How to Teach Car Driving Basics to a New Driver

Before enrolling a theory test and getting a driving lesson from instructor, a beginners would have to learn basic car driving essential components and checklist to be too familiar with all car basic knowledge.

Colorado law requires that you spend 50 hours, including 10 hours at night, co – piloting the car with your teenager before he or she can apply for a license. For a complete guide to current Graduated Driver’s License laws, go to

There’s no set amount of lessons that you need to pass your test, the amount of lessons you need depends on how quickly you learn (except rules and law applies according to state).

Having extra practice behind the wheel before your test is valuable, so many opt for extra hours outside of their lessons with someone they know.

To supervise a learner you must be at least 21 years old. You must also:

  • Have held a full driving license for at least three years
  • Be qualified to drive the same type of car as the learner, e.g. manual or automatic
  • Meet the minimum eyesight standards
  • Not be paid to supervise the learner, unless you’re a qualified driving instructor

If you’re going to teach someone how to drive, you need to know what you’re doing.

  • Depending on how long you’ve had your license, the driving test may have changed drastically since you tore off your L-plates.
  • It’s worth getting clued up on what the current driving test contains.

This includes:

  • hazard perception
  • show me, tell me
  • independent driving


Begin with a tour of a vehicle

  • Dashboard controls
  • Steering wheel and seat adjustment
  • Mirror adjustment
  • Turn signals
  • Headlights
  • Safety features like air bags and seat belts
  • Wipers
  • Emergency lights
  • Parking brake/release
  • Starting/turning off the engine
  • Gas, brakes (especially ABS)
  • Warning indicator lights on dashboard (such as low fuel, oil, temperature indicator)

If you are planning on teaching the learner alone, you can plan each lesson based on the driving lesson syllabus. All the learning to drive tutorials are detailed below in which you’ll need to teach someone to drive.

  • Cockpit drill – car controls and instruments, steering technique
  • Safety checks (driving blind spots and mirrors)
  • Mirror adjustment, vision and use
  • Moving off and stopping – clutch control
  • Safe road positioning / lane discipline
  • Use of signals – when to use signals when driving
  • Dealing with junctions and roundabouts
  • Meeting, passing parked cars, crossing and overtaking other traffic
  • Anticipation and planning
  • Dealing with pedestrian crossings
  • Cyclists and cycle lanes
  • Independent driving
  • Dual carriageways
  • Motorway Driving – approved driving instructors (ADI) are now permitted to teach learner drivers on motorways. Though this doesn’t apply to those that do not hold an ADI license, a learner will benefit from improving their knowledge on motorways. Motorway driving is not conducted on the driving test.
  • Following distances – 2 second rule
  • Country roads
  • Use of speed / speed awareness, making progress, hesitancy
  • Straight reversing
  • Maneuvers – with the recent driving test changes, maneuvers have changed. Reverse parking and reverse bay parking are still conducted. New maneuvers for the new driving test are forward parking into a bay and pulling up on the right.
  • Emergency stop
  • Show Me Tell Me driving test questions and answers

Let’s get in to the car

  • A good time to remind your new driver to pay attention to their surroundings
  • Look ahead and to the sides.
  • Check mirrors.
  • Scan continuously for hazards.
  • Teach your beginner to keep a clear “safety space” around the car so there’s room to react to any hazards. The farther he or she hangs back from the vehicle in front, the better your teen will be able to see what’s ahead. Seeing better and farther provides extra time to react to changing traffic conditions.

Start in low-speed, low-traffic areas

Beginner skills checklist

  • Turns: speed and use of signals
  • Braking smoothly: gradually slowing to a stop
  • Accelerating smoothly: steadily increasing to a safe speed within the posted limit
  • Approaching intersections controlled by stop signs or lights
  • Determining right of way
  • Single-lane and multi-lane roadways (low speeds)
  • Changing lanes and how to merge into traffic safely
  • Maintaining appropriate speed
  • Scanning for and identifying hazards
  • Keeping a safe following distance
  • Sharing the road with cyclists, pedestrians, and school buses
  • Driving in a school zone
  • Reacting to an approaching emergency

As your new driver starts to master these skills, pay attention to which ones he or she is confident with. As you both become more comfortable, continue to expose your new driver to different times of day, levels of traffic, and weather conditions on familiar roads.

Start to drive on Highway

Before heading out onto the highway, prepare your new driver for:

  • Higher speeds that call for longer stopping distances
  • The need to check blind spots before changing lanes
  • Driving near large trucks
  • Anticipating interchanges by reading signs
  • Allowing a “safety space” around you, in the event you need to pull off the road for another vehicle or debris
  • Looking for traffic stopped or slowing ahead

 Check advance skills

Skills a new driver needs to master while in high-speed, high-traffic conditions:

  • Merging into traffic
  • Identifying road signs and exits
  • Navigating toll booths
  • Passing and being overtaken
  • Maintaining proper speed
  • Being courteous to others
  • Keeping a safe following distance

View: Car Maintenance Schedule by Mileage or Time

Keep your cool

It’s crucial to keep calm in the car and not let things get heated. If either of you start to lose your cool, take a five-minute break and then try again with a clean slate.

If it’s not working, don’t keep trying. Sometimes the best thing to do is to admit defeat. You could be the best of friends usually, but the teacher-pupil relationship just might not work and in that case, it’s better that the learner finds someone else to practice with than burn any bridges.


  • Practice in frequent, shorter sessions (eg. a drive to the local supermarket).
  • Review defensive driving practices, both for yourself and with your learner.
  • Let your student make his or her own mistakes, as long as they are not hazardous. A jerky turn or a sudden start or stop may be uncomfortable, but it’s probably not a big deal, and your student will learn from it.
  • Don’t forget to teach courtesy as well as the rules.
  • As your learner gets the feel of it, let him or her drive you for journeys you would do anyway, such as: shopping trip to supermarket, morning school run, dropping younger child off at sports practice, taking car to garage to refuel etc.
  • New drivers can be scared to drive when they first start out. If you feel like the person you’re teaching is scared to drive, there are ways to help them overcome a fear of driving. Initially, after passing their test, they should do short journeys with an older, more experienced driver to gain confidence.
  • Do your best not to panic or shout. Chances are your learner driver is nervous enough already.
  • Instruct on a driver’s blind spot and try to stay out of other driver’s blind spot.
  • Leave the radio off while learning, and remove other distractions as much as possible. However, once the learner passes their test, gradually introduce the radio; but don’t play it too loud- it’s distracting and not good for your ears.
  • Think back to when you started to drive. What kind of instruction did you need?

About The Author

Avatar for Ibrar Ayyub

Ibrar Ayyub

I am an experienced technical writer holding a Master's degree in computer science from BZU Multan, Pakistan University. With a background spanning various industries, particularly in home automation and engineering, I have honed my skills in crafting clear and concise content. Proficient in leveraging infographics and diagrams, I strive to simplify complex concepts for readers. My strength lies in thorough research and presenting information in a structured and logical format.

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