Controlling speed, braking and backing are basic driving skills your teen needs to master. Once these skills become second nature, your teen will be better able to learn more complex driving skills.
Speed control is essential for all driving tasks. Make sure your teen practices light acceleration and gradual stopping (controlled braking) so they’re comfortable controlling their speed in a variety of situations.
When practice moves to highway driving, acceleration to highway speeds and deceleration to exit speeds should also be practiced. Set a good example for your teen by obeying all speed limits. Remember, an inability to control speed for traffic, road conditions and curves is a leading cause of teen crashes.
Make sure your teen practices both cover braking and controlled braking. Cover braking is when your right foot hovers over the pedal – anticipating or preparing to brake. Controlled braking is firm, steady, even pressure on the brake pedal and is used in non-emergency situations.
Backing up increases the risk for a crash, because it’s much more difficult to see obstacles behind you. Backing up also requires more space to maneuver, because the back tires of the car don’t turn. When given the choice, teach your teen to position the car so they can pull forward instead. Make sure your teen learns, practices and can demonstrate proper backing up procedures.