Congratulations on the purchase of THE CONTROLLER™.

Used in combination with the BEHIND THE WHEEL GUIDE, you will find this program to provide an excellent course which will teach valuable driving skills. It is assumed that students will be thoroughly versed in the laws, regulations and driving practices of the states where they will be licensed. We have provided convenient diagnostic material at the end of this guide as a supplement to the skills-based information in this book. Students and teachers must be familiar with the laws governing driving before beginning this course. The CONTROLLER™ program cannot substitute for legal and technical knowledge for driving in your area. The information provided in this guide would help you to develop valuable driving skills without the stress and danger associated with going it alone.


The information provided in this guide was developed for both the teacher and the student. The teacher should read the In-car Guide for the student and the student should read the In-car Guide for the teacher. Both of you will therefore have a better understanding of what the new student will need to learn and what the new teacher must learn in order to teach the skills.


You should have already reviewed THE CONTROLLER™ Installation Guide, have The Controller properly placed in your car and have practiced using The Controller™ with another licensed driver. You’ve learned how easy it is to use The Controller™ and you’ve practiced all the maneuvers you would use during a normal driving situation and you feel totally comfortable proceeding to the lesson stage.

Learning to teach someone how to drive can be a fun and rewarding experience, especially so because you can have the total confidence which comes with knowing you are in control of the car at all times.

Let’s get started!

If you are teaching a family member, any time is a good time to practice driving, even if it’s just a quick trip to the corner store to get some milk. Since installing The Controller™ is so easy, all you have to do is put The Controller™ on your brake, conduct your routine safety checkout and proceed.

When you are first beginning the instruction process, don’t exceed a half-hour per driving lesson. Learning how to drive and teaching driving skills can be demanding for both the student and the instructor. You want the student to absorb the skills and learn in a relaxed atmosphere.

Teaching and learning to drive can create stress because driving is stressful and potentially dangerous. However, the more prepared you are, the less dangerous and stressful teaching driving becomes.


Teaching anyone how to drive can create lots of anxiety both in the student and in the teacher. This is especially true if your student is a member of your family. If you, the teacher, lose your cool and become angry or impatient with your student, you will lose control of the situation. Positive self control and control of the driving situation go hand in hand when building student confidence and student ability to effectively learn the material without mishap or panic. If you are teaching a relative, avoid bringing other family issues into the learning environment.

Your communication skills are absolutely essential so that the driving education experience is fun and rewarding. You want your student to learn well, whether they are a family member or friend, or whether your student is older or younger than you. A calm confident attitude will gain your student’s respect. Yelling at your student if they make a mistake will only make matters worse. Remember that you are in complete control of the car at all times, so you have to be in control of yourself too.

Assume your student is doing the best that they can. You have to set the emotional tone for the lesson—calm, confident and in control, you can make the difference between a successful learning experience or a bad learning experience.

Chances are your student will already be nervous enough. Keep reassuring your student that everything is all right. If the student makes a mistake, assure them that this is just part of the learning process and is to be expected. NEVER lose your temper, ridicule or yell at your student. The time when you are too harsh, critical or demanding is the time when your student will cut you off emotionally and stop learning. If you feel you are uptight and about ready to lose your temper, stop the lesson and call time out! You can always come back to the instruction process when you cool off, but you can never come back to a good learning situation if you ruin it by losing your patience and losing your student’s goodwill.

REMEMBER, YOU ARE THE TEACHER! If your student does make a mistake, repeat the material missed as soon as possible in as emotionally neutral a way as possible, offering gentle guidance and support. Remember that you are the teacher. You are the one who has control of the situation. You have the edge and the confidence that you are able to react to any potential hazard because you have The Controller™.

As I said at the beginning of this guide, “The teacher is responsible for everything that happens during operation of the vehicle operation.” Before getting into your car for the first lesson, make sure your student has thoroughly read and understands the material contained in the STUDENT GUIDE. Ask the student if they have any questions before you enter the car. You will probably want to ask the student a few questions also to make sure they have read the material. Take as much time as you need to assure your student has reached a “comfort level” with the material and have no lingering doubts before going on to your lessons. Before each subsequent lesson you may want to have a brief review session on the material covered during the previous lesson to ensure comprehension is as complete as possible. It’s also a good idea to summarize the material to be covered in the current lesson so the student is clear about exactly what will be covered.

  • Be sure the student understands that you are the teacher, and that anything you tell the student to do is important.
  • If an emergency arises, react immediately. Let’s say you are driving with your student down a quiet residential street and a child suddenly runs into the street chasing a large rubber ball. DON’T wait for the student to react. You can’t read the student’s mind. You don’t know that the student even saw the child or the ball. YOU, THE TEACHER, MUST REACT FIRST.
  • This is why there are so many accidents. Dangerous situations happen very quickly. You are the one in control. Use The CONTROLLER™ to stop the car, without waiting for the student to react.
  • Tell your student if you grab the steering wheel or use The CONTROLLER™ to slow or stop the car, it simply means that you see something that they may not see, and you cannot take the chance of a potential accident occurring. Do not blame the student. You may wish to demonstrate, while the student drives, how The CONTROLLER™ can stop or slow the car. Be sure to prepare the student in advance of actually stopping the car, so that the student feels what happens is predictable and that there are no sudden surprises. In fact, nasty surprises of this kind should be strictly avoided.
  • Learning how to drive is an exciting process. Your student is bound to feel excited and maybe just a touch apprehensive. Put your student’s anxieties to rest. Plan a few minutes at the beginning of each lesson just to sit and relax. Take a few deep breaths before starting.

Teaching Your Student How to Steer

Steering is such a crucial driving skill. Yet many people do not learn how to steer the correct way, the way professionals learn, so that the car is in the maximum amount of control at all times. It’s well worth the effort of learning how to steer correctly. Have your student picture the steering wheel as a clock. Your student holds the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions. The student’s shoulders should be relaxed, not hunched and tense. The hands and arms should exert equal pull on the wheel, so there is not steering bias to either right or left sides.

HAND-OVER-HAND & PUSH-PULL: The Professional Turning Methods

Some people learn to turn by placing the palm against the wheel and using it as a fulcrum to execute the turn. While such methods may “look cool” they are dangerous. The driver can easily loose steering control. By far, the most effective method for turning is the hand-over-hand technique.

For Left Turns the students should:

  • Release the left-hand grip on the wheel.
  • Move the wheel to the left with the right hand.
  • The left hand then crosses over the right hand, grips the top of the wheel at about 1 o’clock, and continues turning to the left.
  • Repeat the cross over procedure until the turn is complete.
  • Most beginning drivers look down on the hood or a short distance in front of the hood when they are turning. This common mistake can account for steering misjudgment and then panic when the car doesn’t seem to head right.
  • First, tell your student to, “AIM HIGH IN STEERING.” Never look at curbs, painted lines or the pavement when you turn.
  • Here’s a clever trick: from the passenger side where you’re sitting you can tell the position of your student’s eyes by checking in the mirror to verify if the student is looking high or low. So, check your student’s eyes to see if he or she gets the message. If not, repeat, “ALWAYS AIM HIGH IN STEERING!”

Learning to turn doesn’t have to cause panic. First, practice in an empty parking lot until you and your student feel confident that basic turning skills have been mastered. When you do make it to the street and you are turning left or right, watch for traffic from all directions. Unless a traffic sign or signal gives you the right of way, always tell your student that he or she must yield to vehicles crossing the path from the left, right and traveling in the opposite direction as well.

The teacher must give the student plenty of time to consider either making a left or right turn. Give your student at least a block to prepare for the turn. Better yet, tell your student they will be turning in three blocks. When the turn approaches, remind the student that they with be turning in one block. NEVER SUDDENLY TELL THE STUDENT TO TURN AND EXPECT THEM TO REACT INSTANTLY TO YOUR INSTRUCTIONS.

When learning how to drive every move is unfamiliar and strange. Give plenty of warning that a turn is approaching so the student can set up what they will do in response. Always tell the student, “A GOOD TURN IS A SLOW TURN.” Remember that relaxed repetition is a key to efficient and effective learning. Be consistent and patient.

If a good turn is a slow turn, telling the student to slow down BEFORE the turn is equally important. The student should not slow as the car begins the turn. The teacher, because of their own driving experience, are the best judges of whether the car is going the appropriate speed to negotiate a turn. If the car is going too fast to make a turn, the teacher MUST IMMEDIATELY USE THE CONTROLLER™ and use the left hand on the steering wheel at 4 o’clock to correct during the turn. Of course, you and your student will have used the CONTROLLER™ previously during driving practice in a more deserted location, so when your student senses you are taking over for reasons of safety, they won’t fight you for control of the vehicle, or panic.

It’s usually most effective to break down any complex maneuver that your student must master into discreet learning steps. These steps are provided in a slightly different format in the student guide as well. Let’s recap and add to the skills and knowledge necessary for teaching turns:


  • Signal for a right turn at least 100 feet before the turn.
  • Brake smoothly before the turn.
  • Check the intersection for vehicles and pedestrians. Look ahead… left…right…left again, then look right to start making your turn.
  • Remember to use hand-over-hand when turning.                                      
  • Turning too soon will cause the rear wheels to hit the curb as they pass. Don't swing wide to the left before turning.
  • When turning right always turn into the right lane.
  • Always look well ahead into your lane. AIM HIGH IN STEERING.
  • Straighten the steering wheel using the hand-over-hand method. If you turn the wheel three turns, you must straighten the wheel back three turns.


  • Signal for a left turn at least 100 feet before the turn.
  • Brake smoothly before the turn.
  • Check for vehicles and pedestrians. Look left…right…ahead…left…right…ahead…left.
  • Keep your car wheels straight.
  • Turn the steering wheel using the hand-over-hand or push-pull method. Wait until the front bumper is almost to the center of the intersection and then turn two turns of the steering wheel.
  • Remember to stay to the right of the centerline of the street into which you are turning.
  • AIM HIGH IN STEERING. Straighten the steering wheel using the hand-over-hand or push-pull method. If you turn the steering wheel two turns to the left, you must straighten the wheel back two turns.


Many driving teachers observe that their students wander, sway, swerve or move from side to side when they travel in a street lane. Lane wandering is not unusual when one is beginning to learn how to drive. Here’s how to correct this problem as soon as it arises.

  • The student’s hands are properly placed on the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 o'clock or 9 and 3 o’clock positions, holding the wheel with a light grip.
  • Is the student hunching their shoulders and exerting unequal stress on either side of the wheel causing the car to wander? If so, tell the student to relax their shoulders and to place equal arm weight on both sides of the wheel.
  • Is the student looking down on the car hood, or at the white pavement lines, or at the curbing? Check your student’s eye position by examining the mirror to see if the student is looking high or low. Visual misjudgment and mis-aming the car is one of the most typical faults for beginning drivers. Correct this problem by telling the student to AIM HIGH IN STEERING. The student should look far ahead as they are driving. In city traffic looking far ahead means aiming about a block away.
  • On highways and expressways, looking about a half mile ahead will correct for visual miscalculations. Always look “through” hills and curves.


Never let a student wander in a lane or weave from side to side, whether in city or highway traffic. The instant you note the student swaying you must take control of the steering wheel and keep the car going straight down the road. Never allow the student to remove his or her hands from the steering wheel. Tell your student you are going to correct for lane wondering. Tell them to relax and allow you to control the car but not take their hands from the wheel. Remember, the teacher’s hand positioned at the 4 o’clock position on the steering wheel serves to monitor steering. Hold the wheel lightly and feel with your fingertips if the student is keeping the wheel straight or if they are moving the wheel. Correct for movement.

Don’t let your student be a traffic hazard. Remember that you are responsible for everything that happens in the car.


Many amateur driving teachers feel that instructing the student to use standard transmission will be difficult if not impossible. Well, take heart. Teaching standard shift driving is not as difficult as you may think, if the student has FIRST LEARNED HOW TO DRIVE ON AN AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION VEHICLE. Using the left foot to depress the clutch and the right hand to shift gears are both new to students, of course, but everything else must be operated the same as in the car with an automatic transmission.



Doing all those moves you must do to drive correctly and still shift at the same time seems confusing and awkward to many students. You want to show how to shift by driving the car yourself and having your student observe you from the passenger seat.

You can choose whatever driving location feels comfortable, either a traffic-free parking lot or a residential street.

Again, if you break down the learning process in simple steps, your student will grasp shifting skills quicker and more thoroughly than if you try to force feed too much information at once to your learning driver.

Now, with you in the driver’s seat and the engine running, explain to your student how each shifting position functions. The gears shift more easily with the engine running than with it turned off. For your convenience here’s some information to help you explain to your student what each gear does in the standard transmission.

FIRST GEAR engages the engine to begin forward motion to a speed of around 10 to 15 mph, depending on your particular car. First can also be used to drive up or down extremely steep hills, driving in mud, snow and ice, or pulling heavy loads, indeed, in any situation requiring greater traction.

SECOND GEAR will provide forward motion to about 15 to 25 mph. This gear may also be used for steep hills. In snow and ice starting forward motion in second gear, instead of first gear, will help to prevent fishtailing and provides a steady, smooth acceleration.

THIRD GEAR accelerates for steady forward driving speeds above 25 or 35 mph. In four speed transmissions, third gear will take your car to traveling speeds of 35 or 45 mph.

FOURTH GEAR will provide highway travel above 35 or 45 mph.

FIFTH GEAR is a cruising gear for highway, freeway and expressways.

REVERSE backs the car, obviously. Tell your student to NEVER shift into reverse when the car is traveling forward.


The following steps describe how to engage the gears and move forward. The student should look ahead out the front window to verify that the car is moving forward. The student should never look down at his foot on the clutch. You may read these steps as you perform the actions required to use your gears or you may simply describe these steps in your own words as you engage the gears.

  1. First, press the clutch pedal to the floor. Put the gearshift lever in the neutral position. Then start the engine.
  2. Move the gearshift lever from neutral too first.
  3. Depress the foot brake and release the parking brake.
  4. If your car is by a curb, signal to leave. Check for traffic in both mirrors.
  5. If clear, release the clutch slowly. If you release it suddenly, the car will lurch forward, and the engine may stall. When the clutch is anywhere from a third to half way released, you’ll sense the gears engaging and the vehicle beginning to move. The FRICTION POINT is when the gears take hold and the vehicle begins to move.
  6. Now, hold the clutch momentarily at the friction point. Gradually press down on the accelerator. Let the clutch up slowly at the same time. If you let up on the clutch too fast, the vehicle will jump and jerk forward and may stall. When the car is moving smoothly, always move your foot off the clutch pedal and onto the floor.

Continue to show the student how to start and stop. Go about 20 feet forward before stopping and starting again. Do these series of maneuvers until the student gets a good idea of how to operate the clutch when starting to move from a dead stop. Have the student repeat and practice these steps until they can start up smoothly without jumping and jerking or the car dying.


Once your car moves smoothly in first gear and you reach the appropriate speed (usually 10-15 mph), you must shift to second gear. Tell your student that you must shift at the required speed or the engine will lug, possibly causing severe engine stress. Make sure to tell your student to watch the road and traffic ahead. Don’t let the student watch the gear shift levers when they shift. Show the student how to use the palm of the hand in shifting. The gears are actually quite delicate and must never be forced.

Instructing the student to “get the feel” of the gears is important. The student driver must never grab or hold the shifting lever too tight, nor should they attempt to force the gears into position.

Shifting to third, fourth and fifth gears simply repeats the procedure outlined in shifting from first into second.

  1. Accelerate until a shift from first to second is required.
  2. Let up on the accelerator. (Gas Off)
  3. Now press the clutch pedal to the floor. In time this sequence will become so automatic that you will be able to let up on your accelerator and, at the same time, press your clutch to the floor.
  4. Shift into second gear.
  5. Let the clutch pedal up SLOWLY all the way out.
  6. Depress the gas pedal to accelerate for third gear acceleration.
  7. Make sure the right hand returns to the steering wheel and doesn’t stay on the gearshift lever.



One of the toughest lessons a beginning standard shift driver has to learn is to use the clutch properly. Shifting will seem awkward at first, because the student must do so many things at once. Clutching can seem particularly clumsy. When first learning how to clutch, a student may remove his left foot from the floorboard. The student may also use the center of the foot on the clutch pedal, instead of their toe. Floating their left foot can make a beginning driver insecure, because they have lost the sense of relationship between control foot and clutch. The student may panic and look down at the floorboard, searching desperately for the clutch with their foot. Never fear! Remember that keeping their left foot grounded will give your student a relative sense of distance and position between foot and clutch.

Show your student how to use the heel of the left foot as a grounding point from which to position the toe on the clutch. The ball of the foot should contact the clutch pedal for maximum control. Show the student how to pivot from the ball of the left foot slowly off the clutch pedal. Observe the student’s feet carefully and, early in training, correct clutch problems.


  • Approach the turn in fifth, fourth or third, while decelerating until second gear speed is attained.
  • Depress clutch
  • Shift down from any gear to second. Remove foot from clutch. Execute the turn with right foot covering brake pedal.
  • Remove right foot from brake pedal and position on gas pedal. Begin to accelerate until third gear range is reached. Shift up while resuming legal speed.


The greatest problem standard shift student’s encounter, when learning how to turn,  is finding the right gear range in completing the downshift. Nothing can be more alarming (to say nothing of the damage done to your car) than grinding gears when you downshift at the extreme upper end of second gear range. The student often tries to force the car into second. This maneuver requires solid practice in a safe location until all the moves needed to downshift are mastered.

Another noisy, though less frequent problem, occurs when the student downshifts  too low in second gear range, and the car lurches and bucks around the corner. Teach your student how to use the shift stick to “feel for the gear.” As they decelerate and reaches second gear range, the student should exert light pressure through neutral to second, until resistance at second gear position fades and the gears relax into position. Remember that a light touch in shifting puts a student in touch with the car’s performance.


For years, some driver education programs taught their students the “four second rule.” The student had to fix their eyes on a target object ahead such as a signpost, tree, bridge abutment or even a shadow. When the car ahead of the student vehicle passed the target, the student started to count, “one-thousand-one…one-thousand-two…one-thousand-three…one-thousand-four…” until the student vehicle passed the target.

This method of gauging good following distance, to allow safe braking and avoid accidents, had a couple of distinct disadvantages. First, instructing students to fixedly stare ahead at a target point can have disastrous consequences. Second, what happens when the student has to drive at night when targets can’t be seen?

It only takes 1/10 of a second to have a crash. While your student was concentrating their attention on the target for four seconds lots of potential accident-causing situations could have time to develop. Clearly, driving instructors needed a better way to judge safe following distance.

So, what is safe following distance? The faster you are going, the more distance you need to allow between you and the vehicle ahead of you.

Here’s the simple rule that you can apply day and night to judge safe following speed.

For each 10 mph speed allow one car length between your car and the car ahead.

For example, if you are going 20 mph, leave two car lengths. If you’re traveling 65 mph, leave six-and-a-half to seven car lengths. Under bad road conditions, allow for more room so you can stop safely without colliding into the rear end of the car in  front of you.

Following at a safe distance can help you get the big picture and, should an untoward event begin to spell danger, you can react quickly, on the basis of more information than you would have were you following too closely.

Following at a safe distance is just one part of the driving philosophy called “Defensive Driving.” Defensive Driving is not just a hackneyed phrase but an entire way of approaching the driving situation.


Driving defensively really is the heart of driving. After all, defensive driving is the attitudinal dimension of driving. You have the responsibility of driving to protect yourself, your passengers, other drivers and pedestrians. Defensive driving means driving to protect yourself and those around you from any hazard present in any traffic situation.

Anticipating developing dangers, the defensive driver expects the unexpected and drives at a safe speed. A safe speed is a speed that allows you to stop your car safely under any conditions.

Many drivers manipulate their cars as if they were weapons… and they can be as dangerous as any weapon. These drivers lash out at others, seek to even the score. These angry drivers are just looking for trouble. They will try to hook you into their tension and anger games if they can.

When someone blasts by you at 100 mph, or races up behind you, tailgates and pushes you down the road, or passes you on the right; all these situations require you to use the utmost patience to control anger and hostility. You never know who those other drivers are or what their motives are when they try to hook you into a confrontation on the road. Suffice it to say the student driver must be especially alert to these dangerous situations. You, the driving teacher, also must instill in your student an attitude that at all times emphasizes COOL-HEADED defensive driving to counteract the madness of the road.

Please continue to The 7 Essential Lessons

Driving Success Inc.
Driver Educational Products, 60th year
Copyright © 2024
Purchaser agrees, that neither the inventor of the CONTROLLER™ nor Driving Success, Inc. shall be held liable in the event that an accident occurs while using the CONTROLLER™. At the time of purchase the buyer accepts and understands all the responsibility of safe use, of the CONTROLLER™. While every effort has been made to assure safe use, no assurance can be made that the CONTROLLER™ will be used according to recommended safe operating procedures outlined in this book or in any instructions or material either provided with this product or provided separately in writing or verbally. The inventor and Driving Success Inc. shall be deemed free and clear of any liability in the event of an accident, injury, death or misuse of the CONTROLLER™. The user assumes all liability in the event of any vehicle accident using the CONTROLLER™.