Parent As Driving Teacher: A Useful Guide
Driving Lesson Plans
You can teach your teen to drive safely by providing supervised practice driving. Driving lesson plans are key in helping your teen receive 65 or more hours of varied practice driving with you or a trusted adult before getting his or her full license. It’s also helpful to use a driving practice log to keep track of how many hours you and your teen have driven together, week by week. Be sure to jot down notes in the log and driving lesson plans to keep you focused.
During this time, you need to not only explain the mechanics of driving, but also provide specific practice under various road conditions. The most common driving errors associated with serious teen crashes involve skill deficiencies that you can reinforce on practice drives. Specifically, teens need to know how to scan for hazards, which involves observing the surroundings far ahead of the vehicle and side-to-side so that they have sufficient warning to react and avoid a potential crash. They also need to learn to adjust their speed for road conditions such as dense traffic, blind curves, and poorly lit roads.
Scanning and speed management are considered "higher order" skills that older drivers develop with time spent behind the wheel. Unfortunately, it is the lack of these implicit thinking skills that lead to many serious teen crashes. Research shows that most parents and teens do not sufficiently reinforce these skills during supervised driving sessions. This is not due to preference but because they just don't know how. Make sure your teens' driver education instructors include scanning during their lessons. Also be sure to ask for the instructors' expert advice to help reinforce effective scanning habits with your teen. Here are some other tools to help you: