1. Anticipating what other drivers will do
How many times have you had a narrow miss because of someone pulling out of a parking spot or changing lanes without a signal? You have avoided crashes because you have learned to anticipate the actions of other drivers and react quickly. These are complex driving situations, and a new teen driver likely will have a harder time anticipating what other drivers will do due to their lack of experience.
2. The “safety cushion”
Discuss this concept with teens: They should try to have a cushion of empty space between their vehicle and any other vehicles or obstacles that surround them. The bigger the cushion, the more time they have to anticipate and react to other drivers’ actions.
3. Practice defensive driving
- Take a drive in a moderately busy traffic area. Have your teen point out other drivers’ turn signals, reverse lights, double-parked vehicles, drivers trying to merge and any other signs that point to an interaction with another driver.
- Ask teens what they would do in each of these situations and add any additional advice you may have for them.
- Reverse roles. As you drive, point out to your teen what you anticipate is going to happen. Ask if you missed anything.
- This is a good exercise to try a few times in different areas.