Giv­ing learn­ers vi­tal ex­pe­ri­ence

Middleton Guardian - - WILDLIFE -

GET­TING pri­vate prac­tice while learn­ing to drive plays an im­por­tant role in gain­ing vi­tal ex­pe­ri­ence be­hind the wheel be­fore tak­ing the driv­ing test.

Be­fore you of­fer to take some­one out make sure you have the rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion. This week’s tips give ad­vice to all those will­ing to giv­ing the learner ad­di­tional driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence from IAM Road­S­mart’s head of driv­ing and rid­ing stan­dards, Richard Glad­man.

Firstly let’s get the le­gal bits out of the way - You must be at least 21 years old. You must have held a full driv­ing li­cence for at least three years, your li­cence must be for the same type of ve­hi­cle you are go­ing to su­per­vise the learner in and the ve­hi­cle must dis­play ‘L’ plates:­in­g­lessons-who-can-teachyou

you are the re­spon­si­ble per­son and as such you are deemed to be in con­trol of the car when you are su­per­vis­ing a learner driver, there­fore the same road traf­fic laws ap­ply to you as to the driver, eg. not su­per­vis­ing a learner driver whilst un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol or drugs or us­ing a hand held mo­bile phone.

It’s also your duty as the re­spon­si­ble per­son to en­sure the ve­hi­cle is in a safe and road­wor­thy con­di­tion. A very valu­able ex­er­cise is to show the learner how to carry out checks to en­sure the ve­hi­cle is safe to use on the road – you can get a copy of the driv­ing test ‘show me tell me’ ques­tions here: www.­ment/ pub­li­ca­tions/car-show-metell-me-ve­hi­cle-safe­tyques­tions.

We rec­om­mend fit­ting an ad­di­tional mir­ror to use as a rear view mir­ror from the pas­sen­ger seat: a suc­tion mir­ror often used to view chil­dren in the back is suit­able, widely avail­able and not an ex­pen­sive pur­chase.

Talk to the learner’s driv­ing in­struc­tor reg­u­larly, work­ing out a prac­tice plan can save valu­able time and money. Plan­ning your route and what you are go­ing to cover is worth­while as driv­ing around aim­lessly won’t be the best use of your time or ex­pe­ri­ence. Tak­ing a learner some­where too ad­vanced could also do more harm than good.

Most im­por­tantly keep calm. Yes it’s easy to say, but keep­ing calm re­ally will pay off and save any heated ar­gu­ments with the learner be­hind the wheel.

Keep your in­struc­tions pre­cise and in good time – a learner needs to have time to process the in­for­ma­tion and then plan what to do, say­ing ‘care­fully’ or ‘slowly’ when you mean to say ‘use the brake pedal’ can cause con­fu­sion, words are in­ter­preted dif­fer­ently, not al­ways with the same level of un­der­stand­ing. A use­ful guide to sit­ting with a novice can be found here: www.road­safe­tyscot­land.

Set­ting a good ex­am­ple and ex­plain­ing what you are do­ing when driv­ing can be re­ally help­ful – it gives the learner an in­sight into what you are ob­serv­ing, an­tic­i­pat­ing and plan­ning and gives them time to ask ques­tions with­out be­ing in the driv­ing seat.

Last but not least, re­mem­ber things might have changed since you learnt to drive so when the learner says: “but my driv­ing in­struc­tor says I should do it like this.” Lis­ten and think about it, you can al­ways check with the in­struc­tor later – you might even learn some­thing new.

Richard said: “Re­search proves that a com­bi­na­tion of pro­fes­sional lessons and ex­tra prac­tice builds ex­pe­ri­ence and can give a new driver a firm foun­da­tion for a safe driv­ing ca­reer.

“Driv­ing is a life skill so ap­proach it prop­erly with a good plan and a clear idea of how your miles to­gether fit in with the ap­proved syl­labus.”

Pri­vate prac­tice is im­por­tant to give learner driv­ers vi­tal ex­pe­ri­ence

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