Updated: Jul 26, 2021
When our students leave us to continue with home practice to build up their hours, we know that even with the best tuition we can provide, we are sending you both out to meet some challenges.
So far this blog series has provided useful advice that not only will keep your relationship with your learner driver intact, but also keep you safe. My intention now is to wrap this all together nicely with a few more safety tips to send you on your way with a little more protection.
Make sure you understand, and work with, the skill level of your learner, and choose the right topic and environment to match this skill level - remember our evaluation drive.
Don't go where you don't know - when introducing new topics pick somewhere you know to ensure it will suit the ability of the learner (all part of the planning), and leave the driving adventure to the time when they have mastered all the necessary basics. You don't need to make things harder for both of you!
Always be in drive mode - no matter how many hours they have done, or how good they are, they are still novices that can catch you by surprise. Keep your eyes on the road and look out for possible hazards, just as you do when you are in the drivers seat; and plan how you can steer and stop the car in a possible emergency situation from the passenger seat. Following are a few tips:
Invest in a stick on rear view mirror so you are aware of the possible dangers lurking behind you, particularly on main roads, (great for when you are teaching lane changing as well);
Practice steering from the left side - quite a new experience; and
Plan how you are going to stop the car - don't wait until an actual emergency as it is hard to make good decisions when all of you are under pressure. You can use the handbrake, if your car still has one. However if your learner has their foot planted on the accelerator in terror after you have just yelled at them to STOP, even this may not work. In an automatic you can knock the car into neutral, but do not press the button that will allow it to progress into reverse. There is no real recommendation for a manual, apart from being vigilant and anticipating a possible dangerous situation.
My last thought: There is a secret I have to share with you.... your learner driver is totally unaware of the dangers around them; and more importantly, they do not see what you see. They are totally unaware of the child running out on the road and they cannot see that other driver pulling out in front of them - this all comes with a lot of practice and sadly, quite a few scare experiences. When you yell at them, "DIDN'T YOU SEE THAT?", you are actually stating the truth and it's not their fault, it is your responsibility to be aware of everything. This is the most challenging part of teaching a learner driver.
However there is a way you can start teaching them 'to see' from the beginning, which will be the topic of my next blog.