Put the horse before the cart!
Start taking lessons before driving with a parent, sibling or friend. Your mum, dad, brother or auntie undoubtedly will have the best of intentions, but if you learn things wrongly at the start, it will take even longer for me to sort out any problems. It is crucial that the core control skills are learnt correctly.
I encourage you to practise driving as much as possible. But please practise! Driving the same route to and from school or work is ok, but the route (and your preoccupation with getting to where you are going) may not be conducive to skills development.
Plan what you are going to practise before setting out, and head to an appropriate area. If the route to this area includes situations that you haven’t learnt about yet in lessons (roundabouts, for example), ask your accompanying driver to drive you there and then swap seats.
Please allow the learner to demonstrate and to practise what he or she has learnt in lessons. Your role is not to instruct. Your role is to look ahead and take account of upcoming hazards before they become a problem, and to assist your driver in preparing for them. In the early stages, a learner shouldn’t be expected to notice everything that an experienced driver would.
Please read the latest version of the Highway Code to ensure that your own knowledge is up to date.
Feel free to contact me for clarification if any methods or techniques seem at odds with your thinking. I also encourage you to sit in on a lesson at least once, preferably before going out with the learner.
Driving faults: Avoid giving your own opinion on what actions may or may not lead to a learner failing or passing the test. When a candidate commits a fault during the driving test, an examiner will consider a range of factors before deciding whether to record as a driving fault, a serious fault or a dangerous fault (or, in fact whether it is not worth recording at all).
The main aim is to develop the learner into an independent, confident and safe driver for life. By that stage, passing the test will be fairly straightforward. It will be better to avoid developing unnecessary anxiety about driving faults.
The following points will hopefully address any confusion that might arise when you observe what the learner is doing.
The only official requirement for steering is that it should be smooth and under control. Do not attempt to insist on a 10-to-2 hold, or stifled shuffling of the wheel. I encourage pull-push steering as the primary technique, and I explain the reasons to my pupils. But there is no reason to criticise the learner for crossing hands, especially when manoeuvring the car slowly.
Use of gears:
Do not expect, encourage, or insist on sequential down-shifting of gears when slowing the car down. This is an outdated approach that should not be used when driving a modern (post 1980) car. The footbrake can handle the task of slowing the car down without any assistance from the engine. It is more important for the driver to keep both hands on the steering wheel while slowing the car down, and only to handle to gear stick when a lower gear is needed to accelerate again.
YES! It is correct to slow to a stop from 30 mph in 4th gear, disengaging the clutch when needed.
YES! Even when slowing from 70mph in 5th or 6th gear.
NO! It is neither necessary nor correct to work down through the intermediate gears
In fact, sequential up-shifting is not always required either. When changing up, there are many situations in which, in the interests of economical driving, it is appropriate to miss out gears.
Use of mirrors:
Use of indicators:
Practising driving between lessons is a good thing. Not only is it good for the trainee driver, but it is also a good opportunity for the accompanying FLH to reflect on – dare I say improve upon? – his or her own driving. If you both follow this guidance, the experience should be enjoyable, and beneficial to all concerned (that includes me!). Avoid discussion (or argument) while the trainee is driving. There is already enough for him or her to think about when on the road.
Copyright © 2018 A6 Driver Training - All Rights Reserved.
Disclaimer: Any opinions expressed on this website are those of the author and they do not represent the views of any other individual or organisation.
While I make every effort to ensure that information provided on this website is accurate, it is the responsibility of the user to validate information before acting on it. A6 Driver Training will not be held liable in the event of error or omission.
Woodlands Drive, Loughborough, Leics LE11 2DD, GB