When you do something for so long, it becomes second nature, and when something is second nature to you, it’s often very hard to teach someone else how to do it. Teaching your teen to drive can be an incredibly frustrating experience, but knowing where to start may alleviate some of the stress. In this installment of the Teen Driving Tips and Facts Series, we’re discussing Tips for Teaching Your Teen to Drive: How to Turn a Car. We’ll continue on to cover other skills, but let’s take this one step at a time, which is exactly how you should approach teaching your teen to drive. Don’t try to cram too much information into each lesson, because you don’t want to make your teen feel overwhelmed—a calm, patient driver is able to make better judgment calls than one who’s stressed and feels pressured.
How to Turn a Car. As we discussed earlier, teens have a hard time judging distance/location/speed, and their unfamiliarity with the size and shape of your car makes maneuvering it challenging. For this reason, new drivers often struggle with mastering turn precision. The first step to practicing turning is to practice making full stops at the legal stop line before a stop sign. Instruct your teen to always look left, then right, then back left again before entering an intersection. Remind your teen to signal the turn, and explain how to follow the legal lanes of a turn in order to avoid turning from one lane into another.
When making a right turn with a required stop, instruct your teen to signal first, then check the mirrors and blind spot, and be mindful of the car’s distance from the curb to the right to avoid hitting it when turning. A good rule of thumb is to be 3 feet from the edge of the roadway. Also be sure to point out what bike lanes and parking spaces along roads can look like, and explain the importance of not driving in those areas. Before making the turn, instruct your teen to search the intersection for any oncoming traffic, pedestrians, or potential hazards. As you teen begins the turn, his head should turn in the direction of the turn before he even turns the wheel, and then he should accelerate lightly and turn the wheel. When the dashboard is aligned with the curb, your teen can straighten out the wheel and gradually accelerate to the appropriate speed for the road. Your teen should finish by checking the rearview mirror.
When making a left turn with a required stop, begin by instructing your teen to signal and check his mirrors and blind spot for other vehicles. With firm, steady, even pressure on the brake, your teen should approach the intersection and stop at whatever the legal stopping point is for the given intersection. This point could be a stop line, a cross walk, or aligned with the stop sign. If there is no designated stopping point, the general practice is to stop at the end of the curb. Next, instruct your teen to check for potential hazards on the road, and turn his head in the direction of the turn before turning the wheel. He should then begin to accelerate lightly, and should start turning the wheel when his line of sight reaches the center of the lane he’s turning into without having to cross the curb line. When your teen is centered in the lane he has just turned into, he should straighten out his car and accelerate to the appropriate speed. Lastly, he should check his rearview mirror.
Hope this will help you teach your teen how to turn a car! Stay tuned for more tips on teaching your teen to drive!