Tools for the Parents of Teen Drivers – Lesson #1

Picking up the keys

Lesson #1

(Letting Go is hard to do!)

Safety Tip:  MAP or visually locate the POLES and other FIXED obstacles in the parking lot.  Locate pedestrians, bikers and boarders. DO not forget, you might be sharing the parking lot.

Start slowly by taking your teen to a deserted school or church parking lot.   The first day should be conducted under ideal driving conditions.  Find a place with wide open space and no traffic.  Limit their speed to no more than 15 mph.

Make sure your teen is comfortable accelerating, braking and turning.  The object of this lesson is for them to become comfortable behind the wheel and feel in control of the vehicle before driving on a public road.  It is imperative that you correct any improper use of technique before a habit can be formed.

This is a learning experience for your teen as well as for you, as an instructor.  Determine your teens’ skill level and observe how your teen learns.  One of the most common mistakes you can make as an instructor is to assume your teen is familiar with driving or the operation of the vehicle.

Safety Tip:  Driving instruction is NOT just while the teen drives. YOU should be engaging the teen driver while you drive (even the pre-teen).

Start the lesson with you acting as the instructor and end the lesson with your teen acting as the instructor.  One of the best ways to learn a subject is to teach the subject.  By reversing roles, your teen will be demonstrating their full comprehension of the lesson.

This lesson may need to be repeated several times before both of you are comfortable venturing onto a public road.   There is no need to rush this phase of the process.  Make sure your teen is comfortable behind the wheel before moving on to the next set of skills.

   Safety Tip:  Use games to teach your teen about driving.  For example:

  1. Spot the loser – Identify the worst driver on the road.  Have your teen explain the errors the driver is making.
  2. Count the errors – See how many errors you can see other drivers make.
  3. Predict the move – try to predict the next move of the other vehicles on the road.

Your teen is and HAS BEEN thinking driving is easy. They do NOT know all the decisions you make as you drive down the road.  Don’t just tell them; tell them WHILE you are processing the decisions.


Lesson #1

(Parking Lot)


(15 Minutes)


(A, B, C)

Comments, Praise and

Areas of Improvement


Vehicle Safety Check


Adjust Seat & Mirrors

Review Vehicle Controls & Gauges    

Driving Experience

( 1 Hour)


(A, B, C)

Comments, Praise and

Areas of Improvement


Starting the Engine

Engaging the Transmission    

Use of Mirrors


Moving Forward






Stopping Distance




Orientation on the Road



(15 Minutes)


Comments, Praise and

Areas of Improvement


Stopping Distances


Orientation on the Road

Scanning the Road (Anticipating Problems)    

Good Points



Additional Comments:


Skills to review for next lesson:

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