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Sixteen-year-old Nolan Coulter put on his right blinker, slowed appropriately, turned the corner and accelerated up to the stop sign, where he actually came to a complete stop.

All the while, Jo Ann Lindsey was speaking softly, giving instructions, cautioning, reminding and keeping her foot near the auxiliary brake pedal, just in case.

Lindsey has been a driving instructor for Lord Ashley Driving School for almost 30 years and has seen the best and worst that such a job can offer.

While she's never been involved in an accident while training a student, "It can be stressful," she said as she watched Coulter maneuver the bright red Ford Mustang through the leafy neighborhoods near The Citadel.

"This is the busiest time of the year," Lindsey said. "A lot of kids want to get their license before school starts."

Road rules

On this day, she had four appointments, each two hours in length.

Nolan, son of Barry and Jan Coulter of James Island, is a rising junior at Porter-Gaud School, where he's on the debate team and hopes to start at third base for the Cyclones baseball team.

This is the last of his three driving lessons. He also completed eight hours of classroom training.

For those of us who can't even remember learning how to drive, riding along is a refresher course in all there is to watch out for.

"Leave room for chargers," Lindsey said, referring to cars that come up fast from behind. "And look out for snipers, the ones that come in from side streets."

Coulter was poised and practically perfect until he tried parallel parking in a vacant parking lot. Once he cut in too sharply. Another time he was too far from the curb.

After he made those adjustments, he felt comfortable doing it over and over again.

"There's just more to it than you think," the teenager said. "There are a lot of rules of the road."

Slow down

And Lindsey covers them all.

Using blinkers. Yielding right of way. Defensive driving tactics. Speed limits. Merging into traffic. Watch out for bicyclists. Parking on a curb. Three-point turns. Checking mirrors. Backing up. Four-way stops. Yellow lines. White lines. Signage. Flashing yellow lights. Right on red.

All very useful. But perhaps unrealistic.

Will young Nolan remember all these things once he's licensed and the car stereo is blasting and there are three other kids in the car?

"I just hope that he will always hear my voice in his ear saying slow down, and watch out for the other guy," Lindsey said.

Reach Ken Burger at kburger@postandcourier.com or 937-5598.