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Surprising Things Adults Can Learn From Teens About Driving

Teaching teens to drive seems like such a simple concept until it comes to doing it. Teens have watched their parents drive for years. It would seem like teaching them to drive would be as simple as teaching them to walk. Over the years, adults tend to forget some of the things they learned in their drivers’ training. It turns out teenagers are flipping the switch and teaching their parents some ideas about driving.

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Mom gives her daughter a driving lesson. | Daisy-Daisy/Getty Images

Three surprising things adults can learn from teens About driving

Since my daughter was approaching her 16th birthday, and just learning the “rules of the road,” I decided to interview her and get a personal take on what things might be a surprise about what new drivers learn today. She had a lot of good reminders and confessed there was more to know about driving than just staying in your lane.

Highway hypnosis is not the same thing as fatigued driving

Zoning out while driving a vehicle, often having driven many miles, without memory of having done so, is called highway hypnosis. It is a form of automaticity. This is the ability to act without consciously thinking about them. This is not the same thing as fatigued driving, however. Driving in a fatigued state negatively affects safety and reaction time. Some of the ways a driver can avoid this automatic driving pattern is to keep the interior of the vehicle cool, drive during the daytime, engage in conversation with a passenger, and drink a caffeinated beverage.

Who has the right of way anyway

With millions of cars potentially on the road at any given time, it can be challenging to know who goes first. Let’s talk about right-of-ways and yielding. When it comes to the right of ways, here was my teenagers take on how to get it right.

“When driving your vehicle has to yield to other cars, to do so, you need to know whose turn it is. First, different types of intersections have different types of rules. Traditional intersections (usually controlled by signs) are easy because they have signs to follow, and you yield to the people already there. Non-traditional intersections, however, are not controlled by signs and you typically yield to give the right of way to cars near the intersection. Suddenly, taking turns in kindergarten doesn’t seem so silly.”

What to do if a police officer stops you

What to do if a police officer stops you was not a topic I anticipated to hear coming from my teen, but it is increasingly more critical knowledge to have. Hopefully, traffic stops aren’t something we often encounter, but knowing the best way to handle them is excellent knowledge to have.

Traffic stops can happen for a countless number of reasons, from something as straightforward as a broken tail light or as significant as drug possession or being involved in a crime. The first things that you should keep in mind when being stopped by a police officer are to put your hands straight out on the wheel, don’t mess with anything, and wait for the officer to give you directions.

The rules of the road are much more than go on green and stop on red. Driving is one of the single hardest things for a person to learn and has a significant impact on the people around them. On the road, you are not only responsible for your own life, but you’re also responsible for others on the road and the ones in the car with you. Take a moment to ask teens around you what they are learning in their training, and you may find that you are surprised and encouraged by what you learn.