Teaching your teen to drive: Braking

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May 1 2014 / By DriveitHOME

Teaching your teen to drive: Braking

Are you teaching your teen to drive but not quite sure where to begin? DriveitHOME can help! We’ve developed practice tips and lessons for each week of the year so your teen’s learning process can be as smooth as possible. The lessons are a simple click away and, just like that, you’re on track to teaching your teen to drive – the right way.

Today’s lessons are Nos. 4 and 5 – Braking and accelerating around turns; Hard braking

Braking and Starting: Accelerating Around Turns

A successful driver has control of the vehicle…and mastery of plenty of other skills, too.

Control begins with the basics: starting and stopping. Drive with your teen and observe how he or she stops. Does your teen stop hard? Teach your teen when to take the foot off the gas and when to apply gradual pressure to the brakes. This is also known as squeezing the brake.

After coming to a complete stop, observe how your teen puts the car in motion. Did the car jerk or jump forward? Let your teen know it’s not necessary to hit the gas right away in an automatic transmission car. Coach your teen in applying gradual pressure to the gas in a similar way to braking.

How does your teen brake and accelerate into and out of a turn? Odds are your teen doesn’t brake or accelerate smoothly at this stage of the game. Practicing these skills will not only improve their driving, but it will also make being a passenger more enjoyable!

And, while the goal is a smooth stop, your teen also needs to know how to stop in case of emergency.

Hard Braking

The safest way to drive is to always watch for potentially risky events so you can avoid sudden stops. Occasionally, drivers get in situations that require a quick stop, which means slamming on the brakes. When drivers do this, it is easier to lose control of a car and tougher to maneuver the vehicle to avoid a crash.

You and your teen can practice what to do in a rapid stop situation. For this exercise you will need to go to an empty parking lot, with no one around and no obstacles.

  • Have your teen drive at different speeds and slam on the brakes
  • Be sure not to go fast enough to be put in danger
  • Let your teen experience how the car feels during a rapid stop, so when it happens on the road your teen will be prepared
  • You can set up some cones and have your teen try to avoid them while he or she is braking hard, too

Odds are your vehicle has a four wheel Antilock Braking System. Check, and if it does, show your teen know how these systems are designed and what it feels/sounds like when the ABS is engaged. Then simulate a quick hard stop. Rapidly accelerate in the parking lot, getting the car up to about 20 mph (if it is safe and you have the distance) and then stop hard by  applying firm pressure to the brake pedal. Your teen will feel the action of the brakes while he is pressing hard.

Remember to steer in the direction you want to go (do NOT have your teen look at what he is trying to avoid). Rear wheel drive, front wheel drive, non-ABS, and rear-wheel ABS vehicles will all have different stopping characteristics.  Review your owner’s manual to see what type of system is on your vehicle.

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