Basic Driving Maneuvers

Whether you’re learning to drive for the first time or brushing up on your skills, it’s important to master your basic driving maneuvers. We’re not saying these driving techniques love Top 40 songs and pumpkin spice lattes (although there’s nothing wrong with that, okay?), just that they are the basic skills all drivers need to know. We’re talking about the types of maneuvers you will have to perform every time you get behind the wheel: turning, passing, parking, and yielding to others on the road. Check out the following videos to learn basic driving tips.

Learn Basic Driving Maneuvers In These Videos

Basic Turning Tips

Making the perfect turn calls for a couple general skills:

  1. Make sure you have the right of way. Turning usually happens at intersections, and it involves changing from one street to another. Anytime this switching is going on, you’ve gotta be mindful of who else is trying to use those roads and whether it’s your turn to turn. Make sure you follow all traffic signals and do a visual scan of the whole area to see if other vehicles, bicycles, or pedestrians will be in the path of your turn. When the coast is clear and you have the right-of-way, it’s go time.
  2. Turn smoothly. Sure, it’s easier said than done, but you’ve got this! The key is to reduce your speed BEFORE you start turning (assuming you’re not turning from a complete stop, as you would at some intersections). Turning at a high speed can throw your vehicle off balance. Get down to the appropriate speed and turn your steering wheel in the desired direction. Once you’re about halfway through the turn, you can start to apply gradual pressure to the accelerator to speed up. Increase your speed gently as you straighten your wheel. That’s how we get turnt!

Basic Parking Tips

Parking takes a little finesse and a lot of practice, especially if you’re trying to get into some of the smaller, trickier parking spots out there (Looking at you, last available curb spot on the left side of the busy one-way street).

When it comes to parallel parking, the important thing to remember is the order of steps. First, pull up even with the vehicle in front of the empty spot. Then, reverse into space while turning your wheel carefully to guide your vehicle into the spot. Adjust the mirror to spot your tire near the curb. Switchback into drive to straighten your car in the spot. Be patient, and you’ll be parking like a pro soon.

Parking lots are a little easier, but that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down (20% of vehicle accidents happen in parking lots!). Parking lots are busy places full of cars coming and going and pedestrians walking around. Look around very carefully before making your move. Drive super slowly (Yes, we’re talkin’ about 10 mph range) and follow all signs and pavement markings. Driving through a parking lot is still driving.

Basic Passing Tips

Passing is risky business. If you do it recklessly, you could cause a serious crash. There are several situations in which you shouldn’t pass:

  • On a two-lane road divided by a solid (not dashed) yellow line
  • Within 100 feet of an intersection, tunnel, curve, or hill
  • When the vehicle in front of you is going the speed limit

If you’re sure it’s legal and necessary to pass, be sure to use your turn signal, pass quickly, and get back into your lane as soon as possible.

If you’re the one being passed, be cool about it. Maintain or reduce your speed and keep to the right side of your lane as the vehicle passes you.

Only pass when you’re sure it’s safe.

Basic Yielding Tips

There are a lot of right-of-way rules. If you take an Aceable drivers ed course, you’ll learn all of them. But one of the most basic rules is to yield to special vehicles.

For example, drivers are legally required to stop and wait for stopped school buses that have their flashing lights activated. This is to protect the safety of kids getting on and off the bus, so be patient.

When it comes to emergency vehicles, such as police cars and fire engines, you need to pull over to the right and let them pass you. This is the case whenever the emergency vehicle has its lights and sirens on. Be safe out there!