You’ve finished the Getting Started phase and your teenager is now ready to shift gears and move onto the next level. And even though your teenager already knows the basics, the concepts taught in this phase have a little more risk in them. As a result, reinforce the importance of safety and the need to listen closely to your instruction.
Here’s the checklist for this phase:
- Backing out of the driveway
- Repeatedly looking backwards over both shoulders, forwards, into all mirrors
- “What if” scenario for being tailgated.
- At random times, pretend it’s happening and make sure to give extra distance in front so you aren’t suddenly forced to brake hard
- Using the center turn lane
- Including being careful for others entering the lane from the opposite direction
- Parking – do lots of it and start in an empty church parking lot or shopping mall parking lot (on Sunday)
- Straight in spaces and angled spaces
- Pulling in and pulling out (incl instruction about how to back out 1-2 feet at a time when you can’t really see
- Start by parking in spaces with empty adjacent spaces, then with one adjacent space filled and ultimately with both adjacent spaces filled. You might find that this evolution takes place over 10-15 driving sessions.
- Driving with the right or left wheels on the line
- The idea is to better understand where the wheels are.
- You can use a line with reflectors or sleep-preventing bumps to really make it easy to sense where the car is. Try to do this with both the left and right tires.
- 3-point turn – start on a wide road but eventually try to find a narrow road
- Driving on the shoulder past cars stopped at a light (dangerous if other cars still moving slowly and also illegal in many states)
- “Move Over” laws – most states require drivers to either slow down or move over 1 lane if a police car or emergency vehicle is stopped on the side of the road with lights on. Investigate and educate.
- Drive backwards
- Find an empty parking lot and literally drive backwards, including making turns into different sections of the parking lot and everything. It’s a great practice to learn the different nuances when you drive backwards.
- What to do if a police car signals to pull you over
- At random times and in completely different settings, pretend it just happened and ask where is a reasonable place to stop. Even practice it a time or two going through the full sequence of events. After stopping, put the window down and put your hands on the wheel where they can be seen.
- Controlling speed while going downhill
- If you have a nice, steep hill, a good practice exercise is to dictate a 5 mph range and ask your teenager to stay within the range. Of course, it’s harder than they think.
- Navigated journey
- Select a destination address, then have your teenager plot the best route to get there (at least once using a printed map, then possibly with a GPS).
- The exercise also teaches them route planning. During the journey, it teaches to pay attention to signs and addresses.
- The key is to not help at all with the navigation aspect of this journey – only the driving safety aspect. And remember that they will be looking at their map and the road. At times they might get lost or might need to pull into a parking lot to get their bearings with the map. No problem. Be patient.
- Do this once during the day and once at night.
When you’re done with this phase, move on to the Ready for Prime Time phase.