Practice Makes Perfect! Learning to drive with Friends and Parents.
Parents or partners who are able to provide the opportunity for private practice are a massive help, both to us as instructors and for those learning to drive.
The closer that you can mirror what we coach as professional driving instructors the more likely that success will be achieved.
So if you have any questions to ask on suggested routines, methods or routes that you can use then please contact us. Text is best as we are often out on the road and can then reply as soon as possible.
First things first;
Before going out with a learner driver,you must make sure that you meet the minimum licence requirements.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 (and any passengers under the age of 14)
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. This often results in the supervising driver refusing or making excuses not to sit in again.
Inappropriate routes will often lead to lack of motivation and will cause learning to be slow. And if routes are too busy the pupil can become disheartened.
Also it must be reminded that the car the private practice is taken in will no doubt be different from the driving instructors car and will initially cause a lower standard of driving to occur.
With this in mind it can be often be best for the supervising driver to drive to a suitable location to give the pupil chance to gain control. They may also need driving back for a few sessions depending on where they are driving back to.
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. We recommend that you drive the learner to a suitable area such as Wrexham or Llay industrial estates for the first few sessions and drive them back home. The reason being that even if your car is the same as the one they use for lessons there will still be a difference in brakes and clutch as least and they may take some time to adjust to the differences.
You may think that its good motivation to cover as much as possible in the early stages, but this will lead to severe problems later in their training, as they tend to remember any earlier situations that occur and expect the same to happen, and hence be held back.
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 slow down - tell them how much to slow down and what speed you are looking for 20 mph for example. To 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 on to main roads are a good example. Certainly to begin with the approach speed has got to be no more than an old persons walking pace. It is much better to do it slow and succeed then 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.
Also at all times give good clear instructions to the pupil.
For example, many supervising drivers say:
"At the roundabout go straight over"
This could easily be mistaken for driving straight over the middle!
The instruction should be:
"At the roundabout follow the road ahead, taking the second exit"
As instructors we can spend more time sorting out what mum or dad has done and this can lead to extra time and money.(hence the reason for this guide)
Finally, you have to accept that your learner will not respond as quickly as you might think to some situations and you will need patients in abundance.
If your out getting private practice it can be worth noting that some of the exercises of the test have now been dropped.
These are the Turn in the Road exercise, and the Left Reverse into a side road.
Now the examiner requests candidates to do one of four exercises they are:
- Parallel Park
- Reverse into a parking bay
- Drive into a parking bay and reverse out
- Pull over on the right reverse back 2 car lengths and move off again.
Whilst its still important to know how to turn around in the road a reverse into a road and they should be practiced they are now not required to pass the test.
We will continue to add more information here.