Lesson 4: Talk With Your Car
Safe driving is all about communication. Without actually speaking, your teen has to understand what other drivers are doing – or are about to do – and those drivers must know the same about your teen. Fortunately, turn signals and brake lights exist to help drivers communicate, but your teen must use them consistently to stay safe.
You can practice this with your teen by requiring him or her to use a turn signal at every instance of turning, merging or changing lanes. It doesn’t matter if the road is empty or your teen is already in a turn lane: using a turn signal should become a habit for your teen, one so ingrained that he or she barely has to think about doing it. This can help calm road rage by clearing up confusing situations, and it can alert drivers in your teen’s blind spots to take action and avoid a potential crash. The best part is that turn signals couldn’t be easier to use.
Similarly, brake lights are a great tool to communicate to other drivers when traffic is slowing ahead, but many drivers only brake at the last minute. This results in sudden stops, which can lead to rear-end collisions. Help your teen overcome this issue by braking early and staying far enough back from vehicles up ahead to account for their own sudden stops. This will help your teen become a much better communicator on the road, all without saying a word.
Practice: On your next practice drive, ask your teen to imagine driving without brake lights or turn signals. How would that change the way he or she drives? Drivers behind and to the side of your teen would have no warning about upcoming stops, turns or lane changes, and your teen would have no clue what the drivers up ahead are planning. Once your teen understands how other drivers are counting on his or her turn signals and brake lights, this lesson will be much more likely to stick.