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How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:21 pm
by bestplans
Went out driving with my 25 year old niece the other day. She drove and I felt my life pass in front of me. She admits to probably needing some type of defensive driving course or professional refreshing on her driving technique, although she has been driving for 7 years with one minor accident. I would characterize it as a necessity (I'm no pro, but I found her carefree approach to making turns, etc. quite alarming). Parents are supporting of footing the cost if needed, so all parties are on board.

Would the local driving schools be our best source, or are there other avenues anyone would recommend that targets experienced drivers? My impression is that the school here that prepares teens to obtain their initial local licenses is primarily geared for that purpose.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:29 pm
by Watty
It might be good for her to have a physical and eye exam to make sure that there is not is not some physical problem related to her driving.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:36 pm
by sawhorse
Some areas allow people to shed some points from their license by taking a remedial driving course. Those courses are geared toward adults. Maybe that is something to look into.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:49 pm
by bestplans
Watty wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:29 pm
It might be good for her to have a physical and eye exam to make sure that there is not is not some physical problem related to her driving.
Thanks. No visual or physical issues, but she definitely needs to relearn some basic techniques and improve her concentration/awareness.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:53 pm
by TxAg
Has she forgotten the basic rules of the road? Or is her self preservation meter broken?

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:58 pm
by 90degreeturns
Sounds crazy but there are tons of “racing” classes and emergency vehicle operations classes throughout the US. I know many people who have started their children on go kart classes prior to driving at 16 then sent them to the EVOC classes and racing classes. She is too old for the go kart classes but these other classes go over the extreme basics all the way up to skidding out and having to 360 out of a skid pan. Everyone I know that their children have taken these courses have been extremely safe and skilled drivers.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:23 pm
by bestplans
90degreeturns wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:58 pm
Sounds crazy but there are tons of “racing” classes and emergency vehicle operations classes throughout the US. I know many people who have started their children on go kart classes prior to driving at 16 then sent them to the EVOC classes and racing classes. She is too old for the go kart classes but these other classes go over the extreme basics all the way up to skidding out and having to 360 out of a skid pan. Everyone I know that their children have taken these courses have been extremely safe and skilled drivers.
Very interesting. I'll look to see if there is anything quite like that in our area.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:30 pm
by RickBoglehead

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:32 pm
by barnaclebob
Maybe she needs to watch a few gory videos of people mangled in cars and hope she realizes how serious consequences can be.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:36 pm
by sawhorse
barnaclebob wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:32 pm
Maybe she needs to watch a few gory videos of people mangled in cars and hope she realizes how serious consequences can be.
Bad driving is rarely caused by people not knowing how serious the consequences can be. There aren't many people who have made it to 25 and not known someone who died or was seriously injured in a car accident.

Most of the time, it's not on their mind when they drive. Showing them pictures of car crash victims, especially ones they don't know, will have only an ephemeral effect. When I was in my last year of high school, two classmates died in a car accident, and another was seriously injured. The crumpled up car was put on display on a road near the school with the blessing of the parents. People were more careful for maybe a few days, but that was it.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:46 pm
by bestplans
sawhorse wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:36 pm
barnaclebob wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:32 pm
Maybe she needs to watch a few gory videos of people mangled in cars and hope she realizes how serious consequences can be.
Bad driving is rarely caused by people not knowing how serious the consequences can be. There aren't many people who have made it to 25 and not known someone who died or was seriously injured in a car accident.

Most of the time, it's not on their mind when they drive. Showing them pictures of car crash victims, especially ones they don't know, will have only an ephemeral effect. When I was in my last year of high school, two classmates died in a car accident, and another was seriously injured. The crumpled up car was put on display on a road near the school with the blessing of the parents. People were more careful for maybe a few days, but that was it.
Agreed. Thank you. I think she needs some good old fashioned instructional expertise; a friend just suggested a school that helped his elderly mom brush up on her skills to be able to prolong her ability to drive safely.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 11:03 pm
by livesoft
Does she drive a car with all those driver-assist features and beeping? Maybe she should? Such a car will beep less the better a driver drives.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 11:22 pm
by StealthRabbit
1) Time behind the wheel (with a strict and observant mentor) in various circumstances / weather / vehicles. 12,000k miles minimum experience.

2) Realize the consequences of poor driving. (Have insurance agent tell her a few war stories, I had my kids buy there insurance agent lunch 1x / yr, he laid out financial and physical risk very clear)

3) Have her meet with a State Patrol safety officer (rules / regs / war stories / consequences)

4) Smith's 5 Keys Driving Program (Fed Ex required and paid for mine), it was superb, and I bought it for my kids and drilled them with flash cards every meal till they got the 5 points very clear - then monthly, then qtrly. https://www.drivedifferent.com/smith5keys/

5) Add points as necessary. (stuff I required of my kids from age 16 - 26)
A) no radios / distractions while in car
B) Do not back-up with out first going outside and looking at surroundings (back into parking whenever possible). Fed-Ex would reprimand for parking violation even if we did not BACK INTO Parking with our personal vehicles, when picking up a FedEx Truck.
c) Do not cross traffic

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 11:24 pm
by StealthRabbit
1) Time behind the wheel (with a strict and observant mentor) in various circumstances / weather / vehicles. 12,000k miles minimum experience.

2) Realize the consequences of poor driving. (Have insurance agent tell her a few war stories, I had my kids buy there insurance agent lunch 1x / yr, he laid out financial and physical risk very clear)

3) Have her meet with a State Patrol safety officer (rules / regs / war stories / consequences)

4) Smith's 5 Keys Driving Program (Fed Ex required and paid for mine), it was superb, and I bought it for my kids and drilled them with flash cards every meal till they got the 5 points very clear - then monthly, then qtrly. https://www.drivedifferent.com/smith5keys/

5) Add points as necessary. (stuff I required of my kids from age 16 - 26)
A) no radios / distractions while in car
B) Do not back-up with out first going outside and looking at surroundings (back into parking whenever possible). Fed-Ex would reprimand for parking violation even if we did not BACK INTO Parking with our personal vehicles, when picking up a FedEx Truck.
C) Do not cross traffic without a dedicated light and lane (left turn) if possible, especially in speed zones exceeding 40 mph. Find another route.
D) No distracting passengers, no more than (1) other occupant who is not our family.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:27 am
by tibbitts
bestplans wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:23 pm
90degreeturns wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:58 pm
Sounds crazy but there are tons of “racing” classes and emergency vehicle operations classes throughout the US. I know many people who have started their children on go kart classes prior to driving at 16 then sent them to the EVOC classes and racing classes. She is too old for the go kart classes but these other classes go over the extreme basics all the way up to skidding out and having to 360 out of a skid pan. Everyone I know that their children have taken these courses have been extremely safe and skilled drivers.
Very interesting. I'll look to see if there is anything quite like that in our area.
I wonder if there are statistics (vs. anecdotal evidence) as to whether these classes do in fact create extremely safe drivers.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:42 am
by Erwin007
StealthRabbit wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 11:24 pm
1) Time behind the wheel (with a strict and observant mentor) in various circumstances / weather / vehicles. 12,000k miles minimum experience.
12 million miles minimum experience seems a little extreme, no?
:shock:

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:32 am
by sunny_socal
No accidents to speak of - what's the problem? Sounds like she's doing very well considering 90% of drivers are probably far worse.

Just offer to be the driver when hanging out with the niece.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:01 am
by galving
Assuming its not a 'physical' issue with her vision.

There are a number of courses that companies use to train their sales people.
This is 'hands on' training in your own vehicle, with professional driving instructors (former racers that really enjoy cars, how they work, and how to properly use them).

The course was a single 8 hour day and worth every minute.
It covered:
The Basics
  • Tire Inflation
  • Tire Wear
  • Proper Seat Height
  • Mirror Positioning
& More Advanced
  • Turning Technique
  • Skidding
  • Anti Lock Braking
The course was conducted in a local parking lot, and I was skeptical at first. Several of the drills were conducted at reasonably high speed 40-50 mph.
The course trains you to properly use the Anti-Lock brake, and continue to steer the vehicle while braking.

Total cost was about $500.

Good luck

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:22 am
by gd
I know something about learning to fly airplanes, driving really complicated cars in 3D. If you are accurate, she doesn't need advanced training, she needs basic training. Fundamentally different. Not everyone has the innate aptitudes that most do-- for example, to multitask and divide attention between stimuli, or e.g. to pick up the cues and perceptual judgements needed to steer to avoid a tire on the other side of the car from hitting a pothole. It's really hard to recognize this and train people lacking in these aptitudes that others find easy and take for granted. Might be wrong, but I'd be surprised if many driving instructors have the instructional training or skills for it.

Edit- the suggestion of schools specializing elderly driver remedial training is a good idea. Didn't know there was such a thing.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:37 am
by Jack FFR1846
Have her look into local autocrosses. Everyone from BMW CCA, PCA, SCCA, and many, many other marque and open clubs run these. She should take an instructor with her every single time. This teaches looking ahead and anticipating, paying attention and car control.

Track instruction can also help, but in my opinion, the lower risk and shorter runs on the course of an autocross is a better starting point.

I autocrossed and roadraced for decades and instructed in both for a dozen years. In general, people have no idea how to drive.

If I were to give one single piece of easy advice, I'd say to keep both hands on the wheel at all times. This eliminates drinking coffee while eating a bacon egg and cheese croisant while applying makeup and answering the phone at the same time. When you're driving, you're driving.

My second piece of advice, which can be difficult to do is to look ahead. I once rode with Mark Andretti (his uncle is Mario) in a manufacturer demo and he said that the distance most people focus on ahead of them is 30 feet. You really need to look waaaaay ahead and plan for your own actions based on what you see. I've easily seen accidents in the making on the highway and been able to be in a lane far away and backed way down in speed when clown #1 ends up hitting clown #1.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:45 am
by Rus In Urbe
It's great you are on top of this before some child or pedestrian or other driver is killed by your niece!
She seems a bit sanguine about the whole thing.

Is it possible she has an attention deficit disorder that interferes with her concentration?

Just asking, as this can be a big problem for drivers (I know one from personal experience). If she has other "issues" cropping up about concentration, you should (very, very gently) encourage her to be tested.

Otherwise.....good feedback on this thread.

Good luck! And hope she can resolve this problem with your help before someone is seriously injured!

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:55 am
by Watty
bestplans wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:49 pm
Watty wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:29 pm
It might be good for her to have a physical and eye exam to make sure that there is not is not some physical problem related to her driving.
Thanks. No visual or physical issues, but she definitely needs to relearn some basic techniques and improve her concentration/awareness.
I would not be quick to dismiss this possibility. Some things like depth perception problems or sleep disorders can affect driving and may not be obvious. Even if she is not falling asleep while driving the lack of sleep can also affect her general concentration.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:07 am
by livesoft
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:37 am
Have her look into local autocrosses.
Great advice which I take to mean: Have her go out and kill herself driving. Problem solved.

You have reported that at least one of your children totaled a car. Was that a problem? How was it solved?

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:12 am
by livesoft
Peer pressure might work. I know that whenever a friend of my daughter's offers to drive, no one will take her up on it, but they will all go if the friend lets my daughter drive her car.

Thus one might have a conversation that starts with "What do your friends drive like? Do you like being in their car when they are driving? Are some good drivers? Are some bad drivers? What makes a good driver good? What makes a bad driver bad? Do you friends like it when you drive?"

BTW, I heard some horror stories from when my kids were teenagers and car pooling: The stories were about the driving skills of the other moms.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:26 am
by LadyGeek
This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (driving).

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:32 am
by mmcmonster
bestplans wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:46 pm
sawhorse wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:36 pm
barnaclebob wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:32 pm
Maybe she needs to watch a few gory videos of people mangled in cars and hope she realizes how serious consequences can be.
Bad driving is rarely caused by people not knowing how serious the consequences can be. There aren't many people who have made it to 25 and not known someone who died or was seriously injured in a car accident.

Most of the time, it's not on their mind when they drive. Showing them pictures of car crash victims, especially ones they don't know, will have only an ephemeral effect. When I was in my last year of high school, two classmates died in a car accident, and another was seriously injured. The crumpled up car was put on display on a road near the school with the blessing of the parents. People were more careful for maybe a few days, but that was it.
Agreed. Thank you. I think she needs some good old fashioned instructional expertise; a friend just suggested a school that helped his elderly mom brush up on her skills to be able to prolong her ability to drive safely.
Ask your insurance rep as well. My local rep gave the names of a couple people for my daughter to get trained by to get better insurance rates than what she gets by being trained by the standard school-based programs.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:41 am
by randomguy
tibbitts wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:27 am

I wonder if there are statistics (vs. anecdotal evidence) as to whether these classes do in fact create extremely safe drivers.
The closest I have ever come to evidence is that insurance companies give discounts. Some of the course are clearly useless(all the online stuff to remove pts from a licence), the rest is a lot iffier. In the old days practing recovering from skids was valuable. Now a days VSC will do a better job than you will. And most people know what they should do. They just don't have the right habits and developing habits in a couple day course is hard.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:46 am
by FI4LIFE
I would suggest a driving course using manual transmission. Gives you a better feel for the car. She might even benefit from permanently driving stick, assuming she can figure it out and if that's even possible today with almost exclusively automatic vehicles.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:55 am
by dbr
bestplans wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:21 pm
She admits to probably needing some type of defensive driving course or professional refreshing on her driving technique

A possibility is one of the driving courses for elderly drivers. We took that to get a reduction in insurance rates, but the instruction in fundamentals was really well done. In my state it is a one day, all day course at a state sponsored driving course. It is especially geared to people who already drive but may not drive as safely as they should.


. . . carefree approach to making turns, etc. quite alarming . . .

I am not sure an attitude problem can be fixed short of showing somebody the horrible consequences of "carefree" driving.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:29 am
by ADAMNOGGI
It might be helpful to state examples of the behavior which causes you to be uneasy about her driving.
Difficult to correct behavior if specific examples are not given. The "carefree approach" is certainly one and I can sympathize after a ride with a very young driver.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:43 am
by bstewie
OP, does she want to be a better driver?

I won’t get in a vehicle with 99% of the people I know, regardless of age. Most whimsical drivers forget they are in charge of a 2 ton weapon. While more expensive, I would recommend she take a road course with an instructor. Understanding what even a modest car is capable of at its limits is better defense than any hokey defensive driving course and the extremity of such a lesson may make her care a little bit more about being safe and thorough under normal conditions.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:48 am
by livesoft
galving wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:01 am
The course was conducted in a local parking lot, and I was skeptical at first. Several of the drills were conducted at reasonably high speed 40-50 mph.
With my teenagers, we always started out in the empty high school parking lot. The main lesson in the lot was learning the boundaries of one's car: front, rear, sides, and center. The simple instruction was: Drive up to that manhole cover and put the center of the front bumper exactly on the center of the manhole cover. It was amazing how difficult that was for a new driver seated on the left side of the car and unable to see the manhole when the car got too close. The idea of "the center line of the car" seemed totally foreign to them. The driver had to account for their perspective which took a while to accomplish. It was fun to have them put the car in park and get out to see how far away they were from dead on center.

Then the same with the rear bumper. Then parking in between the painted lines when going forward. Then parking in between the painted lines when going backwards. Then doing things faster.

Then I told them something obvious: Look to either side of the manhole cover for some marking or feature at the same place that stays in sight when you approach the spot. This can help with parking: If your car door matches the door of the car next to you, then ....

Nowadays with backup cameras it is actually easy to do some of the above backwards.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:57 am
by randomguy
bstewie wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:43 am
OP, does she want to be a better driver?

I won’t get in a vehicle with 99% of the people I know, regardless of age. Most whimsical drivers forget they are in charge of a 2 ton weapon. While more expensive, I would recommend she take a road course with an instructor. Understanding what even a modest car is capable of at its limits is better defense than any hokey defensive driving course and the extremity of such a lesson may make her care a little bit more about being safe and thorough under normal conditions.
And in all of your years of driving on public roads, how often have you gone above say 70% or so of what the average car can do? Car control at limits isn't an issue for most drivers. It is all about situational awareness and planning. And maybe cutting down on aggressiveness. Some people do need basic skill work (i.e. 2 hours practicing parking) but that is rarely what scares me when driving with others.

Honestly we have no idea if this is just one person who isn't great in the passenger seat (they are really common) or someone who is a crazy driver or a mixture of the 2.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:59 am
by bstewie
randomguy wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:57 am
bstewie wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:43 am
OP, does she want to be a better driver?

I won’t get in a vehicle with 99% of the people I know, regardless of age. Most whimsical drivers forget they are in charge of a 2 ton weapon. While more expensive, I would recommend she take a road course with an instructor. Understanding what even a modest car is capable of at its limits is better defense than any hokey defensive driving course and the extremity of such a lesson may make her care a little bit more about being safe and thorough under normal conditions.
And in all of your years of driving on public roads, how often have you gone above say 70% or so of what the average car can do? Car control at limits isn't an issue for most drivers. It is all about situational awareness and planning. And maybe cutting down on aggressiveness. Some people do need basic skill work (i.e. 2 hours practicing parking) but that is rarely what scares me when driving with others.

Honestly we have no idea if this is just one person who isn't great in the passenger seat (they are really common) or someone who is a crazy driver or a mixture of the 2.
She may just need to be scared straight to pay attention when behind the wheel. Correct, we aren’t sure of circumstances. Such a course has saved my life twice driving well below 70% of the capabilities of the car.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:09 am
by TN_Boy
FI4LIFE wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:46 am
I would suggest a driving course using manual transmission. Gives you a better feel for the car. She might even benefit from permanently driving stick, assuming she can figure it out and if that's even possible today with almost exclusively automatic vehicles.
I don't see how giving her another physical task to master while driving is going to help, given that she seems to have trouble with the basics according to the OP.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:17 am
by EdNorton
Keep her head behind the ball. Also, have her tee off with her 3 wood.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:22 am
by mhalley
Could some of it could be due to the op himself? I become quite anxious when my wife drives, but I don’t think she is a bad driver, just a lot more aggressive than I am. Perhaps because I do 90% of the driving when we are driving together, so I feel out of control when I am not behind the wheel. When she drives I am constantly riding my imaginary passenger brake.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:50 pm
by Boglegirl81
mhalley wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:22 am
Could some of it could be due to the op himself? I become quite anxious when my wife drives, but I don’t think she is a bad driver, just a lot more aggressive than I am. Perhaps because I do 90% of the driving when we are driving together, so I feel out of control when I am not behind the wheel. When she drives I am constantly riding my imaginary passenger brake.
I’m the same way... I’m very anxious when other people drive, especially on the highway. People follow too closely to the car ahead and I can’t see what’s going on past the next car’s bumper. I’m also not convinced we can stop safely if the car ahead suddenly decides to jam on the brakes when you take into account reaction time and stopping distance. Anyway, I follow the rule of at least one car length for every 10 miles per hour of speed when I drive, but that puts me in a very slim minority.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:23 pm
by alec
bestplans wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:21 pm
Went out driving with my 25 year old niece the other day. She drove and I felt my life pass in front of me. She admits to probably needing some type of defensive driving course or professional refreshing on her driving technique, although she has been driving for 7 years with one minor accident. I would characterize it as a necessity (I'm no pro, but I found her carefree approach to making turns, etc. quite alarming). Parents are supporting of footing the cost if needed, so all parties are on board.

Would the local driving schools be our best source, or are there other avenues anyone would recommend that targets experienced drivers? My impression is that the school here that prepares teens to obtain their initial local licenses is primarily geared for that purpose.
Try AAA driving schools.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:28 pm
by tibbitts
mhalley wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:22 am
Could some of it could be due to the op himself? I become quite anxious when my wife drives, but I don’t think she is a bad driver, just a lot more aggressive than I am. Perhaps because I do 90% of the driving when we are driving together, so I feel out of control when I am not behind the wheel. When she drives I am constantly riding my imaginary passenger brake.
That's an interesting point, and sounds familiar. Don't be surprised if she decides you'll no longer be allowed to drive when she's in the car.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:44 pm
by tibbitts
FI4LIFE wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:46 am
I would suggest a driving course using manual transmission. Gives you a better feel for the car. She might even benefit from permanently driving stick, assuming she can figure it out and if that's even possible today with almost exclusively automatic vehicles.
Why would this be beneficial? It's just another task to do. The only description we have so far of any problem isn't related to car control, it's related to making decisions (carefree approach to making turns in the OP's example.)

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:59 pm
by JBTX
This may not be applicable to a 25 year old. But there are apps that can track driving behavior. Excessive speed. Hard stops. Fast acceleration. It is a feature of life 360 app (paid feature) but also resident in other driving apps. These are all GPS related. I use it to nag my 18 year old.

There are also other GPS based gadgets/trackers that do the same thing that stay in the car.

Of course all of this would be dependent upon 25 year old being willing to participate.

Some car insurance companies have safe driver devices.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:03 pm
by sawhorse
tibbitts wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:44 pm
FI4LIFE wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:46 am
I would suggest a driving course using manual transmission. Gives you a better feel for the car. She might even benefit from permanently driving stick, assuming she can figure it out and if that's even possible today with almost exclusively automatic vehicles.
Why would this be beneficial? It's just another task to do. The only description we have so far of any problem isn't related to car control, it's related to making decisions (carefree approach to making turns in the OP's example.)
Stick shift driver here. If it's a matter of lack of concentration, a stick shift could help. It's harder to do other things with your hands when driving stick, though that doesn't apply on highways when you cruise in 5th.

If it's a matter of being clumsy and not having great coordination, a stick shift will hurt.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:24 pm
by FI4LIFE
tibbitts wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:44 pm
FI4LIFE wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:46 am
I would suggest a driving course using manual transmission. Gives you a better feel for the car. She might even benefit from permanently driving stick, assuming she can figure it out and if that's even possible today with almost exclusively automatic vehicles.
Why would this be beneficial? It's just another task to do. The only description we have so far of any problem isn't related to car control, it's related to making decisions (carefree approach to making turns in the OP's example.)
Read again and tell me where OP said anything about making decisions? They said she needs to learn basic techniques and increased concentration.

Learning how to allow the vehicle transmission to slow the car down prior to applying the brakes is a great skill to learn and generally the most neglected skill I've noticed in drivers I would classify as "scary"...i.e. last second stoppers. Manual transmission does not allow you to zone out (for the most part) because you need to focus on shifting, which encourages reading the vehicles in front of you and taking appropriate actions (choosing lower, higher or same gear) instead of the mindless "stop, go, stop, go" technique that most terrible drivers employ. The best thing I ever did in relation to driving is learning stick shift as a teenager.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:27 pm
by TN_Boy
sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:03 pm
tibbitts wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:44 pm
FI4LIFE wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:46 am
I would suggest a driving course using manual transmission. Gives you a better feel for the car. She might even benefit from permanently driving stick, assuming she can figure it out and if that's even possible today with almost exclusively automatic vehicles.
Why would this be beneficial? It's just another task to do. The only description we have so far of any problem isn't related to car control, it's related to making decisions (carefree approach to making turns in the OP's example.)
Stick shift driver here. If it's a matter of lack of concentration, a stick shift could help. It's harder to do other things with your hands when driving stick, though that doesn't apply on highways when you cruise in 5th.

If it's a matter of being clumsy and not having great coordination, a stick shift will hurt.
Every car I have ever owned had a manual. I prefer driving them. But if she is driving poorly now, I cannot imagine any way that having to shift will help. It is more likely to frustrate her in stop and go driving.

If you are not paying attention and making poor decisions, having more to do is not going to help.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:35 pm
by TN_Boy
FI4LIFE wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:24 pm
tibbitts wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:44 pm
FI4LIFE wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:46 am
I would suggest a driving course using manual transmission. Gives you a better feel for the car. She might even benefit from permanently driving stick, assuming she can figure it out and if that's even possible today with almost exclusively automatic vehicles.
Why would this be beneficial? It's just another task to do. The only description we have so far of any problem isn't related to car control, it's related to making decisions (carefree approach to making turns in the OP's example.)
Read again and tell me where OP said anything about making decisions? They said she needs to learn basic techniques and increased concentration.

Learning how to allow the vehicle transmission to slow the car down prior to applying the brakes is a great skill to learn and generally the most neglected skill I've noticed in drivers I would classify as "scary"...i.e. last second stoppers. Manual transmission does not allow you to zone out (for the most part) because you need to focus on shifting, which encourages reading the vehicles in front of you and taking appropriate actions (choosing lower, higher or same gear) instead of the mindless "stop, go, stop, go" technique that most terrible drivers employ. The best thing I ever did in relation to driving is learning stick shift as a teenager.
As I noted in another post, every car I have ever owned was a manual.

But my take on how it would affect a poor driver is 100% the opposite of yours. I just don't see it. Usually when somebody is struggling to do X, Y and Z correctly you remove tasks (let's just try X and Y ....) not add them. If she can't do "basic techniques" however those are defined, then she needs to focus on learning them.

I don't find engine braking useful in most around the town situations (and no, I don't go through brake pads very fast). Maybe in the mountains, or when there is snow/ice on the road.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:40 pm
by MrJones
randomguy wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:57 am
bstewie wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:43 am
OP, does she want to be a better driver?

I won’t get in a vehicle with 99% of the people I know, regardless of age. Most whimsical drivers forget they are in charge of a 2 ton weapon. While more expensive, I would recommend she take a road course with an instructor. Understanding what even a modest car is capable of at its limits is better defense than any hokey defensive driving course and the extremity of such a lesson may make her care a little bit more about being safe and thorough under normal conditions.
And in all of your years of driving on public roads, how often have you gone above say 70% or so of what the average car can do? Car control at limits isn't an issue for most drivers. It is all about situational awareness and planning. And maybe cutting down on aggressiveness. Some people do need basic skill work (i.e. 2 hours practicing parking) but that is rarely what scares me when driving with others.

Honestly we have no idea if this is just one person who isn't great in the passenger seat (they are really common) or someone who is a crazy driver or a mixture of the 2.
There's truth to what you're saying. But frequently, people are driving past the edge of safety, and blissfully unaware of how close they are to a catastrophic accident.

When it's raining, roads are slippery, braking distances are reduced, and vision is poorer, most people still follow at barely a one car distance at 70 miles an hour on the freeway. Until they have to brake the first time to save their lives. Then, they understand where the car's control envelope is (steering, stopping ability, stability), and that they need to account for that in weather.

A road course can allow the driver to understand this without putting their lives in jeopardy. My two cents.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:47 pm
by livesoft
FI4LIFE wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:24 pm
....
Learning how to allow the vehicle transmission to slow the car down prior to applying the brakes is a great skill to learn and generally the most neglected skill I've noticed in drivers I would classify as "scary"...i.e. last second stoppers. ....
You mean learning to take your foot off the gas and coasting well before you need to stop? That has little to do with manual transmission since it can be done with automatics just as easily. :)

Full disclosure: I drove a manual until about 2002.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:05 pm
by alfaspider
livesoft wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:07 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:37 am
Have her look into local autocrosses.
Great advice which I take to mean: Have her go out and kill herself driving. Problem solved.

You have reported that at least one of your children totaled a car. Was that a problem? How was it solved?

AutoX is incredibly safe, and a great way to make a safer driver. Accidents often happen when one driver exceeds the performance envelope of their vehicle- they cannot stop in time or loose control. AutoX teaches where the limit is and how to respond when the limit is exceeded in a safe and controlled environment.

That said, it will do nothing to make an inattentive driver attentive or someone learn the rules of the road who ignores them.

Re: How to help niece improve her driving

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:22 pm
by livesoft
alfaspider wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:05 pm
AutoX is incredibly safe, and a great way to make a safer driver. Accidents often happen when one driver exceeds the performance envelope of their vehicle- they cannot stop in time or loose control.
I'm trying to understand your incongruent statements.