HELPING LEARNER DRIVERS
It is a documented fact that learners who practise between driving lessons are more likely to pass their DVSA Practical Driving Test first time.
To accompany a learner driver, you need to be 21 years old and have held a full driving licence for at least three years.
The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency recommends that learners have a solid grounding in basic driving skills with a fully qualified instructor before starting any supervised training with a relative or friend on the road. While private driving practice is an excellent idea, it is vitally important that any practice supports what the instructor is teaching within the driving lessons.
As a supervising driver do not allow any bad habits to creep into the learners driving practice.
So how does a learner begin the process of going from a novice to a competently safe driver?
The two key areas to aid skill development and practical driving ability are
(1) PROFESSIONAL DRIVING LESSONS
To LEARN NEW DRIVING SKILLS with the expert tuition and guidance from a QUALIFIED DRIVING INSTRUCTOR.
(2) DRIVING PRACTICE
To GAIN ROAD CRAFT and MANOEUVRE EXPERIENCE with the help and support from RELATIVES / FRIENDS.
SUPERVISING DRIVERS PLEASE NOTE
It may have been a few years since you passed your driving test, practical driving and the driving test criteria will have changed.
I would advise you to read a copy of the current version of the Highway Code to catch up with any developments before supervising a learner driver.
Ask the instructor for guidance if you are not clear with any of the practical driving modifications.
- Clearly display 'L' plates on the back and front of your learners car on a vertical section of the painted bodywork.
- Avoid fixing 'L' plates on any windows as they will obstruct all-round vision.
- It is recommended that the supervising driver uses an additional rear view mirror to know what is going on behind for road safety and peace of mind, mirrors are available from car styling and car parts retail outlets.
PLEASE ENSURE THAT THE LEARNER DRIVER IS CORRECTLY INSURED TO DRIVE THE VEHICLE USED FOR PRACTICE.
BE ALERT, BE PATIENT & KEEP CALM
LEARNING TO DRIVE TAKES A LOT LONGER THAN MOST PEOPLE THINK
The following tips will help make your learner's private driving practice more effective:
- Follow the driving instructor's approach as much as you can.
- Speak firmly and clearly without shouting, be confident giving directions.
- Ensure good road positions, stick to speed limits, correct timing of signals etc.
- Learners will have to repeat new driving skills many times to be competent.
- Arrange different practice times and use suitable practice areas.
- Plan varied learner friendly routes.
- Do not avoid manoeuvre practice.
- Ask the driving instructor for guidance regarding skills that need to be practised.
- Practice with a planned objective of what skills you wish to develop.
- Keep a record of practice drives to show the driving instructor.
CAN YOU ANSWER " YES " TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS?
- Does your learner operate all the ancillary cockpit controls without any prompting?
- Can your learner cope with all the situations you meet on the road?
- When you accompany your learner are you just a passenger?
- Can your learner carry out all the DVSA set manoeuvres without any assistance?
CAN YOU ANSWER " NO " TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS?
- Do you ever need to reach across to use the car controls to avoid danger?
- Does your learner's driving ever make you nervous?
- Does your learner ever hinder or slow down the flow of traffic?
- Do you ever have to say "Watch out for....? Look out for....?
If you can respond correctly to all the questions above your learner should be ready to take their practical driving test.
A MOCK DRIVING TEST WITH A DVSA QUALIFIED DRIVING INSTRUCTOR IS USUALLY A GOOD INDICATOR OF TEST READINESS.
It is advisable that you take recommendations from your instructor, they have the knowledge and expertise regarding the DVSA Practical Driving Test criteria.