Starting Off With Learner Drivers
Learning to drive is an intimidating experience for some, so the ability to boost confidence is a must have tool. Remember communication is a key component when teaching someone to drive. You'll need to be calm and helpful a stressful setting. One raised voice or insult can decimate a learner driver's confidence and it can be a long road (pardon the pun) to rectifying the damage.
Small Steps Provide Great Gains
Start slowly, don't inundate the learner with every possible, rule, regulation and practical skill from the moment you get into the vehicle. Begin with baby steps, calmly explaining each safety aspect and involve them in the procedure. Don't be afraid to sit in the car just chatting for some time until they're confident they know the car and everything is set for them to take it out for a drive.
If it’s possible to get your learners to read about road rules and general driving before they step into a car, this can greatly assist with their confidence. Taking small steps at first, allows your learner driver to start to feel comfortable in your presence and in the car. Show them how everything works before you move off and let them play with the controls while the vehicle is stationary. Take time to explain to them what their actions lead to and how it’s important to adjust their seating and mirrors to make the car domain feel like their own.
Learn Your Students Strengths and Weaknesses
One of the most important parts of teaching someone to drive is to use active listening. Really concentrate on what they’re saying, how they’re reacting and your interaction with them. Gauge their confidence levels and work within them. If they need to practise in an empty car park or back road for some time before heading out on an actual road, take the time out to do so, but don’t let them get too comfortable there or it could have an adverse affect. Part of driving is to learn to read the traffic and work with other road users, so it’s important to let them settle a little, but then try and integrate into a ‘real life’ situation. When you start doing this, you can begin to notice your student's strengths and weaknesses. Use these in a positive way and always try and turn a weakness into an opportunity to learn.
Control Comes from Conversation
An important method of controlling a learner driver is through voice commands. Always explain things and ask things, but not in a confrontational or testing manner. Conversational chat will set them at ease more than being grilled about what they missed at that last intersection.
Within the conversational framework ask questions of the learner driver. For example, if they failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, rather than merely stating "you should have stopped, that was a stop sign", try "what sign was that? What is the rule there?". This will help them feel involved and may also aid them in remembering the rule at hand.
Using your conversation to teach learners, along with your voice commands to control them gives new drivers the feeling of power, but the safety of knowing you’re there to help. This builds confidence and is always more effective than grabbing the wheel from them, or using other physical cues. Whilst talking is good, there are times when it's best to allow the driver to concentrate on the matter in hand without confusing them with questions over what happened 300 yards.
Concluding Your Lessons
After the lesson, have a chat with the learner, go back over what happened whilst you were out driving. Cover the positives and negatives of the lesson, but not in a derogatory way. Be tactful and friendly, this will put the learner at ease and will only aid them in their confidence. Give them a goal for next time and highlight as many positive outcomes as you can. Always leave them with an uplifting and positive comment - it will stay with them and let their confidence soar.
Disclaimer: The information in the article is for general purpose information only and should not be constituted as legal advice. This article has been produced by a third party and Jardine Motors does not take any responsibility for the completeness, accuracy, or reliability with respect to the website or the information provided. Article last updated March 2016.