You can help your teen to learn how to drive by following these five steps.
Stage 1: Learning About Your Vehicle
This stage consists of a brief orientation about the vehicle and what the driver needs. Assign hands-on demonstrations and read the manual. Your teen should have the following skills by the end of this stage:
- Change a flat tire
- Fasten seat belts
- Inflate the tires and check the oil.
- In the event of an accident, react appropriately
- Start and stop the engine
- Turn on/off the headlights and parking (or running!) lights
- Adjust windshield wipers by turning on and off
- Know what the various lights mean on the dashboard
- Before moving onto the next stage, your teen needs to be proficient in the skills taught at each stage. Each stage is likely to require several behind-the-wheel experiences for your teen. You shouldn’t rush.
Stage 2: Basic Skills
The teen driver must learn how to operate the vehicle and make it go where he or she wants. Most of these skills can easily be learned in an empty lot. 5 Your teen should be capable of:
- Reverse the car in a safe and straight manner
- Safe turns left and right. Signaling is also a must.
- Shift gears when using a manual transmission
- Take care of your surroundings
- Slowly stop the car
Stage 3: Interacting and Distractions with Other Drivers
This stage is where your teen will learn to operate a vehicle safely alongside other drivers, pedestrians, and parked cars. Your teen will learn how to operate a vehicle safely with other drivers, parked cars, pedestrians, etc. The majority of these skills require that you start on a residential street and become confident before moving onto a multilane street later in your stage.
This stage should end with your teen being able to:
- Please drive courteously
- Keep a safe distance from the vehicle while in traffic.
- You can make a safe and smooth lane change
- Navigate safely around an intersection with signals, four-way stops, two-way stops, and uncontrolled intersections
- Be within the posted speed limits and observe traffic signs
- Cross safely railroad tracks
- Use mirrors to check blind spots
Stage 4: Parking, and Other Turns
Parking can be a challenge. Driving is one thing. Parking accidents are more common than any other cause. An empty lot and a residential street can both be good places to learn this skill.
- This stage should end with your teen being able to:
- Turn at a safe three-point turn
- Do a safe U-turn
- Park securely on a hill — facing uphill, and downhill
- Safely park in parallel
- Park safely in a 90-degree space
- Park safely in a diagonal space
Stage 5: Advanced Skills
Although these skills are crucial, they require advanced skills that are dependent on other skills acquired in the first four stages. Do not attempt to move on to Stage 5 until you are confident that your teen is proficient in the remaining skills. Your teen should be able:
Drive safely at night
Safe driving in ice, snow, and wet conditions 8
Driving safely on the freeway includes merging and maintaining safe distances 9
Talk to your teen about the responsibilities that she is taking when she drives.
Car maintenance- If there is a problem with your cars, such as a warning light or a hazard, you should report it or take it to an auto shop
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