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Drivers Education 

Learning how to drive is a major milestone, filled with excitement. You as the driver instructor might be feeling a bit of fear, but rest assured, with lots of practice your driver will learn and ultimately be safe on the roadways. Long Island, with its extensive road network, and yes, traffic, offers the perfect environment for driver education. So how do you drive on the roadways of Long Island, including getting onto the parkways, navigating the Long Island Expressway, etc.?

Teaching others how to drive- Levittown Road Rescue
  1. Local Roads or parking lot: Begin with local roads to familiarize the student driver with basic driving skills. Emphasize safe practices such as signaling, stopping at stop signs, and navigating residential areas. An empty parking lot is perfect for teaching a new driver to get the feel of the vehicle. Stepping on the gas, putting on the brakes and turning. Have the student turn around the parking lot islands. Have the student do emergency stops and avoidance turns, the more they practice, the better they will become.

  2. Getting onto Parkways: Long Island is well known for its scenic parkways, and yes, crowded parkways. Teach the driver how to get onto parkways, emphasizing the importance of proper merging and understanding the unique characteristics of each parkway. How to use the mirrors and how and when to check the blind-spots. Teach the driver that they should get up to highway speed in the acceleration lane (merging lane).

  3. Navigating Parkways: Parkways on Long Island often have specific rules and restrictions, including low bridges, limited commercial vehicle access, and specific speed limits. Ensure the learner is aware of these regulations to navigate parkways safely.

  1. The Long Island Expressway (LIE): The Long Island Expressway, or LIE, is a major artery connecting the eastern and western parts of the island in a somewhat straight line. Compared to the parkways, the LIE might be a better starting highway. The LIE often has larger acceleration lanes, which will allow the driver to learn to get up to the highway speed of 55. The LIE also has three lanes available in each direction, compared to two for the parkways. This will allow the new driver to be able to stay in the far right lane for a bit, getting the feel of the vehicle at highway speeds. Because the LIE allows trucks, the lanes are a bit wider, compared to the parkways. This extra space in the lanes will allow the student drivers to be able to understand highway driving without having to worry about the twists and turns of the parkways.

Be sure to do the following:

  1. Practice Defensive Driving: Emphasize the importance of defensive driving on Long Island's busy roadways. Teach the learner to anticipate the actions of other drivers, be aware of blind spots, and maintain a safe following distance. Let’s face it, on Long Island, defensive drivers are safe drivers. When you see someone doing something that isn’t safe, for example weaving in and out of traffic, speeding or tailgating, point it out to your student- bad drivers can be good teachers that way.

  2. Addressing Traffic: On Long Island, particularly during rush hours, we as drivers have to deal with a lot of traffic. Teach the learner strategies for navigating heavy traffic, including proper lane changes, merging, and maintaining patience is a great learning tool.

  3. Emphasize Safe Lane Changes: Long Island's roadways often require frequent lane changes, especially on the LIE. Instruct the learner on proper signaling, checking blind spots, and smoothly executing lane changes to ensure a safe and confident driving experience.

  4. Night Driving and Inclement Weather: Familiarize the learner with driving at night and in bad weather conditions. Highlight the importance of adjusting speed, using headlights appropriately, and staying alert to changing road conditions. When it starts to rain, especially hard, take them out for a drive. When driving they will face rainstorms, best to drive in it during training then for the first time alone behind the wheel. Take them to a parking lot, have them practice emergency braking, have them get the feeling of the ABS below their foot. A snow storm is an even greater learning opportunity. Find a parking lot that is empty and plowed to your car’s ability. If your vehicle has four-wheel drive, allow the student to get a feeling of the ability of the car to go through snow. Have them try turning, braking, and moving through the snow. Remember, as with all skills, the more practice the student gets, the better they will become.

Teaching someone to drive involves not only basic driving skills but also specific knowledge about parkways and the Long Island Expressway. By starting with local roads, gradually progressing to parkways and expressways, and addressing specific challenges such as traffic congestion and night driving, the learner can develop the skills and confidence needed to navigate the roadways of Long Island. Patience, practice, and a focus on safety are key elements in ensuring a successful and enjoyable learning experience.

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