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How To Properly Log Your Behind The Wheel Training Hours In Texas

How To Properly Log Your Behind The Wheel Training Hours In Texas

So, you finally got your appointment for your driver’s permit and passed your driving exam. What’s next? In the state of Texas, drivers are required to log a certain number of training hours before being able to sit in for their driver’s license test. The best tool for the job? The Texas Department of Licensing and Registration’s (TDLR) downloadable behind-the-wheel instruction log.


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Texas Behind The Wheel Training Requirements

Teen drivers are required to train during both daytime and evening hours. There are also other restrictions on the passengers who can be in the car with you while you’re logging driving time. Teens need to complete the following behind-the-wheel practice requirements:

  • At least 7 hours of behind-the-wheel training with your driving instructor
  • At least 7 hours of in-car observation as part of your driver’s training
  • 30 hours of supervised driving practice with a licensed adult
  • 10 hours of supervised nighttime driving practice with a licensed adult (as part of the overall 30 hours)

Texas requires teens train in several specific areas and mark them off on their practice logs. Licensed adult drivers who are practicing with teen drivers are required to sign off on these tasks as well. Training requirements include:

  • Getting the vehicle ready, starting the vehicle, placing the vehicle in motion, and stopping
  • Searching for the intended path of travel
  • City driving
  • Handling multiple-lane roadways
  • Additionally, behind-the-wheel training prevents drivers from using mobile devices when learning how to drive.

While it’s not required by the state of Texas, it’s also important for teens to practice driving through different types of weather. Using the skills and knowledge of the licensed adult driver who is riding with the teen is a perfect way to complete this task.

And of course, if you’re a teen driver working on logging your hours, always keep your learner’s permit with you as you drive.

Proof of Completion is Required

The state of Texas requires teen drivers to provide proof that they’ve satisfied the behind-the-wheel requirements. That’s where TDLR’s log sheet comes in. The form is simple and easy to use and provides explanations of the recommended training topics and specific length requirements.

It’s worthwhile to note, however, that Texas mandates teens practice driving for only 1 hour each day. That means that only 1 hour of behind-the-wheel instruction will count toward the 30-hour requirement, regardless of the number of hours that are actually driven that day.

Highway and City Driving

There are some situations in which drivers are going to be driving in the city and sometimes on the highway. To complete the behind-the-wheel training, new Texas drivers must complete 5 hours of city driving and 5 hours of highway driving as part of their training.

There are many dangers, threats, and hazards on the road. These hazards don’t only come from other drivers, such as drunk drivers or those with road rage, but often from the environment, as well. Going above and beyond the driving log requirements – practicing more than what is required – will help provide soon-to-be licensed teen drivers a lifetime of safe driving.

VIDEO: How To Pass Your Behind The Wheel Test In Texas

Behind-the-Wheel Instruction Log for 30 Hours

The 30 hours of behind-the-wheel practice must be completed in the presence of an adult who meets the requirements of Section 521.222 (d)(2), Transportation Code. 

Only one (1) hour of behind-the-wheel instruction per day will count towards the 30 hours, regardless of the number of hours the student actually drives in a day.

Getting Ready, Starting, Placing the Vehicle in Motion, and Stopping

Recommended 2 hours

These practice sessions introduce your teenager to the instrument panel, vehicle controls, and mirror blind spots. The young driver should get ready to drive, start the vehicle, place the vehicle in motion, stop, and secure the vehicle. Please review the vehicle owner’s manual before and during these practice sessions.

Moving, Stopping, Steering, Knowing Where You Are

Recommended 3 hours

Focus on learning the correct procedures for moving, stopping, using reference points, and steering the vehicle at different speeds. Begin in a large, level parking lot that is free of obstacles. The teenager should practice driving around the perimeter of the lot at 10 and 15 mph. Using commentary driving, have your teenager focus on smooth push-pull-slide hand-to-hand steering and stops. 

Your teenager should be taught to ease off the accelerator or use the brake to reduce speed before entering a curve. Also, they shud learn how to use slight acceleration to overcome inertia and pull the vehicle out of the curve. Ask the teenager to move the vehicle to specified targets in the parking lot at 10 and 15 mph. 

The target is a fixed object that is located 12-20 seconds ahead of the vehicle, in the center of the path of travel, and is what the driver steers toward. It can be a car a block ahead, a traffic signal, the crest of a hill, etc. Having a target helps the new driver to: 

  • Visualize the space the vehicle will be occupying
  • Look far ahead of the vehicle and begin a search to identify risks
  • Improve steering accuracy
  • Focus on smooth acceleration, proper speed, and smooth stops

Explain to your teenager that “curling” the toes back to ease pressure off the brake just before stopping results in smoother stops. Practice normal smooth stops and hard smooth stops which are done at a slightly higher speed.

Backing

Recommended 1 hour

Repeat the tasks listed in sessions Moving, Stopping, Steering, Knowing Where You Are with the vehicle in reverse gear at idle or slow speeds. Backing from one target to another allows your teenager to practice seeing, steering, and speed control skills with the vehicle in reverse gear.

Turning, Lane Position, and Visual Skills

Recommended 4 hours

During the next practice sessions, practice 10-15 right and left turns from stopped and moving positions in a parking lot. Left turns should be “squared” and right turns should be “rounded.” 

Emphasize proper signals, mirror checks, side position reference points, speed and steering control, and the need to look ahead of the vehicle at a selected target in the center of the path of travel. 

Warn young drivers not to fixate on any one thing. Prior to progressing to driving in a quiet neighborhood, your teenager should be able to demonstrate the ability to move and stop the car smoothly, maintain a given speed, and steer with reasonable precision. If your teenager is ready, practice right and left turns in a residential area.

Searching Intended Path of Travel

Recommended 3 hours

In a residential area, or, if ready, on roads with light traffic, continue working on basic visual skills, negotiating curves, and right and left turns. Practice judging space in seconds, identifying a target, and searching the target area and target path. Ask your teenager to comment prior to changing speed or position. Young drivers have the tendency to monitor the road immediately in front of the vehicle.

Parking

Recommended 1 hour

Angle Parking, Perpendicular Parking, Parallel Parking, Curb Parking, Parking Uphill, Parking Downhill

Turnabouts

Recommended 2 hours

Focus on recognizing the different types of turnabouts and selecting the appropriate type of turnabout for a given situation. Begin in a large, level parking lot free of obstacles. Practice 2-point, 3-point, and U-turns in a parking lot. Progress to a lightly traveled residential area, and practice visual search skills, turns, and each turnabout at least 10 times. The easiest and safest way to change directions is to drive around the block.

Multiple Lane Roadways

Recommended 4 hours 

Focus on lane position, lane changing, following distance, and mirror blind spots. If possible, choose a time when the four-lane roadway on which you select to practice has minimal traffic, such as during early morning hours on Saturday or Sunday.

There are several lane position choices a driver can make without changing lanes. Practice driving in lane positions 1, 2, and 3 for several miles during each session.

City Driving

Recommended 5 hours

Focus on driving on crowded urban roadways. During these practice sessions, have your teenager examine the importance of scanning ahead, lane position, covering the brake, and the hazards associated with parked cars, traffic congestion, and distractions. 

Decision Making is the most important skill used in driving. A driver operating in city traffic flow makes 50-60 decisions per mile. Drivers need visibility, space, time, and adequate traction to perform all maneuvers in city traffic whether crossing, turning, passing, or adjusting speed and/or position. 

Expressway/Freeway Driving

Recommended 5 hours

Focus on complex risk driving environments at speeds up to 70 mph. Traffic flow on expressways can be heavy and at times unpredictable. They are called limited access highways because there are only certain locations, called interchanges, where a driver can enter and exit the expressway. 

Expressways have a low frequency of collisions, but often have high injury severity rates when a collision does occur because of the higher speeds. Review the expressway information in the Texas Driver Handbook. Make sure your teenager understands the different kinds of expressway interchanges, expressway signs, signals, lane markings, speed limits, and the importance of maintaining a 20-30 second visual lead.

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