Lesson 9: How to “Talk” With Other Drivers - National Safety Council

Lesson 9: How to 'Talk' With Other Drivers

Since we can’t talk directly to other drivers or road users, we must use other methods to communicate. The more your teen learns to “talk” (and “listen”) to other drivers and pedestrians, the safer everyone will be. 

Scan the Road and Use Mirrors to 'Listen'

To anticipate the actions of other road users, your teen must learn to scan the road ahead, behind and around the vehicle. Straight ahead is easy, but your teen may need some assistance to see behind the vehicle and in its blind spots. That’s where mirrors come in. You’ll need to teach your teen to scan these areas every few seconds, as well as before turning or merging lanes. Blind spots may even require your teen to look over his or her shoulder to be fully aware of what other drivers are doing. 

'Talk' with Your Brakes, Horn and Turn Signals

In addition to being a good listener, your teen must learn how to “talk” clearly on the road. This means always using a turn signal (even if there are no other vehicles in sight), braking early to alert drivers behind him or her, and reserving the horn for situations that clearly call for it. During drives with your teen, point out how you can anticipate other drivers based on their brake lights and turn signals, and explain how your teen will be able to ‘talk’ to other drivers this way, too.

Practice: When driving with your teen in the car, point out vehicles and have your teen guess what the other driver is likely to do next based on how he or she is communicating. Then, ask your teen what your own actions behind the wheel are telling other drivers.  

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