ROAD TRIP! Parents – use a road trip as a driving exercise. Part II

ROAD TRIP! Parents – use a road trip as a driving exercise. Part II

Where to go?

First thing you need to do is determine where you’re going to go. Since most states have regulations on the number of hours a student driver can practice per day, let’s take the average of 4 hours. Figure that you’ll drive out for 2 hours — which is around 110 miles. What is something fun, cool or interesting within two hours of your home that you’d both want to see or visit? Since we are based just north of Tampa, Florida lets take a look at what is 110 miles away from Tampa.

110 miles around Tampa, FloridaA student driver can only drive 4 hours a day.  Using Tampa as an example, a 110 mile radius around Tampa looks like the image on the left. So you could plan an outing to anywhere in Orlando to the NorthEast or to Ft. Myers to the south.  Or how about this for a recommendation? Share the driving a little and you can make the trip from Tampa to Ginnie Springs and have an amazing day.  Of course, there are all kinds of places to go along the west coast Cedar Key, Crystal River, Chassahowitzka River and even over to the Apollo Beach power plant in the cooler weather to see the manatees.    

Plan the trip.

One of the things you want to do is plan this trip. Parents, don’t just decide on Saturday morning you’re going to take off. As a parent you want to teach your child good planning skills. There is a huge opportunity here to display good planning techniques even if you don’t use them every day. Here is a link to an excellent road trip planning checklist  Click here .

  1. Prep the vehicle.  (Make sure all the fluids are up to proper levels.  Tires are properly inflated and in good condition & fill it up with gas)
  2. Plan the route. (Waze is a great app to use for navigation) Make sure that the route you want to go is not closed for any reason.
  3. Plan the ride. (Determine if you are going to bring snacks, other family members come along, any other apps that may be helpful)
  4. If your family is going, make sure to secure your home before you leave.
  5. Plan the visit. Nothing worse than going somewhere to see something and missing it.
  6. Pack the car ahead of time.

Outside the Car

Before you even get into the car, there are some exercises you can go over with your kid.

The first thing you should do is take a quick inspection walk around the car. Point out areas that they should take note of.

For instance:

  1. Make sure the tires are properly inflated and in good shape
  2. Make sure all lights function properly
  3. Check for anything that isn’t the way it is supposed to be (Mirrors, reflectors, etc.)

In the Car

Once you’ve done your walk-around the vehicle it is now time to get in. Once inside, teach your teen to do the same kind of quick visual inspection to make sure nothing is obviously wrong. Sometimes a rear view mirror will fall off or a passenger might accidentally break something and not say something. Once a general overview is complete it is time to adjust the car for them.  While doing that, use it as an opportunity for your driver to go over the systems in the car and explain them.

Have your driver locate the following controls and explain how they work and when you would use them:

  1. 4-way flashers
  2. Emergency and parking brakes
  3. Headlights
  4. Heater/defroster
  5. Horn
  6. Windshield wipers

Then have your driver go through adjusting the driver area and explain the reasoning.

  1. Seating position
  2. Head rest position
  3. Steering wheel position
  4. Mirror positions (Both rear and side view)

Final Checks

Now that you have gone over all of the basic stuff, it is time to do a little sharing of experience.  Talk to your driver about what they are going to do and see. As you explain the drive ahead of you, take the opportunity to have the driver explain different maneuvers such as merging onto the highway or changing lanes. Make sure to tell them the key points they need to pay attention to.