Number one, take a deep breath.
Second, choose a nice place to teach and practice. Here, Lincoln’s airpark has been a great place for teaching new bus drivers. When Karen first took Chad out to drive (years and years ago), the parking lot at one of the high schools had been diagrammed to teach young drivers.
Third, show them how to aim their mirrors. The mirrors on the side of the car don’t do any good facing the top of the roof. Yes, they may see an oncoming vehicle from way back, but that’s all it’ll do. If your vehicle is merging into oncoming traffic or changing lanes, the mirror won’t alert the driver to the vehicle closest beside and behind in time to take corrective action. Each one should be see just enough along the side of the car with a view of the space beside the car, and if it’s a large vehicle, like a truck or an RV, aim that mirror to see the rear bumper. The reason for that is tail swing that can create havoc if you don’t know where the bumper is.
Fourth, explain the need to be alert. It takes two to create an accident. Distractions are everywhere, and many, many drivers aren’t aware of you. If they aren’t watching you when you’re on the road, what do you think happens when you’re distracted from them? Poles and parked cars are definitely not paying attention to you. Alertness extends to 15 to 20 seconds down the road as well as close by. Decisions are best made before something can happen. So if you teach them to see something potentially hazardous down the road, they’ve got time to brake before that situation becomes costly in time and money.
Fifth, once you’re happy with the child’s attention span and control of the vehicle at the practice location, take your child out to deal with traffic, increasing the challenges a bit at a time. So, your first area might be country roads, then residential streets, then suburban shopping areas and school zones, then arterials and four lane roads, and finally highway driving.
If you have questions, you can post it here, we’ll try to answer it. Or, you can contact your local safety council.