Feb 19

Teaching your teen to drive: Judging gaps in traffic

anxious teen and her mom


Are you teaching your teen to drive but not quite sure where to begin? DriveitHOME can help! We’ve developed practice tips and lessons for each week of the year so your teen’s learning process can be as smooth as possible. The lessons are a simple click away and, just like that, you’re on track to teaching your teen to drive – the right way.

Today’s lesson is No. 22 – Judging the gaps to make safe turns (Part 1 of 2)


Judging the Gap (Part 1)

As you know, teens’ crash risk is three times that of more experienced drivers because teens struggle with necessary driving skills such as judging gaps in traffic, gauging proper following distance and driving the appropriate speed for conditions. These skills only come from experience. Deciding if it is safe to drive into traffic, make a turn safely or have time to pass another driver is a crucial skill, and teens need a lot of time to develop it.

For instance, if your teen is preparing to do any of these things – driving into traffic, making a turn or passing another driver – he or she needs to let other drivers know. Signaling your intentions is critical and respectful to other drivers. But as experienced drivers, we know just because you alert other drivers doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe to make that turn, drive into traffic or pass another driver. Patience and hazard recognition are important.

Remind your teen that if he or she isn’t 100 percent sure it’s safe to make the turn, just wait. Taking a few extra seconds could save your teen’s, or someone else’s, life. Don’t let your teen feel pressured into turning because another driver is in a rush.

In this lesson, let’s practice turning right or left out of a parking lot where there isn’t a signal. Let your teen know when it is safe to go the first few times, and then have your teen start to tell you when he or she thinks it’s safe. Keep doing this until you feel your teen has improved. Do this frequently when you go out. This is one of the most important skills you can teach your teen driver.

For more tips and practice lessons like these, visit DriveitHOME.org.


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1 comment

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  1. maureen

    Thanks for the ping back!

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