Behind the Wheel Lesson Plans

Driver Education Department
Behind the Wheel Phase
Lesson Plans
The following is a student’s handbook of lesson plans for the Behind the
Wheel Phase of the driver education program. Depending on the number of lesson
periods available, the student may cover some or all of the following lessons.
Toward the end of the course, the student will be given a behind the wheel test
covering the material contained in these lessons. The lessons may or may not be
given in this order. At the end of the period, the instructor should tell the student
what lesson will be covered in the next driving period.
By reading the lesson plans ahead of time and paying attention, the student
should obtain a better understanding of what is being taught in the Behind the
Wheel. This, along with an “emotionally mature” attitude, should lead to the
student becoming a good and safe member of the driving public.
1A and 1B
6A and 6B
Introduction and Turns
Moderate Traffic
Two Lane Highways
City traffic/Angle Parking
Uphill/Downhill Parking
and Turnabouts
Parallel Parking
Plan Own Route and Review
______________________________ has shown me this Driver Education
outline. It has been explained to me that this outline will help as we
drive for the required 6 hours and practice the required techniques to
pass the driving test.
Behind the Wheel – Lesson 1A
1. Class Organization
A. When and where to meet
B. Check Instructional Permit
C. Conduct in car
2. Attitude: Relaxed and Confident
Do not worry about making mistakes!! You will make mistakes because you are a
beginner and human. We learn from our mistakes. The only crime is making the
same mistake over and over again. Your instructor is well-trained and has much
experience in teaching beginning drivers. He is able to control the car perfectly with
the dual controls. You will never be placed in any situation that you are not capable
of handling. We will progress from easy situations to more difficult ones, only when
you, as an individual, are ready.
3. A mark of a good driver is the smoothness with which he/she handles the car.
4. Locate and Use:
Safety Aids
Control Devices
Light Switch
Dimmer Button
Wipers and Windshield Washer
Seat Lever
Seat Belts
Steering Wheel
Parking Brake
Automatic Transmission
Ignition Switch
5. Starting, stopping, and steering the car. Relax and take your time until you get
the “feel” of the car.
6. Use of the rearview and side mirrors and checking the blind spot.
7. When parking next to the curb, never be farther away than 12 inches.
8. You are always going straight unless the instructor tells you to turn.
9. You must stop your vehicle before entering the nearest crosswalk, or at the point
indicated by a clearly visible line or marking on the pavement, showing where the
stop shall be made. If there is no line or marking, STOP at the point nearest the
intersecting roadway where you have a view of approaching traffic.
Behind the Wheel – Lesson 1B
1. Keep In Your Own Lane!
Keep to the right. You should keep your car centered in the right lane, except when
overtaking and passing another vehicle, when the right side of the highway is closed
to traffic, when preparing to make a left turn, or when there are parked cars in that
lane. Normally, there is a middle line marking that separates lanes. If at any time
there is not a middle line marked on the road, then imagine one and stay in the
farthest driving lane to the right. (Not in the parking lane)
2. Turning Movements
A. Decide on the place where you intend to turn before you reach it. Never make a
“last second” turn. It is always dangerous, and it may prove to be fatal.
B. Move into the proper lane as soon as possible. The faster traffic is moving, the
sooner you should get into the proper lane.
C. Always check the traffic conditions before changing lanes.
D. Always signal when turning, regardless of whether it is a corner, driveway, or an
alley. Also, signal even if there is no traffic coming. Give your signal at least 100
feet ahead (when you can see where you are going to turn).
E. Slow down before making the turn. Take your right foot off the gas and place it
on the brake as you make the turn. The biggest fault beginners have in making
turns is taking them too fast. Brake going into the turn, coast through it, and
accelerate as you come out of it. Don’t try to accelerate all the way through a turn.
F. Make the turn correctly, using hand over hand steering. This will be easy if you
are in the proper lane and proceeding slowly enough at the time you begin to turn.
G. Finish turn in proper lane.
3. Right Turns
Approach the corner at which you intend to turn in the extreme right hand lane and
stay 3 to 5 feet away from the curb so that you will still be in the right hand lane
when you have completed your turn. Do not swing wide or ever get out of your lane.
4. Left Turns
Be in the lane nearest the center of the road at least a half a block before the
intersection. Start the turn just to the right of the center of the roadway and
complete the turn in the nearest lane in the direction you are going. When making a
left turn, you must yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the
opposite direction which is close enough to constitute an immediate hazard. There
should always be enough room for another care to make a right turn while you are
making your left turn.
Behind the Wheel – Lesson 2
Moderate Traffic Route
1. Do the things that you have learned so far with special emphasis on keeping in
your lane.
2. Stay alert and always know the traffic conditions around you – ANTICIPATE!
3. Try to keep your speed within 5 mph of the limit at most times.
(Example: Speed limit is 35 – your speed should be 30 to 35)
4. Keep your speed steady and constant, whether going up or down-hill or on level
ground. (Don’t be a dead foot driver)
5. Keep your vision centered in the middle of your lane, 8 to 12 seconds down the
roadway. Don’t stare at this point, but keep coming back to it as a reference.
A. Check things in your field of vision using quick glances.
(signs, side roads, etc)
B. Check your mirrors (inside and outside) and speed.
C. Keep up with normal flow of traffic – have complete control though.
6. Maintain a reasonable distance between you and the car you are following.
A. Two-second following distance in city situations.
B. Three-second following distance in country situations.
7. Always read all traffic signs, they are posted to help you. You won’t know which
signs affect you unless you read them all!
Behind the Wheel – Lesson 3
2-Lane Highway Driving
1. Open Highway Driving – Highway routes (by number designation and direction),
county routes, state, and federal.
A. Keep Alert! Don’t get lulled to sleep.
B. Check traffic and road conditions as they are constantly changing. Look
well ahead and to the rear. Don’t stare at any one object!
C. Stay in your own lane, don’t weave.
D. Generally, keep up with the flow of traffic.
E. Do not follow too closely. (3 second following distance)
F. Control speed on curves. (Coast through the curve)
G. At all times, have complete control of your car.
2. Passing Other Cars.
A. A new driver can easily underestimate the distance needed to pass and get
back into his lane.
B. Pass only when there is “room to spare.”
C. Don’t take chances!!! If in doubt – do not pass!
D. The 5 steps of passing are:
1. Check to see if it is clear and legal.
2. Signal left and check your blind spot.
3. Get out and go! Don’t hesitate!
4. Check rearview mirror for the headlights of the car you passed.
5. Signal right and return to the right lane.
E. Never pass on the right unless such passing in specifically permitted, as in
Case of one-way streets on multiple lane highways. Use caution!
F. NEVER PASS: on hills, on curves, at railroad crossings, at intersections,
if posted “do not pass”, if yellow stripe in on your side of the highway,
and at hazardous areas such as construction, bridges, and tunnels.
G. A good rule is: if you can’t see sufficiently ahead – don’t pass!
3. Running off the pavement.
Many accidents can be prevented by running off the road. Also, you can be forced
off or accidentally slip off. Don’t panic! Never hit your brakes quickly or try to
steer back on quickly. Hold on tightly to the steering wheel and take your foot off
the gas. Wait until your speed has greatly reduced, then, after checking the traffic,
come back on where the shoulder comes up level with the road.
To beat radar speed traps - - DON’T EXCEED THE SPEED LIMITS!!!
Behind the Wheel – Lesson 4
Expressway Driving
1. Expressways may or may not be Interstate Highways.
A. A true expressway is called a limited access highway. This means you can
only get on to or off of it at certain places called interchanges.
B. A true expressway will have no cross traffic.
C. A true expressway will have no means of getting into the on-coming
traffic lanes, except by using an interchange.
2. Entering the expressway.
A. Be sure you are on the correct ramp. Watch for “Wrong Way” or “Do
Not Enter” signs.
B. Build your speed progressively until you reach the end of the ramp.
(should be going 45 and 55 in most instances)
C. Signal left, check the blind spot, and merge into existing traffic.
3. Changing lanes must always be preceded by:
A. An adequate signal in advance.
B. A blind-spot check.
4. Driving the expressway.
A. Don’t tailgate – keep a minimum of a 3 second interval.
B. Watch your speed – velocitization means getting so used to driving at one
speed that it doesn’t seem like you are going that fast anymore.
C. Stay alert – don’t get lulled to sleep. Keep your eyes moving.
D. Take frequent rest stops to out and stretch.
E. Watch for mistakes by others – improper merging and lane changing are
the two worst problem areas.
5. Leaving the expressway.
A. Get into the farthest lane in the direction that you intend to exit.
(some expressways have exits that go off to the left.)
B. Signal as soon as you can see your exit.
C. If there is a deceleration lane, use it!
D. Watch for either a ramp speed sign or a stop ahead sign (or both) and
begin slowing. Remember – some ramps have sharp curves!
E. Watch your speedometer. If you are used to driving at 55 mpg the new
speed limit may seem extremely slow.
Behind the Wheel – Lesson 5
City Traffic and Angle Parking
1. The most important factor in driving safely is “the proper attitude of the driver.”
Respect an automobile for what it is – a useful, practical vehicle that can also be
used for enjoyment. At the same time, it can also kill others as well as yourself.
Never forget that more Americans have lost their lives due to automobile accidents
than all of our wars put together. A car is not a play toy! Only an emotionally,
mature person should ever be permitted to drive by themselves.
2. There is only one way to drive safely and this is to develop good driving habits!
3. Speed Kills! The faster you are traveling at the time of an accident, the more
serious the consequences will be.
4. Obey the traffic laws – they are for your protection as well as others. Most of the
time when there is an accident, one or more violations occurred. Play by the rules!
5. Sportsmanship! Build habits of courtesy and fair play toward street and
highway users. See that you always do the following:
A. Use your own lane
C. Yield right of way
E. Maintain safe speeds
G. Follow and pass safely
I. Share the highway courteously
B. Signal your intentions
D. Stop before crosswalks
F. Obey signs and signals
H. Help protect pedestrians
J. Avoid creating emergencies
6. Main street’s biggest problem areas:
A. Parked cars
B. Cross Traffic
C. Pedestrians
D. Traffic Signals
7. Traffic Circles – always yield right of way to vehicles already on the circle.
8. Be sure to watch for traffic signals and any other signs that may be around.
9. Angle Parking – found in most downtown and shopping center parking lots.
A. try to stay as far away from the parking spot as you can.
B. begin turning your wheels when your front bumper falls in line with
the corner of the car you are parking next to.
C. try to drive your car straight into the space if you can.
D. if not, be sure to watch the left front and right rear fenders of your car.
E. straighten and center the car in the space.
F. when leaving, be sure to watch the same fenders you watched when you
Behind the Wheel – Lesson 6A
Uphill and Downhill Parking
1. Parking the Car Uphill – with a curb
A. Signal your intention.
B. Stop the car parallel to the curb and about 12” from it.
C. Shift to neutral and turn wheels hard left.
D. Force car to go slowly to curb. The tire should be against the curb.
E. Set parking brake.
F. Shift to park.
G. Turn off the ignition.
H. Signal and check traffic before leaving.
2. Parking the Car Downhill – with a curb.
A. Signal your intention.
B. Stop the car parallel to the curb and about 12” from it.
C. Shift to neutral and turn wheels hard right. Steering wheel is turned as
far as it will go.
D. Force the car the roll until the tire touches against the curb lightly.
E. Set the parking brake.
F. Shift to park.
G. Turn off the ignition.
H. To leave, start engine, shift to reverse, release brake.
I. Back up and turn wheels to the left, put in drive, signal and pull away.
3. If there is no curb, just turn wheels hard right and finish parking.
4. Uphill and downhill parking is part of the license test. Know how to do it!!!
Behind the Wheel – Lesson 6B
Turns – Going back in the Opposite Direction
1. Left Turn Abouts – done in alley or driveway on the left side of the road.
A. Signal left.
B. Slowly make a left turn into the alley.
C. Go all the way up in the alley – clear the sidewalk.
D. Straighten and center the car in the alley.
E. Check that streets are clear before backing out.
F. Stay in the proper lane – this can be done by getting the rear bumper
almost in line with the curb and then cutting the wheels all the way to
the right.
G. Let the car roll out into the proper lane, straightening your wheels as you
H. Change to drive and pull away. (a signal may be necessary at this point)
2. Back Around – done in alley or driveway on the right side of the road.
A. Signal right turn.
B. Slowly go past the alley until your rear bumper is almost in line with the
side of the alley.
C. Cut wheels hard right and back around, all the way into the alley.
D. Change to drive, signal left, and make a left turn into the proper lane.
3. Right Turn Abouts – done in alley or driveway on the right side of the road.
A. Signal right turn.
B. Slowly make a right turn all the way into the alley.
C. Straighten and center the car in the alley.
D. Shift to reverse and back out until your rear bumper is in the middle of
the street.
E. Cut your wheels hard to the left.
F. Straighten and center the car in your lane.
G. Change to drive and pull away.
Behind the Wheel – Lesson 7
Parallel Parking
(The whole procedure is done very slowly – just inching the car)
1. Signal intention and line up along side the front, parallel to the curb, two feet
away from the car, with rear bumpers matching. This beginning position is very
important. (If cars are about the same size – you can also line up steering wheels.)
2. Back slowly, steering sharply to the right, until center post passes his rear
bumper. At this point, straighten your wheels.
3. Continue back until the end of your front bumper passes his rear bumper. At
this time, your left rear tail light should be in line with his left front headlight.
4. Now turn the steering wheel rapidly to the left as far as it will go and back slowly
towards the rear car. STOP just before your bumpers touch. Be careful that your
right rear fender doesn’t strike anything on the curb or side of the road.
5. Then go forward slowly, turning the wheel to the right to adjust your car in the
center of the space. Be sure you have equal distances in front and rear. If there is a
parking meter present, stop when your front bumper is within a foot of the meter.
Behind the Wheel – Lesson 8
Review and Practice
1. Practice Day
Review and practice everything that you have learned thus far. Stress keeping in
your own lane, moving out quicker, and getting ready for traffic.
2. BE ALERT and keep your eyes on the road. Look ahead carefully so as not to be
surprised. If you are ever in an accident, 9 times out of 10 it will be because you just
didn’t see them coming in time. Accidents can be prevented by staying ALERT.
Always know what the traffic conditions are around you.
3. Use of the “rearview mirror” for traffic behind and side mirror for traffic to the
5. Always yield the right of way even when you legally have the right of way – your
insistence on such right of way might cause an accident. All laws on right of ways
are always subject to the law of self-preservation.
6. Yield right of way to any vehicle that has entered the intersection from a
different highway (first come, first served). If you both arrive at the same time, the
person on the right has the right of way.
7. Always note the type of intersection you are approaching and check to see what
you have to do!
8. Watch all signs, signals and pavement markings – they are your greatest aids in
being a good, safe driver.
Behind the Wheel – Lesson 9
1. Your test in the Behind the Wheel will be as much like the one at the station as
we can possibly make it.
2. Relax as much as possible and assume a confident attitude.
3. Pay attention to your instructor’s directions.
4. Be careful not to speed, run stop signs or commit other violations. Most people
who do fail the test, do so because of violations, not for too many points taken off.
5. REMEMBER – if you can pass our test, you can pass the one at the license
examination station!
Driver’s License Information
Attention: Read the following. This is the explanation of the materials you MUST
take with you to the Driver’s License Facility to get your driver’s license:
1. You must be 16 years old.
2. Your copy of the Cooperative Driving Test
- this is only for students that earned an A or B in class
3. A Certified Copy of your Birth Certificate. You normally get this from
the county courthouse of the county where you were born.
4. Your signed Social Security Card
5. A piece of mail with your name and address.
6. Your 50 hour driving log sheet.
7. Your instruction permit.
Once you finish the Behind the Wheel instruction, the State of Illinois has to
approve your completion. To check and see if you have been approved to get your
license, go online and follow these steps:
On the top of the ISBE home page, click on students.
Scroll down to Programs.
Click on Driver Education Student License Inquiry.
Be ready to enter your Instruction Permit Number.
As the rear bumper of the vehicle in front of you passes a fixed object (telephone
pole, road sign, tree, etc) begin counting to yourself (one thousand one, one
thousand two, etc). You should not have passed that same fixed object by the time
you count to two.
Always stop far enough behind another vehicle so that you can see its rear wheels
touch the pavement.
Keep your eyes moving constantly, always coming back to the center of your lane as
your target area.
Never pass another vehicle if you think you may not have enough time.
When you approach an intersection that has a green traffic signal facing you, expect
it to change! Do not try to “Beat the Red Light.” The law says you must try to stop
if you can do so safely.
Mark Sandstrom
Driver’s Education
Mr. Trager
April 14, 2008
Teaching a New Driver
Students should become better drivers the more they drive, but they should
have a good understanding of how to safely drive before they begin driving. In this
paper, I will discuss the proper safety procedures, driving tips, and driving
experiences to enable a new driver to feel comfortable behind the wheel. Hopefully,
the new driver will also keep himself safe along with other driver’s on the road. It
has to be the responsibility of the teacher to always stress safety first and make sure
each new driver is well-educated on all aspects of driving before he enters the car.
The first thing a teacher must do is make sure the driver is relaxed and
confident before getting in the car. The driver can’t worry about making mistakes.
The driver needs to know that the instructor is in complete control of the car from
the passenger seat. This should eliminate some of the nervousness the driver may be
feeling before he takes the wheel. As soon as the driver feels comfortable, he needs
to be able to a simple safety check before driving. The driver needs to walk around
the vehicle to ensure things are in working order. Things the driver needs to check
include: lights are in working order, blinkers for proper operation, fluid leaks or
items hanging from the vehicle, tires are properly inflated. The simple safety check
will ensure there will be no malfunctions that could have been prevented and that
you can enjoy a safe ride. As you can see, safety begins before the driver ever sits
down behind the wheel.
Once the student gets into the car – the student must get the “feel” of the car.
The student must adjust all mirrors and seats before placing the key in the ignition.
The proper adjustment of mirrors is important to make sure the driver is seeing
more of the road and eliminating as much of the blind spot as possible. The student
must also check the gauges, safety aids, and all control devices to make sure the car
is operating correctly before getting out on the road.
Once all preliminary checks are in order and the driver feels comfortable
behind the wheel – their driving experience can begin. The driver needs to make
sure he is driving straight at all times unless the instructor says different. The
driver also needs to make sure in their own lane and closer to the white line instead
of the yellow line on the road. As the driving experience continues, a driver will
have to make left and right turns. The driver needs make sure to always signal
before turning – regardless of whether it is a corner, driveway, or an alley. Drivers
should always start to signal at least 100 feet before their turn. Drivers also need to
slow down before making the turn. The biggest problem most beginning drivers
have is take turns way too fast. Drivers need to brake before turning, coast while in
the turn, and then accelerate as they come out of it. Hand over hand steering is a
must teaching method!
As a driver progresses – an instructor will take them out on highways and
expressways. The driver needs to make sure they do the things they have learned so
far with a special emphasis on keeping in their lane. A driver needs to keep their
speed within 5 mph of the speed limit and try to keep their speed steady and
constant. As the student is driving – he should be checking things in their field of
vision, mirrors, and traffic around them. Most importantly, the driver should have
their vision centered in the middle of the roadway and keeping a reasonable
distance between their car and the car he is following. A general rule is a two
second distance in city situations and a three second rule in country situations.
Drivers should also follow all traffic signs as they are posted. The traffic signs are
something a driver should have a firm understanding of before the driving
experience which is something they learn in the classroom.
One important thing to discuss with students is passing other cars on two
lane highways. A new driver can easily underestimate the distance needed to pass
and get back into their lane. Drivers need to understand that they can only pass
when there is room to spare and if there is absolutely no doubt. If there is a doubt –
don’t pass! As a driver is passing – he needs to make sure to use the turn signal
twice as he is switching lanes along with checking the rearview mirror to see the
passed car’s headlights. Students need to make sure they do not pass on hills,
curves, railroad crossings, intersections, solid yellow-striped areas, and hazardous
areas such as construction zones, bridges, and tunnels.
Students need to know that expressway driving is quite a bit different than 2
lane highway driving. As students come up to the expressway, the driver needs to
make sure he enters the correct ramp. Driver’s need to look for the correct turn
lanes and also watch for “Wrong Way” or “Do Not Enter” signs. The driver needs
to progressively build their speed until the end of the ramp when he finally enters
the expressway after using the turn signal and checking the blind spot. Drivers have
the luxury of having 2 lanes to drive their car with the left lane being for cars that
are passing. The biggest thing on expressways is that drivers do not get lulled to
sleep. Drivers need to keep their eyes moving and stay alert. Common mistakes on
expressways are improper merging and lane changes. As drivers are leaving the
expressway, they need to get into the farthest lane in the direction they intend to
exit, use their signal, and watch their speed because some exit ramps have very
sharp curves.
The other important aspect of driving that needs to be covered with students
is parking. There are four different kinds of parking: parallel (discussed in power
point earlier), angle, uphill, and downhill parking. Angle parking is usually found
in most downtown and shopping center parking lots. Drivers need to try to stay as
far away from the parking spot as they can and try to drive their car straight into
the space as possible. As drivers are parking and leaving the space – they need to
watch for other cars and also the front and rear fenders of their car to make sure
they don’t have an accident. Uphill and downhill parking is very important to know
to prevent accidents. Drivers need to correctly park their cars with their tire
propped against the curb so it will prevent the car from rolling downhill or uphill.
The most important factor in driving safely is “the proper attitude of the
driver.” Drivers need to respect an automobile for what it is – a useful, practical
vehicle that can also be used for enjoyment. At the same time, it can also kill others
as well as yourself. Never forget that more Americans have lost their lives due to
automobile accidents than all of our wars put together. Only an emotionally,
mature person should ever be permitted to drive by themselves.