimes, you reach the intersection at the same time as someone else. In this case, it’s better to be courteous. Let them go first and let them know by flashing lights or motioning them to go first.
These four areas fit a lot of foundational driving lessons that every teen should know. Whatever the case, being aware and alert in any situation so that you can quickly take action is perhaps the most important lesson to teach. Driving can be such a great experience and doesn’t have to be stressful, so find ways to make it fun for your teen without cutting safety.