Once the basics of driving are relatively understood, it will be important to expose a teenage driver to busier streets and highways. This requires the ability to interact with other drivers. It is a challenge and it does involve some risk. As a personal injury attorney, I strongly recommend that this objective not be tackled until the new driver is very comfortable with starting, stopping, and steering.
That being said, it is something that will have to be attempted eventually. When you are sure that your teen is ready to take on the challenge, bring him or her to a moderately busy area for some driving practice.
The ability to drive safely while monitoring others that are close by is important. So, be sure that you are talking, calmly, to your new driver while he or she attempts the following:
Four-Way Intersections, Without Traffic Lights. By this, I mean four-way stops and two-way stops. It is important to understand the concept of “right of way.” It can be confusing, so be sure that you are encouraging and prepared to intervene if the wrong decision is made. Ensure that they are focusing on the cues of the other drivers and that he or she understands what they mean:
- Weight shifts when a vehicle comes to a stop or begins to move
- Turn signals
- Flashing headlights
Four-Way Intersections, With Traffic Lights. Intersections with traffic lights tend to be busier than those without, so this is something that should be tackled only after the driver has a firm grasp on the skills already discussed. Consider a successful intersection experience one that involves easy stops and starts and little to no confusion about when to start moving. Be sure to work on principles such as “right on red” and looking both ways before executing a left turn.
Lane Changes at Traveling Speeds. Whether at top speed on the highway, or a town or county road, it is important to understand how to get around a potential hazard safely. Be sure that you are working with your teen to understand the various lines on the road – double solid, dotted, etc. This is also a wonderful time to fully appreciate “blind spots.”
Entering and Exiting Parking Lots. Finally, I suggest at this stage, a lot of work in busier parking lots. This will force the new driver to interact with others, while working on skills such as parking, back up, merging, and more.