Student Driver – Don’t Start The Car !

A student driver has a lot to learn before barrelling down the highway!

For someone just learning to drive, driving lessons are invaluable.

They are done by someone unbiased, up to date on the driving manual and someone your child will probably listen to more than they listen to you.

They are also less likely to teach them their own bad driving habits.

Unfortunately professional driving lessons can be costly and may not be an option for you, if that’s the case read on!

The mistake many of us make is to take the student driver out in the car, and say get in. We then start rattling off instructions.

Keep in mind the first time someone gets behind the wheel of a vehicle there is a lot of stress.

The student driver -finally behind the wheel!

What next? What do I do? How do I start? How do I stop? They already are a hazard on the road!

Your first few lessons won’t involve starting the car at all.

The student driver needs to feel comfortable first, this way he is more receptive to you when you are actually on the road.

Let your first lessons be in the vehicle in the driveway……no keys required, just listening and observing.

It is critical to show and explain everything you need to know about the vehicle and how to drive it. Without actually starting the car!

Have the student driver sit in the drivers seat, you sit in the passenger seat. This will give them a feel for the car.

The student driver should focus on these steps first:

  1. Adjusting the driver’s seat – very important so you have proper control of the vehicle
  2. Seat belt – always buckle up
  3. Mirrors – Rearview and side mirrors, show how to adjust the mirrors so they can see clearly and when they should use them
  4. Headlight controls, high beam
  5. Windshield wiper controls
  6. Horn – how and when to use it
  7. Gauges – explain what they are and what to watch for
  8. Shifting – whether automatic or standard, go thru and explain what each gear is used for
  9. Floor pedals – Gas, brake and clutch pedal. Explain what they are used for and what foot to use.
  10. Heat/Cool Controls – It is important to be comfortable when driving, knowledge of the controls will prevent a lot of fumbling when driving
  11. Radio – having the radio on at a managable level helps to reduce stress and break tensions.
  12. Gas – we all need to know where the gas goes! If you have inside controls for opening the gas cap make sure to point them out.

Have the student driver do this several times a week before actually going out on the road. You will notice the difference in their confidence level when they are sitting behind the wheel.

If you are doubting that the driver understands what you have taught them, you can give them a short written or oral quizz and then you’ll know if they are ready to Start The Car!


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