What is the appropriate bubble of space on the road

Do you know what an appropriate bubble of space on the road is? How can you teach your teenager to be a safe driver and understand their surroundings? Driving expert Timothy Smith shares his method on teaching teenagers about the "bubble of space."
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What is the appropriate bubble of space on the road

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Driving a car safely can be compared to maneuvering a bubble within a bubble. A car is a protected bubble of steel and glass. And in order to keep safe, you have to maintain a bubble of space around it in all times and in all conditions. So one of the things you want to work with your teen is developing good spatial awareness. So if you can, have them drive a variety of different types and sizes of cars, to understand their different size and their protected zones. One way to help the good spatial awareness - head to a residential neighborhood, where it's still safe, low speed, but they get to practice, maneuvering their spatial awareness with parked cars on the right, oncoming traffic on the left. That's a good starting point. When they're comfortable with that, work on using the mirrors. The mirrors are the second set of eyes for your teens. It allows them to know what's going on all around the car while taking their eyes off the road for the least amount of time. They should be consulting the mirrors about every 7-10 seconds, constantly scanning, and before any turn or braking occurs, they need to consult the mirrors first. So the other important point about the bubble is following distance. Most drivers maintain a 2-second or less following distance. And all that means is if the car in front of you were to stop suddenly, in 2 seconds, you would run into the back of them. That's not nearly enough time and space to brake effectively and avoid a crash. So develop with your teen a 4-second following distance at whatever speed. That will help give them the time to brake safely and also to understand that at night and in hazardous conditions, you need to increase that protective bubble, increase that following distance, by another 2-3 seconds.
TEEN, Responsibilities, Driving

Do you know what an appropriate bubble of space on the road is? How can you teach your teenager to be a safe driver and understand their surroundings? Driving expert Timothy Smith shares his method on teaching teenagers about the "bubble of space."

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Timothy Smith

Author & Teen Driving Expert

Timothy Smith is a healthcare executive living in the Chicago area with his wife and three children.   He got involved with teen driving several years ago when a number of teenagers were killed in multiple crashes near his home, virtually all due to driver error.   His search for information to help his teens avoid car crashes yielded little of value, so he became a certified driving instructor, got trained and licensed to race cars, took defensive driving courses and ended up writing Crashproof Your Kids: Make Your Teen A Safer, Smarter Driver.  He is also Chairman of Aegis Mobility, a software company which has developed technology to manage and reduce cell phone use while driving. 

Driving, Bonding with Teens
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