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Sessions 3-5

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Moving, Stopping, Steering, Knowing Where You Are

Sessions 3-5 focus on learning the correct procedures for moving, stopping, using reference points, and steering the vehicle at different speeds. Review previous lesson objectives, and divide sessions into six 30-minute periods. If possible, drive at night during one session. Assess learning during the second half of session 5. Begin in a large, level parking lot that is free of obstacles. Place cones or other “targets” at selected locations on the lot.

The teen should practice driving around the perimeter of the lot at 10 and 15 mph. Using commentary driving, have your teen focus on smooth push-pull-slide/hand-to-hand steering and stops. Your teen should be coached to ease off the accelerator or use the brake to reduce speed before entering a curve and use slight acceleration to overcome inertia and pull the vehicle out of the curve. Novice drivers have a tendency to overuse the brake and under use the accelerator to control speed, so coach your child to only use the brake to reduce speed quickly.

Ask the teen to move the vehicle to specified targets in the parking lot at 10 and 15 mph. Focus on smooth acceleration, proper speed, and smooth stops. Explain to your teen that “curling” the toes back to ease pressure off the brake just before stopping results in smoother stops. Practice normal smooth stops and hard smooth stops which are done at a slightly higher speed.

Reference Points

Reference points help drivers know the location of their vehicle in relation to a pavement line or curb in the roadway. To know exactly where the vehicle is located, at speeds under 25 mph the young driver can align some part of the vehicle with the roadway. Practice establishing left, right, and front reference points 10 or 12 times during each session. Exchange places with your teen to demonstrate using left, right and front reference points.

Left-Side Reference Point

To align the vehicle 3-6 inches from a pavement line or curb on the driver’s side of the vehicle, the driver should stop when the line or curb appears to intersect a point located about one foot from the left edge of the hood of the car. After stopping the vehicle, the teen should place it in park, set the parking brake, and get out of the vehicle to check whether the vehicle is in the desired position. If it is not, the teen should try again.

Right-Side Reference Point

To align the vehicle 3-6 inches from a pavement line or curb on the passenger’s side of the vehicle, the driver should stop when the pavement line appears to intersect the center of hood. The teen should get out of the vehicle to check whether the tires are 3-6 inches from the line, and make adjustments as needed.

Front Reference Point

To align the front bumper 3-6 inches from a pavement line or curb, the driver should stop when the line appears under the passenger side mirror. Ask your teen to get out of the vehicle to check to see whether the front bumper is 3-6 inches from the pavement line or curb. Adjust as needed and re-establish the front reference point.

Checklist for Sessions 3-5

During session 5, parents should begin evaluating whether the driver can perform the following tasks in an efficient sequence without hesitation. Your teen should also be able to explain why each step is performed.
Place “S” for satisfactory as the following tasks are completed:
Uses commentary driving
Approaches the vehicle with awareness, checks, tires, fluid leaks, etc.
Enters the vehicle and makes appropriate checks and adjustments
Identifies and operates all controls (blows horn, turns wipers on and off, etc.)
Prepares to drive (see lessons 1-2)
Follows steps to put vehicle in motion (see lessons 1-2)
Properly secures the vehicle
Places heel on floor and accelerates smoothly
Establishes balanced hand position on the lower half of the steering wheel
Looks well ahead of the vehicle to identify risks in the path of travel
Maintains lane position
Exhibits smooth push-pull-slide steering
Maintains 10 mph speed
Maintains 15 mph speed
Checks inside mirror before braking and stops smoothly at 10 mph
Demonstrates smooth stop without locking wheels at 10 mph
Demonstrates smooth stop without locking wheels at 15 mph
Aligns the vehicle 3-6 inches from a line or curb on driver’s side of the vehicle
Aligns the vehicle 3-6 inches from a line or curb on passenger’s side of the vehicle
Aligns the front bumper 3-6 inches from a pavement line or curb