Teaching Responsibility To Your Teenagers About Driving

car driving

Teaching your teen how to drive is an important part of bringing the child up and making them learn an essential life skill. Below are five important steps which can help your teenager develop good driving sense. Every stage requires the teen to be proficient in it before moving on to subsequent stages. These stages will take significant time behind the wheel of the car for the teenager and it is advisable to go slow and to make sure that the teen internalizes all the lessons.

Stage 1: Vehicular Information

This stage deals with the general information about the car and how it works and what the driver is required to know about the car. Basically, by the end of this stage, your intrepid teenager should know:

  • How to turn the engine on and off
  • How to turn the lights on and off, using parking lights
  • How to adjust and what speed of windscreen wipers to choose
  • What the instrument panel reads out
  • How to fasten seat belts
  • How to fuel the vehicle, check tire pressure, etc
  • How to change flat tires
  • What to do in case of an accident

Stage 2: The Basic Skills

This stage deals with the basic ways of maneuvering the car and how to make the car do what the driver wants it to do. An empty space such as a parking lot or a large empty road. This stage requires the teenager to be adept at:

  • Make safe turns, both left and right, including signaling
  • Stop the car smoothly
  • Shift gears if using a manual transmission
  • Back the car safely and straight
  • Show awareness of his or her surroundings

Stage 3: Interacting with Other Objects on the Road

This stage teaches the teen how to behave with other drivers and also teaches road sense to the teenager. There are various interactions that the driver while driving with other drivers, parked cars or pedestrians and other such objects. The best place to practice such things is in a residential area at slow speeds and then on normal multi lane streets at traffic speeds. This stage requires the teen to be able to:

  • Navigate safely through an intersection, including those with signals, 4-way stops, 2-way stops and uncontrolled intersections
  • Make a smooth and safe lane change
  • Maintain a “safe cushion” around the vehicle when in traffic
  • Drive courteously
  • Operate within posted speed limits and obeying traffic signs
  • Safely cross railroad tracks
  • Use mirrors and check blind spots

Stage 4: Parking and Other Turns

There are many experienced drivers who are not very good at parking and there are many teen accidents which happen around parking areas. An empty parking lot or a residential street is a good place for a lesson on parking. There are also various turns such as the U-turn or the three pointed turn which need to be taught to the teen as they have application in daily driving. By the end of this stage, the teen should be able to:

  • Park safely on a hill-facing uphill and facing downhill
  • Parallel park safely
  • Safely pull into and out of a 90 degree parking space
  • Safely pull into and out of a diagonal parking space
  • Make a safe U-turn
  • Make three pointed turns

Stage 5: Advanced

These skills are based on how well the teen has done in the other stages and require them to be adept at each and every other stage before they attempt this. At the end of this stage, your teen can safely drive and should be able to:

  • Drive safely on the freeway, including merging, lane changes, and maintaining safe distances from other vehicles
  • Drive safely at night
  • Drive in different conditions such as ice, snow or wet weather


There are also other important aspects to driving such as maintenance and auto insurance which should be explained to the teen. Auto insurance is an increasingly complicated field which requires knowledge and research and also requires one to be well versed with the inner workings of the car.


Tim McLaren is a former racing car driver turned car restorer who spends most of his time (and money) on returning old cars to their former glory. Tim also helps fathers and teenagers alike in order to help them learn and teach how to drive. Tim is active online, search him out for help relating to cars, auto insurance and car maintenance.

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