Good habits form early, and you can help your teen enjoy a lifetime of safe driving by taking an active role in his or her driver’s education. Points to remember:
1. Be a good role model.
Teens learn from watching their parents.
|•||Always buckle your safety belt.|
|•||Obey traffic laws.|
|•||Don’t drink and drive.|
|•||Don’t drive aggressively.|
2. Use "commentary driving."
Ask the new drivers to comment on what they see — speed limits, road signs, traffic signals, road conditions, potential hazards — and ask what they need to do. This process works best if the adult driver demonstrates it first for the teen.
3. Plan ahead, stay calm and focused.
|•||Select the route in advance and make a practice run without your teen.|
|•||Make sure your teen understands the objectives of each session before you begin driving.|
|•||Practice in an empty parking lot before moving to streets.|
|•||Practice in light traffic (residential streets) before attempting heavy traffic (multi-lane highways and freeways).|
|•||Monitor traffic (ahead, around, behind).|
|•||Give directions to turn at least one block in advance.|
|•||Use "right" to mean a direction only, not to confirm that something is correct.|
|•||Use a calm voice and be patient. Remember that mistakes will happen in any learning process.|
|•||Praise your teen's driving accomplishments.|
4. Include a variety of situations in your practice sessions.
|•||Driving preparation: dress appropriately (proper shoes, sunglasses); adjust seat and mirrors; use safety belts; start the engine; check gas gauge; check for traffic, signal and move when safe|
|•||Basic maneuvers: moving forward; steering; turning; stopping; backing|
|•||Interacting with other vehicles: turn signals; changing lanes; blind spots; using mirrors; maintaining a safe following distance; monitoring traffic in all directions|
|•||Light traffic: looking ahead; entering/exiting traffic; choosing the proper lane; accepting and yielding right-of-way|
|•||Heavy traffic: adjusting speed and position; using turn lanes; left turn yields|
|•||Parking and turning: angle, hill, parallel parking; U-turns; 3-point turns|
|•||Rail crossings: obey lights and crossing gates; crossing tracks safely|
|•||Freeways: using on- and off-ramps; merging; lane and speed choice|
|•||Driving in darkness: using lights; appropriate speed|
|•||Adverse weather: adjusting speed for rain, fog, wind, dust, snow; using lights|
Handling hazards: obstacles on the road; using flashers; using antilock brakes
AAA Guide to Teen Driver Safety