The main focus of this lesson is developing safe habits for being behind the wheel of a car. Make sure to cover the following: basic vehicle operations, signaling for changing lanes or turning, braking (depending on your brake type), how to drive through residential intersections, right-of-way procedures, parking on a curb, how to change lanes safely, slowing down and stopping, how traffic patterns work (i. e. one-way streets), parallel parking, and how to make right or left turns. The basics are important to practice before the student moves on to more advanced traffic situations in the City Driving Lesson. Your student should practice with you for at least 4 hours before taking the City Driving Lesson. Parents should understand that the required 4 hours of Basic Driving Lesson practice takes the average student 3 to 4 weeks to complete. The more you allow your student to practice the basics, the better prepared they are for success in the next BTW lesson in advanced traffic situations.
The main focus of this lesson is to apply the skills learned in the Basic
Driving Lesson to a city traffic environment. Make sure to cover: driving
down a one-way street, driving with multiple traffic light intersections,
turning in turn-only lanes & double turn lanes, review parallel parking,
adjusting speed depending on traffic situations, and being aware of your
surroundings at all times--like looking for pedestrians! Between the basic
lesson and the City lesson, students will be driving in low to medium
traffic/speeds. Make sure that your student can execute all of the maneuvers
listed above between the basic lesson and the city lesson before moving
on to the last lesson--the freeway (high speed and high volume traffic).
We ask for a bare minimum of 4 hours of practice between the city lesson
and the freeway lesson--this is for the safety of students and drivers!
If you feel your student has not successfully learned and can apply all
of the above listed techniques while practicing driving, have them keep
driving until they have mastered all of the basics.
The main focus of this lesson is applying all of the student's previous driving experience to a high speed and heavy traffic situation. Make sure to cover: entering and exiting traffic, executing multiple lane changes, mirror monitoring, and freeway ramp techniques.
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Make sure your student knows that they can come to you if they are in
an unsafe situation. Even though there may be repercussions, make the
option open to them to call if they are not able to get home safely, regardless
of the situation.
Check the car for maintenance issues every time before driving. Look for taillights to be out, gashes in tires,
If possible, keep your hands at the "9" o'clock and "3" o'clock position on the steering wheel. This position
can be used with or without airbags.
When driving with your student, have the mentality that you are driving the car. You should be looking for
your student on lane changes and at intersections.
Plan out your driving routes. Know where you are going to make sure your teen can handle all of those
specific traffic situations.
Graduate from parking lot to reasonably light traffic with some traffic
lights. Do lots of left turns at intersections, then graduate to heavier
city traffic, then on to higher speeds and freeways. "Always assume
that if a car could be coming, it is-and usually at or above the speed
limit." Talk your student through driving. Let them know what signs
you see and what you're looking for when driving.
Narrate and point (with your left hand) to where a student should be looking to help develop fast and
thorough search patterns.
Three fast looks are better than one long one. Make sure you're looking right and left at every intersection.
Have the student use their side mirror to see where they are positioned in
their lane. A lot of beginner drivers have a tendency to drift to the
right or left. If they are looking in their side mirror to see the traffic
lines and you're verbally telling them when they are drifting, they will
get used to their lane position more quickly.
Always drive with headlights on and mark your car with a sign or bumper sticker that indicates that student may need to stop suddenly. Studies show that driving with your headlights on helps prevent accidents and allows other drivers to see you earlier.
Try and keep your cool. Teaching your student to drive can be a very stressful situation. If something goes wrong and your student makes a mistake, you have to calm down your student and make sure that they are
okay and safe to continue to drive.
Driving the posted speed limit is too fast when conditions are not perfect.
On turns, when the student is allowing the wheel to slide and correct itself, watch their right hand. When
turning, students have a tendency to drop their right hand. Make sure they are feeling friction in between their hands and the steering wheel while accelerating out of the turn and allowing the steering wheel to slide.
Try and start up conversations with your student while they are driving. They need to get into the habit of
When you are driving the car and your student is a passenger, make sure they are looking right and left at
every intersection and looking at every sign that you pass. This will get them into this habit and will transfer
when they are driving.
Risk management: We now teach student to become good risk managers by identifying a problem, developing a solution, and executing a maneuver. For example, if you are driving down a one lane road, and there are cars parked to your right, you should drive slightly to the left in your lane just in case someone should open up their car down. This is still based in sound defensive driving techniques but is a newer approach and is more pro-active than the previous defensive posture.
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Just in case you cannot schedule your first lesson immediately, this is our lesson "How To" to assist you in teaching your student how to drive.
|| Demonstrate and explain dashboard displays, starting engine,
mirror, and seat position- Adjust seats so there is a "slight"
bend in the knees when the brake pedal is pushed to the floor with
the foot. Adjust mirrors, rear-view mirror- center it. On the driver's
side, make sure the edge of the car is seen in inner edge of mirror,
with head tilted. Get out of the vehicle and show the student where
the blind spots are located.
|| Show shift positions and example of hand positions on steering
wheel while turning (i.e. hand-overhand or push-pull-slide)- Circle
student's choice (hand-aver-hand or push-pull-slide). Demonstrate
the other method that student does not choose. Make sure the student
allows the wheel to slide on the way out of the turn with hands at
"9" and "3."
|| Locate electric turn signals, review hand signals, and make
sure head lights are on- Make sure you know where the turn signals
and head lights are before you begin driving. Use hands signals if
turning lights or brake lights are out
Right turns- left arm at a 90 degree angle in the upright position
Left turns- left arm extended straight out the window
Braking- left arm at a 90 degree angle in the downright position
|| Braking procedure: Threshold/ Anti-Iock- ASS/ Antilock brakes-
the vehicle does all the work for the student; it automatically computes
the pressure on the tires to make sure that the wheels do not lock
up Threshold braking- the student should not slam on their brakes
when wanting to stop quickly. If the brake pedal is pushed all the
way to the floor, there is 100% pressure on the brake. The student
should learn waiver the brake pressure between 60% to 80% until the
vehicle is stopped.
|| Explain open intersections and right-of-way- Remind the
student about stop sign procedures or open intersections without stop
signs or lights when coming to intersections.
|| Stop sign procedure for two-way vs. four-way- Always come
to a full stop behind the sidewalk, then creep forward until vision
permits the driver to be able to see adequately in both directions;
fully stop again or go depending on circumstance.
|| Curb procedure/lane changes with head check- Always signal
first, check inside mirror (rearview mirror) then the outside mirror
(in the direction you are going), head tilt, and then roll into a
head check-looking to (back) side of the car (not the rear of the
|| Slowing and stopping at an intersection or turning- Always
brake earlier rather than later. Look in rearview mirror before braking
to make sure you're safe to brake. Give yourself ample enough time
to brake and come to a smooth stop.
|| Demonstrate and explain right and left turns- Have the student
initiate a right angle turn. Slow to 5-10 mph, check the rear-view
mirror to make sure the vehicle behind you is aware you're slowing
down, get off brake, then turn wheel, then accelerate on the way out
of the turn to help straighten out the vehicle until reaching the
speed limit. For left-hand turns, have the student drive directly
into intersection to turn on a green light (leaving enough room for
an ambulance to pass through if it had to). Check for pedestrians
before the last car passes when turning either left or right.
|| Parking lot maneuvers- Have student pull forward into spaces
and back into spaces. Tell the student to: 1.) Go slow, 2.) Turn hard,
3.) Don't back up any further than necessary.
|| Backing- straight! with turns- Left hand should be at 12:00
position on the steering wheel and the right hand behind the headrest
of the passenger seat. Always look out of the back window, unless
backing towards the driver's side. Backing should be done in a straight
line, with adjustments being made by turning the top of the steering
wheel in the direction you want the back of the car to go.
|| Straight driving with multi-lane traffic- Have the student
get used to driving around other cars.
|| Roadway markings, traffic lights, and signs- Keep eyes scanning
with fast but frequent looks. Make sure students start to read and
identify all regulatory signs. Quiz more advanced students on "what
did that last sign say that we just passed?"
|| Parallel parking and parking on hills- "Three point parallel
parking" is: preceded with turn signal on and a slow approach stopping
two feet away from the side of the car in front of desired parking
place, and matching or lining up the back bumpers. Step #1.)
Put on your right turn signal, turn steering wheel one full turn to
the right and back up until car is at 45º angle in the front. Step
#2.) Straighten out wheels with one full turn of the steering
wheel to the left, put on your right turn signal, and then back up
until the front bumper is lined up with the other car's back bumper.
Step #3.) Turn steering wheel all the way to the left, put
on your right turn signal, and back into parking place until straight,
then curb tire if necessary and if so, explain to the student why
this is done. Downhill curb procedure: turn wheels towards the curb.
When parking uphill turn wheels away from the curb. When parking uphill
without a curb turn wheels away from the road.
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|| Review slowing down as well as right and left turns- The
student must check for pedestrians before the last vehicle passes,
not after. Before a turn, have the student initiate their correct
turn signal (either right or left) and check the rear-view mirror
for the vehicle behind you to make sure they notice you are slowing
down. Slow to 5-10 mph, checking again for pedestrians, get off the
brake, then turn the wheel and accelerate on the way out of the turn
at its apex to help straighten out the vehicle until reaching the
|| Explain school zones and bus signals- Make sure the student
adjusts their speed in an active school zone and is actively aware
when around a bus.
|| Multiple traffic light intersections- Explain turn arrows
and multiple traffic lights as well as lanes. Caution the student
about left-only lanes with solid green lights (no turn arrows).
|| Turn only lanes and double turn lanes- Slow down after entering
the left turn lane. Have the student be extra tight on the inside
double turn lane and extra wide on outside double turn lane.
|| Right and left turns at red lights- If the intersection
allows a right or a left hand turn on red (left hand turns on red
for one-way street), make sure the students check for traffic both
ways with several quick looks right before turning and entering the
correct lane of traffic.
|| One-way streets/ medium traffic- Students should practice
driving on, and become familiar with, one-way streets.
|| Passing on a one-way road or a two-way road- Adjusting speed
is important in passing. Since two-way street passing is dangerous,
start on multiple-lane roads.
|| Review angle and perpendicular parking- Angular parking
is a high risk and dangerous maneuver. Practice angular parking in
the middle of a block; avoid practicing in parking spaces close to
|| Lane changes and adjusting speed- Emphasize that the student
should turn on their turn signal light first, checking both mirrors,
and adjusting speed as necessary to safely merge into traffic.
|| Demonstrate low gear hold- Have the student place the vehicle
into 2nd gear or 1st gear while traveling on long, steep grades.
|| Make a U-turn- Use left signal to get into left lane, look
both directions & when clear turn sharp left.
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|| Review lane changes- ANTICIPATION is the key word in this
lesson. It is required of all drivers at these higher speeds. Remind
the student that a typical lane change at freeway speeds requires
acceleration and not braking and is accomplished at angles not with
the turn of the wheel.
|| Entering and/ or holding proper lane in heavy traffic- Always
pick up speed in the acceleration lane to match the speed of traffic
that you are entering, accelerating to pull away from cars in each
lane you enter.
|| Practice multiple lane changes in heavy traffic- Use a stair
step method to change from lane to lane. Move over to the center lane
of traffic and have the student keep up with the flow. Return to the
right lane if the flow is too fast.
|| Mirror monitoring- Have the student do quick and frequent
looking (approximately every 3 seconds) into the rear-view mirror.
By monitoring traffic coming from behind, the student should always
know if he/she has an out (escape route) to the right or left.
|| Practice turns on and off main arteries in heavy traffic-
Remember to anticipate, match the speed of the traffic. Have the student
adjust speed as needed. Watch the 1-3 seconds following distance very
|| Practice freeway ramp techniques for entering and exiting/ double
exits- For exiting the freeway- hug the right white line until
the left wheel is out of the lane, only then start slowing to the
posted ramp speed. For entering the freeway: Signal left, accelerate
and go as fast as the bend and safety allows, then accelerate on the
way out of the bend. Once the vehicle can be held straight, look behind
to see traffic. Keep accelerating during this look. Then adjust speed
to match the flow of traffic, cancel signal.
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