Stage 2: Mix up the cars
Let your teen use all of the family cars
I know what you may be thinking: “Are you out your mind?! I’m only going to sacrifice one car to my teen learning to drive.” I understand this initial reaction, but step back and think about this for a minute. What’s more important: a car or your teen?
While your car may get a few dings and dents while your teen learns to drive, that’s better than a serious crash. And the reason for having your teen drive as many different cars as possible is in order to avoid such a crash.
Helps develop spatial awareness
By allowing your teen to experience different vehicles, they will more quickly develop an intuitive spatial awareness of the car. Part of not hitting other drivers is to have an accurate feel of the space your vehicle occupies.
Creates better pedal control
As discussed in other articles, smooth driving requires fine motor control of the feet. By driving other vehicles, teens will more quickly learn how to apply small, yet varying amounts of pressure to the pedal. Think about it: if you were learning to play basketball, you need fine control over the flight of the ball. Therefore, it’s probably more effective to practice shooting from different distances than to only throw free throws (unless you’re Shaq).
Increases familiarity with control devices
Driving other vehicles also familiarizes your teen with variations of control devices. For instance, the gear shift, windshield wipers, lights, horn, trunk and hood releases can be slightly different between vehicle brands. Some cars have gas tank cover releases and some don’t. It’s important that your new driver realize these differences. You never know when they’ll need to drive a different vehicle than the one they’re used to.
Continue on to Understanding Braking