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If you have an upcoming driver at your house, you might be wondering how to teach your child to drive. While you could head out on I-5, that might not be the best solution for someone who hasn’t been behind the wheel before. It’ll probably take some time to warm up to that kind of traffic. Try some of the following suggestions for starters.
Located in Sand Point, Magnuson Park has various small roads weaving through the entire park. While there will be people in the park to watch out for, it’s a low-traffic area where speeds shouldn’t reach very high. This gives you an opportunity to show your teen some of the specifics of driving, while they drive at only 10 or 15 mph.
Located in the Magnolia neighborhood is Discovery Park. It has some long stretches that are perfect for the beginning driver. There are some areas that are shaded and others that are in direct sunlight, giving you a chance to teach your teen driver about different lighting situations. With the lighthouse or the bluff as a destination, you can help your child learn how to safely follow directions or a map to find a certain location. The Magnolia area itself is a nice place to teach your teen as well, as it is a quiet neighborhood with long stretches of road.
North Seattle College
There are a lot of empty parking places at North Seattle College during the evening and on weekends. While you should always be considerate of students and faculty at the college, there are some peak times when hardly anybody is there and you have an open area to help your teen focus on parking, starting and stopping, going in reverse, and other skills.
The Industrial District is definitely not suited for your first lesson, but after your teen is comfortable behind the wheel, this is a good place to learn about railroad tracks, viaducts, and eventually venture onto on- and off-ramps to I-5.
Where to Start
Now that you’ve got some physical locations to start at, you should know where to start in the learning process. As you know, there’s a lot that goes into driving a car, and teen driver safety should always be your number one priority. The following are some points to begin with.
- Physical Safety – This includes teaching your teen the importance of buckling up, as well as having all passengers buckled. This might be a good time to talk about keeping both hands on the wheel at all times. You could also go over eliminating distractions, such as turning off the cell phone, turning the radio volume down, etc.
- Basic Maneuvers – This includes teaching about safe braking practices, checking the blind spot before turning, turning correctly, coming to a full stop at lights and stop signs, staying at a safe distance from other cars, and aggressive visual searches for bikers, animals, runners, and other pedestrians.
While most of these skills can be learned at the parks or community college, there are some things that will require heading out on an actual road. Once your teen feels comfortable with safety issues and basic skills, you can venture into residential areas with low speed limits. Again, when your child is comfortable in that environment, you can move the lessons to the highway. Also remember your teen needs practice in the dark, during busy hours, and during different weather conditions as soon as he or she feels comfortable with basic skills behind the wheel.
Keep Your Car in Good Repair
Before you take your teen driving around Seattle, make sure your car is in good condition. Contact Greg’s Japanese Auto for all your maintenance needs at 1-800-794-7347.