Most of us drive every day; however, few get the opportunity to take brand new drivers out on the road for their first time, teach them and “show ‘em the ropes”. This is what the Don-Tre Driving School Team does on a daily basis. Think about it – this phase – teaching teens to drive is new for parents, and we want to ensure that the parents of new drivers and are equipped to provide helpful tips to keep practice safe driving, and prepare their teens for a long, safe and successful driving career.
Here are Don-Tre Driving School’s top 3 tips for the parents of new drivers:
1. ONLY 15 MINUTES AT FIRST
When first going out on the road with a new driver, limit your practice driving to 15 minutes at a time for the first several outings. It’s the ideal amount for both student and parent! A lot can happen in 15 minutes and it can feel like an eternity for somebody with less than a year of driving experience.
More importantly, as a parent, it‘s important to make the experience pleasurable and educational. If you’re driving for longer than 15 minutes at a time, the new driver can get tired, and often, discouraged if any mistakes are made. Parents also seem to be more on-edge, nervous and stressed out as well.
At Don-Tre Driving School, we’ve found that a great way to make the most out of this practice driving is to plan the route ahead of time. Next time you’re driving, see how much ground you cover in 15 minutes. Notice how many stop lights, intersections, highways, single-lane roads, etc. you encounter on your trip. Be deliberate and take control of the route. This way, you’ll be more familiar with the route and be more likely to remain in a calm and confident position to help guide your new driver.
15 minutes won’t take much out of your day, but it will make a huge and positive impact on your new driver’s driving experience.
2. SEE RED SHOW RED
When coming up to a red light or to a car with their brake lights shining, start braking immediately. There’s a language in driving and brake lights and turn signals are ways that drivers and other cars are trying to communicate with others! It is so important for new drivers to start to speak and understand this language and to get into the habit early on of braking as early as possible, not only to keep a safe distance from the vehicles but to tell the cars behind them to slow down. It will take practice to get used to it. To help remind your new drivers, say “see red, show red.” This will help you communicate to them that you would like them to slow down, and avoid the sudden blurting of “SLOW DOWN!” or “RED LIGHT!” which can startle anyone.
3. S.M.O.G. IS A GOOD THING!
As you will soon see, if you haven’t already, changing lanes, merging traffic and pulling out into traffic can be a particularly harrowing experience! There is a lot going on, and a lot to be aware of. There’s good news though – there’s a process to follow. We call this process S. M. O. G.! It’s easy to remember and will keep you focused.
- Signal – Use your turn signal with as much anticipation as possible. By law, you must signal at least 100 feet prior to commencing your maneuver, but you may want to do it even a little bit earlier.
- Mirrors – Check your rear and side view mirror to make sure the coast is clear before making moves.
- Over your shoulder – After checking your mirrors look over your shoulder to check your blind spot.
- Go gradually – Once you have put your turn signal on and checked that it’s OK to go, make your move gradually.
So, when lane changing, merging, or pulling on to a road remember the acronym, S.M.O.G. to stay safe!
So parents, if you follow these simple tips you’ll be well on your way to becoming a great coach and a huge help in your new driver’s practice sessions.
It is important to always start with the basics and make sure you get them nailed!
If you have any questions and are interested in learning more about practice driving tips, feel free to call on the Don-Tre Driving School team.
You may contact us at our office (973) 376-8118 or (908) 206-9977 or you can email us at [email protected].