Beware the High School Parking Lot

Teenage driver safety tips in high school parking lots

Parents generally tense up when thinking about high school parking lots, and it’s not without reason. As the school season starts, intrepid parents will not only send their newly minted teenage drivers off to school on their own, but they will also send their family cars into environments where more paint is traded than at NASCAR.  

It makes sense that dings and dents can happen in an environment full of novice drivers, but the good news is that there are ways parents can help their teenagers and their vehicles stay safe, all while keeping their minds at ease. 

Protect Teen Drivers and Their Cars 

The first step toward protecting your teen (and your vehicle) is understanding why high school parking lots can be so chaotic. 

For one, most of the activity is generally crammed into two short time windows during the day. Herds of students collectively scramble to find good parking and make it inside before the bell rings in the morning. During the afternoon, they are eager to leave campus and are rushing to make it out of the lot first. To top it off, most school parking lots only have few, if any, monitors, allowing lawlessness to prevail.  

Secondly,  the fact that the students are all fairly new to holding drivers licenses means everyone is fairly inexperienced driving independently, yet they’re operating side-by-side in a tight space. Just because teens pass their license tests (which in Colorado is simply a test of the minimal skills required to operate a vehicle safely) does not mean they are truly prepared to drive safely in complex environments (and a high school parking lot most definitely qualifies as a complex driving environment).  

For example, new motorists tend to struggle to drive in reverse, which is a skill that is required for most parking lots.  Additionally, because new drivers may only have driven for a couple hundred hours (compared to the more than 10,000 driving hours that most parents have accumulated), they might simply overlook some very basic driving skills, such as looking behind them or using their mirrors.

While it may seem like high school parking lots are environments where disarray is inevitable, the situation doesn’t have to be dire. The following tips should help you and your teen survive the high school parking lot experience without any fiascos:

High School Parking Lot Safety Tips 

  • Remember that arriving earlier means parking will be safer and easier. The earlier your teen heads to school, the easier it will be to find a good parking spot, and the less likely he/she will be to encounter the types of situations that lead to collisions, frustrations, or vehicle damage. 
  • Limit distractions while driving and parking. Distractions heighten the likelihood of collisions, so talk with your teen about the importance of keeping the focus on the road. Additionally, be sure to enforce Colorado’s graduated licensing laws that limit the number of passengers for new drivers, as teens may be tempted or pressured into giving their friends rides to school. 
  • Practice basic parking lot maneuvers with your teen. What you consider a simple or intuitive skill (e.g., carving a proper arc into a parking spot) can be quite challenging for a new driver, even one who is skilled and competent in most areas. Taking extra time to provide guidance will help prepare him/her for the cramped, busy pace of a school parking lot. 
  • Practice driving in reverse with your son or daughter. Just knowing which way to turn the wheel is often counterintuitive to a new driver.
  • Require your teenager to take a full and highly regarded drivers education program.  Most parents have been driving for so long that they just don’t realize how complex simple driving maneuvers are to those who have never been behind the wheel before. While parents are fundamentally important when it comes to teaching their teens how to drive, professional instructors are well-trained on how to make learning the ropes accessible while also demonstrating state standards. Even if your teen has already passed the drivers license exam, taking additional private driving lessons or an advanced skills class from a reputable instructor can help further prepare him/her for the high school parking experience and beyond. 

DriveSafe Driving Schools Provides In-Depth Driver Training in the Denver-Metro Area

If you’re looking for a reliable driving school, it’s important to find one that is dedicated to helping your teenager develop the skills necessary to aptly navigate down the road and handle complex driving situations with confidence. 

DriveSafe Driving Schools provides comprehensive training that goes beyond state requirements to ensure that your son or daughter leaves us with the skills to drive safely for life. This committed approach has allowed us to become Colorado’s most trusted driving school. 

Drivers education is a wise investment that helps enhance the safety for everyone in the community. Whether you’re looking for a few additional driving lessons for your teenager, a defensive driving course, or an extensive drivers ed program, get in touch today to see how we can help!

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