Stage 1: The Chalk Lesson

At some point during your teen’s first month of behind-the-wheel practice, you should perform this chalk exercise.

It won’t take more than 15 minutes and is a great way to illustrate the amount of “blind” space around your car.

By performing the chalk lesson, they’ll get to see just how much area immediately around their car is essentially invisible to the driver of the car.

This should help convey the importance of checking the area around your car before entering it. You simply cannot tell from the driver’s seat whether a small pet, child, or piece of personal property may be in danger.

As the name of this lesson suggests, you’ll need a piece of chalk. You’ll also need an empty parking lot and your car. By the way, we suggest chalkboard chalk and not sidewalk chalk. Sidewalk chalk is meant to last to be somewhat permanent and can withstand rainstorms.

Step 1: Have your teen sit in the driver’s seat while you remain outside the vehicle.

Step 2: Position yourself at the center of the hood of the car. Begin walking backwards. Instruct your teen to alert you when they can see your feet.

Step 3: Make an “X” with your chalk where you’re standing.

Step 4: Repeat this procedure from seven more locations around the car. For positions to the rear of the car, they should use their rear-view mirror.

  1. Left-front corner of the car.
  2. Left side of the car (between the front and rear seats)
  3. Left-rear corner of the car.
  4. Rear of the car.
  5. Right-rear corner of the car.
  6. Right side of the car (between the front and rear seats)
  7. Right-front corner of the car.

Step 5: Ask your teen to step outside of the car and connect all of the “X’s”. (This is somewhat back-breaking work and you don’t want to do it yourself.) The area inside of the circle represents what you cannot see from within the confines of the driver’s seat. This is quite a large area.

Step 6: Ask your teen to return to the vehicle. Sit down next to one of the wheels of the car. Ask your teen to identify your location. Unless you’re especially tall, they won’t be able to see you. Stress that a young child, pet, or bottle of broken glass is even smaller and more difficult to spot.

The purpose of this exercise is to stress the importance of taking a quick look around your car before you get in it. You just never know what may be hiding next to your car.

Continue on to Yes, you still have to remind them to wear a seatbelt.

All information and advice contained within this website is to be taken at your own risk. Nothing contained within this website should be misconstrued as professional driving instruction.