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Signal being used.


Lesson 8

Part 6





Steering control is critical to safe, successful driving. Developing steering control involves acquiring visual habits, such as looking far ahead into your intended path of travel, using space correctly, controlling speed, and continually adjusting the steering wheel.


Steering Straight Forward


Always use a comfortable, balanced hand position. Avoid looking at your hands or feet, but instead always look far ahead of you. This will enable you proper time to put in place the IPDE system you have already learned in a previous chapter.


Some new drivers tend to oversteer the vehicle. When you oversteer, your vehicle will weave from side to side. The adjustments you make to drive straight are small but critical.


Steering Straight Backward


When steering backward, it involves knowing where to look and how to control the direction of your vehicle and your speed. Before backing up, make sure your path is clear of all objects, keeping in mind that some objects are below your field of vision. Follow these steps:


  1. Hold the brake pedal down then shift to reverse.
  2. Turn your body to the right and put your right arm over the back of the passenger seat. Look back through the rear window.
  3. Put your left hand at the top of the steering wheel at the 12:00 position.
  4. Release pressure on the brake just enough to allow the vehicle to creep backward slowly.
  5. While looking back through the rear window, move the top of the steering wheel toward the direction you want the back of the car to go.
  6. Keep your foot over the brake pedal while your vehicle is moving backward. Glance quickly to the front and sides to check traffic or check objects in your path. Continue to look back through the rear window as you brake to a stop.




Developing the habit of signaling every time you plan to turn, change lanes, slow or stop. Signal well in advance before you begin any maneuver. Doing so gives other drivers time to react.


Changing Lanes


You must learn to change lanes smoothly before attempting to pass other drivers on a highway. Sometimes you need to change lanes before making a turn.


Steering control is a critical factor as your learn the lane-changing maneuver. Oversteering can cause your vehicle to turn too sharply as you start to enter the adjoining lane.


Always follow the same procedure for making a lane change, regardless of your reason for making the lane change. Before changing lanes, check all zones for possible hazards. You have learned the concept of “Zone Control” in a previous lesson. Make sure you can see far ahead in the lane of your intended path of travel and that there are no obstructions in either lane.


Follow these steps when making a lane change to the left:


  1. Check traffic in the front and left-front zones. Check rear zones through the rear-view mirrors.
  2. Signal and make a blind-spot check over your left shoulder to see if any vehicle is about to pass you.
  3. Increase your speed slightly as you steer smoothly into the next lane if it is clear.
  4. Cancel your signal and adjust your speed.
  5. Follow the same procedure when making a lane change to the right with one exception. After checking traffic ahead and through both mirrors, check the blind-spot area over your right shoulder.


Hand-Over-Hand Steering


You use hand-over-hand steering by pulling the sheering wheel down with one hand while your other hand crosses over to pull the wheel farther down. Follow these steps for a left turn:


  1. Begin the turn from a balanced hand position.
  2. Start pulling down to the left with your left hand. Your right hand pushes the wheel toward the left about a quarter turn.
  3. Release your left hand from the wheel and cross it over your right hand to grasp the wheel near the top. Continue pulling down.
  4. When your turn is completed, unwind the steering wheel using the same process that you used to make the turn.


Making Left and Right Turns


Use your “Zone Control” when making any left or right hand turns to check for all traffic. Look for pedestrians and oncoming vehicles. Check rear zones for vehicles about to pass you. Plan turns well in advance. Be in the correct lane about a block before your turn and let other drivers know of your intentions by signaling.


Procedures for Turning


Illustration on turningThe numbers in the picture, match the following steps for turns.


  1. Position your vehicle in the correct lane for the turn. For a right turn, be in lane position 3 if there are no parked vehicles. For a left turn, be in lane nearest the center line in lane position 2. Signal about half a block before the turn.
  2. Brake early to reduce speed.
  3. Use your visual search pattern to check the front zones for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
  4. Slow to about 10 mph just before the crosswalk.
  5. For a right turn, check to the left again before turning. Then look in the direction of the turn. Begin turning the wheel when your vehicle’s front bumper is even with the curbline.
  6. For a left turn, check traffic to the left, then right, then left again. Turn the steering wheel just before the front of your vehicle reaches the center of the intersection. Continue looking left into the lane your will enter.
  7. As you begin your turn, make a quick blind-spot check through the right side window. Check front and rear zones. If the intersection is clear, turn into the nearest lane of traffic going in your direction.
  8. Accelerate about halfway through the turn as you return the wheel to the straight-ahead position.




Some drivers find perpendicular parking one of the most difficult driving maneuvers to complete because of the size of their vehicles, and the size of the parking spots. Obviously, the larger your vehicle, the less space you have to work with. Try to find a parking space that fits the size of your vehicle.


Reference Points


Many drivers use reference points to serve as guides in determining the position of the vehicle in the roadway. A reference point is some part of the outside or inside of the vehicle, as viewed from the driver’s seat, that relates to some part of the roadway. Reference points can be developed for the front, side or rear to help you know where your vehicle is located in the road. A standard reference point is the point on the vehicle that is typical for most drivers. This could be a sideview mirror, a hood ornament, or the center of the hood.


Once you have learned standard reference points, you can develop your own reference point. As you begin to practice parking maneuvers, you will learn which parts of your vehicle to use as a personal reference point. You will be able to line up these points with parts of other vehicles to help execute the maneuvers.


The following parking procedures refer to entering a parking space to your right. When parking to your left, adjust your actions and visual checks for the left side.


Angle Parking


Use angle parking to park your vehicle diagonally to the curb. Angle parking is often used in parking lots and shopping centers.


  1. Check for traffic and pedestrians. Position your vehicle at least six feet from the row of parked vehicles. Signal a right turn, check traffic to the rear, and begin braking.
  2. Check your right blind spot and continue braking.
  3. Creep forward until you can see the center of the space without your line of sight cutting across the parking line. This is your reference point to begin turning. Turn the wheels sharply to the right. Slowly enter the spot.
  4. Straighten the wheels when you are centered in the space. Determine your forward reference point and place the front of the bumper even with the curb or parking line.


Perpendicular Parking


Use perpendicular parking to park your vehicle at a right angle to the curb.


  1. Position your vehicle at least eight feet from the row of parked vehicles, or as far to the left of the lane as possible. Signal right. Check your right blind spot and begin to brake.
  2. Check traffic to the rear, and continue braking.
  3. Determine your personal reference point to know when the front bumper of your vehicle passes the left rear taillight of the vehicle to the right of the empty parking space. Turn the wheel sharply right. Slowly enter the stall. Check your right-rear fender for clearance.
  4. Straighten the wheels when you are centered in the space. Use a forward reference point, like the driver’s side-view mirror, to stop before the wheels strike the curb.


Leaving an Angle or Perpendicular Space


Your view often will be locked as you begin to back into moving traffic. Back slowly. Look to the rear and to the sides as you search for other roadway users and pedestrians.


  1. Creep straight back while you control speed with your brake.
  2. When your front bumper is even with the rear bumper of the vehicle on your left, begin to turn right.
  3. Back into the nearest lane and stop with the wheels straight. Shift to a forward gear and proceed as you scan your front and rear zones.


Parallel Parking


Use parallel parking to park your vehicle parallel to the curb. Select a space that is five to six feet longer than your vehicle. During the maneuver, the front of your vehicle will swing far to the left. Check over your left shoulder to be sure this needed space is clear.


  1. Flash brake lights and signal a right turn. Stop 2 to 3 feet away from the front vehicle with the two rear bumpers even. Shift to reverse. Check traffic. Look back over your right shoulder. Back slowly as you turn right. Aim toward the right-rear corner of the space. Control speed with your foot brake.
  2. When the back of your seat is even with the rear bumper of the front vehicle, straighten the wheels. Determine your personal reference point for this position. Slowly back straight. Look over your shoulder, through the rear window.
  3. When your front bumper is even with the front vehicle’s back bumper, turn your wheels sharply left. Back slowly. Look out the rear window.
  4. When your vehicle is parallel to the curb, straighten wheels and stop before you touch the vehicle behind. Develop reference points to know your distance from the curb and from the vehicle behind you. Slowly pull forward to center your vehicle in the space.



Leaving a Parallel Parking Space


Your must yield to all oncoming traffic when pulling out of a parallel parking space.


  1. Back straight slowly until your rear bumper almost touches the vehicle behind. Turn your wheels sharply left as you stop.
  2. Signal left and check your blind spot. Move forward slowly if there is no traffic coming.
  3. Check the right-front corner of your vehicle for clearance.
  4. Turn your wheels slowly to the right when you are halfway out of the parking space. Scan front zones and accelerate gently as you center your vehicle in the traffic lane.



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