Parents, older siblings or friends who are able to provide the opportunity for private practice are a massive help, both to us as instructors and to those learning to drive.
The closer that you can mirror what we would do as professional instructors, the more a learner will get from their practice sessions.
First things first
Before going out with a learner driver, you must make sure that you meet the minimum requirements; that you are over the age of 21 and have held a full driving licence (for the type of vehicle that you are using) for a minimum of three years.
You must also remember that you are not just a passenger, but a supervisor with a legal responsibility to your driver and other road users.
Route planning is VITAL in the early stages of learning, and if these are poorly planned then it will lead to the learner making mistakes and becoming frustrated.
This often leads to arguments with the person you are teaching and possibly other drivers.
Inappropriate routes will often lead to lack of motivation and will cause learning to be slow.
One step at a time
If you find that your learner is stalling quite a lot when emerging from junctions or in traffic, the likely cause is insufficient practice in quieter areas with less pressure. Busy traffic is best avoided, such as school times and rush hour, until confidence is gained.
You may thing that its good motivation to cover as much as possible in the early stages, but this will lead to severe problems later in the training.
Make sure the basic skills and foundations are in place and success will follow. Check with your driving instructor that your planned route will be suitable.
The choice of words will have a big impact on the way your learner responds. Try to be precise with your instructions, such as with “slow down” – tell them how much to slow down and what speed you are looking for (20mph for example). Too close to the car in front? Tell them to keep 3 car lengths so they have something to measure.
You must bear in mind that actions that you take for granted can be quite difficult for a learner to understand and if you become short tempered and snappy this will make them feel bad and demotivated.
When mistakes have been made, instead of telling them what they did wrong, tell them what they need to do next time to get it correct. When success is achieved tell them how good they were and this will help with confidence and quicker learning.
When people are learning to drive they generally try to do everything to fast. I am not talking about general speeding but allowing time to get thing correct. Emerging at junctions is a good example; certainly to begin with the approach speed has got to be no more than a slow walking pace. It is much better to do it slow and succeed than to rush and make mistakes. As confidence and knowledge improves then a progression to a more suitable speed can be introduced.
As a supervising driver you must be familiar with the basic mirror, signal, manoeuvre process, including position, speed and gear. This process is fundamental to driving and if not followed could cause more harm than good.
As instructors, we can spend more time sorting out what mum or dad has taught, and this can lead to extra time and money, the reason we’ve put together this guide.
you have to accept that your learner will not respond as quickly as you might think to some situations and you will need patience in abundance!
If you would like any more advice in helping learners to practice successfully, or route suggestions etc, please feel free to get in contact, or talk to your learner’s instructor before/after a lesson.