Driver’s Education: Day 1

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Two kids in a Parking Lot

Day One of Drivers’ Education

The guys got their learners’ permits today and are required to document 10 hours of experience behind the wheel.

Day 1: The High School Parking Lot

First steps were seat-belts, mirror adjustment, seat height and position, and controls:  drive selection, accelerator and brake pedal operation.

The first demonstration I gave was braking. How to stop the car without jerking the passengers with ‘slam-brake’ recoil by letting off the brake at the last stages of stoppage.

The Drive


The stripes for the parking spaces made for good approximations of driving lanes.  Cruising, up and then down the parking lot provided some ‘feel’ for the car and perception of the dimensions of the car in traffic lanes. U-Turns at the ends provided a feel for the steering.

First lesson for turns:  Let go of the wheel when the car is pointed in the right direction.  The front wheels will track and the steering wheel will will turn to the correct position.

My new drivers initially had a sense that they had to control all the steering – and this actually interfered with the physics of the car’s movement.

Lesson Learned:  Overcontrolling makes physics angry. Let go of the wheel and let God straighten it out.

Acceleration and Braking

Within the ‘lanes’ marked by the parking spaces we accelerated and braked to the line that separated the parking spaces.  From one space to the next, we hit the parking lot speed limit of 10 MPH and measured how far over or under the front wheels were to the painted lines dividing the spaces.

Once the concept of ‘hard’ braking was familiar, we upped the speed.

20 Mph, 30 MPH, 40 MPH, and to 50 MPH – admittedly a bit over the posted 10 MPH Speed Limit.

Hard Braking became easy when the end of the parking lot was rushing into view through the windshield!


Speed Bumps that crossed every other parking row provided a steering challenge,  At 10 MPH the speed bumps were a grand slalom course. Once the boys successfully completed the stage, we did it again in reverse gear.  The art of steering backwards when driving in reverse is priceless.

Ryan’s notes from “Parent Driving – Day 1”

Learned how to properly stop
Learned how to make a U-Turn
Learned how to parallel park (kind of)
Learned how to not be afraid to stop at high speeds
Learned how to maneuver a car through spaces
Learned how to park
Learned how to signal other cars (turn signals, flashers, etc.)
Learned how to slow down for speed bumps
Learned that only one foot is to be used for accelerator and brakes.

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