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Teaching Teen To Drive

Original post made by PA Parent on Jun 12, 2012

My teen daughter is 17 and has gotten her drivers permit and had her first 2 driving lessons. I am wondering if people have advice on how to teach her how to drive-she is not very comfortable with it since she's only driven for a total of 4 hours.

Does anyone have any ideas on good locations to practice driving? Or any tips in general on teaching a teen to drive?

Comments (7)

Posted by driver, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Continue to let the driver's ed instructer teach your daughter to drive. Getting information on how to do something from a lot of well meaning folks would only confuse your daughter. Let the instructer do his job.


Posted by Been there, done that, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm

A few years ago, when my daughter first got her driver's permit, we first started driving around on an almost empty office building parking lot on the week-end.

We'll probably do the same thing with our other child


Posted by Former student, a resident of Gunn High School
on Jun 13, 2012 at 12:44 am

This might not apply to your daughter, but when I was first learning to drive, I found it really helpful to drive every day to school. Since it was basically the same route, there were no surprises. I knew where the stop signs were, the stoplights, etc., and could just focus on my "technique," so to speak.

So I think driving a regular route at first would be helpful to acclimate someone to driving.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 13, 2012 at 1:16 am

My daughter did off street practice driving around the VA Hospital - first the parking lot, and then driving around the loop. Your kid may be beyond that already, but we did that probably 4-5x for 40 min to an hour each, just practicing starting, stopping, turning, etc. Nice to build up confidence with minimal traffic.

Good luck


Posted by moi, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2012 at 8:01 am

Best driving advice my daddy ever taught me:

Never assume what another driver will do ----

Do not assume that if their turn signal is on, they will be turning.

Do not assume that they will stop at a stop sign.

Do not assume that they will yield the right of way to you, even if it is legally yours.

Do not assume that a pedestrian is paying attention.

Ad nauseum.

Thanks, Daddy.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2012 at 8:32 am

Good place for earliest driving experience is Foothill College loop at weekends or when there are no students around. Good practice of simple driving with minimal traffic, but only when no students are around.


Posted by parent of teen, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm

My daughter just got her license two weeks ago. After the first 2 hour behind the wheel lesson, a student should be ready to drive in the neighborhood with you. To the poster who wrote "Let the instructer do his job," well, students are required to have an additional 50 hours of driving experience IN ADDITION TO the official driving lessons. That means parents have to allow their teens to drive!

In my child's case, I just let her do the driving on all our neighborhood errands. With me right beside her, I could coach her as she drove (creep out past the stop sign to see around that parked car, here's where you start turning your wheel to parallel park, etc). She drove nice and slow and carefully, and after a few months of this I didn't have to coach at all, and then she passed her road test first try.

You're right, there's no instructions on how to do this! For me the most important thing was to stay calm, even if she made a minor error, and just give it time!


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