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12 March 2012



Practical tips and advice to help you supervise a learner driver

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Supervising and encouraging a new driver can be an extremely rewarding experience. It can also be a nightmare

One of the most fundamental errors that we "experienced" drivers make is we assume a new driver can drive...and really has seen the bus heading towards them from the opposite direction

  • And we can't understand why they haven't seen it
  • Well, chances are they haven't!
  • And it's probably because they are still concentrating on the fundamentals of driving

What you and I do naturally...isn't natural to your new driver. So getting annoyed isn't going to help
If you're going to supervise a learner driver... there are some basic points you should consider before you start

  • Are you the right person?
  • Are you correctly insured?
  • Check with your insurance company
  • You must be over 21 and held a full licence for the appropriate type of vehicle for at least 3 years
  • If you hold a full licence for an automatic car you must not supervise someone who is learning with a manual gearbox
  • You are responsible for any driving offences committed by your driver whilst you are supervising
  • Run a red light and you get the points too
  • Talking on your mobile whilst supervising your driver also earns you points on your licence

Can you cope?

  • Supervising a new driver is never easy
  • Road conditions and teaching methods have probably changed since you learned to drive
  • The driving test is not the "pussy cat" you "think" you vaguely remember

Some do's...

  • Do realise that your new driver doesn't have your experience
  • Do read the Highway Code again before you start to supervise
  • Do encourage your new driver to read the Highway Code as well
  • Do expect your driver to make mistakes
  • Do be ready to take evasive action
  • Do stay calm
  • Do anticipate
  • Do be ready for the unexpected
  • Do fit a rear view mirror so that you know what's going on behind
  • Do remember you're helping to help the instructor
  • Do remember that an instructor won't see the driver the same way as you
  • Do remember you may not always agree with the instructor
  • Do clearly display L plates on the front and back of the vehicle
  • Do accept some responsibility for mistakes your driver makes

...and don'ts

  • Don't keep telling your driver. "We're about to crash". They probably think the same when you're driving
  • Don't get angry
  • Don't assume
  • Don't expect your driver to know how to deal with every problem. Do you?
  • Don't blame your driver for a mistake, blame yourself
  • You should have seen the problem FIRST!
  • Don't get caught out. New drivers will take AT LEAST two seconds longer to spot a problem. It's not their fault. It's inexperience!
  • Don't try to "re-write" the driving techniques of your new driver
  • Don't see your driver through "rose coloured glasses"
  • Don't display L plates if you are driving

And remember

  • Whatever you say will be believed by your driver
  • Think carefully before you over criticise another road users action
  • Whatever you say, do or recommend will have a profound effect on your driver!
  • You're helping shape their attitude to driving
  • You carry a burden of responsibility


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