"Mirror, signal, manoeuvre" - supporting driving lessons
So, you're in the passenger seat, your additional rear-view mirror firmly suctioned to the windscreen, and ready to issue those three little repetitive words that is the learner driver's mantra. What next? Kevin Clinton, Head of Road Safety for RoSPA, has constructed a 10 step guide for safe tuition:
- Always give the learner plenty of warning when giving directions or instructions. Instructors will generally tell the learner that they should go straight on unless told otherwise, and you should adopt the same system
- If you take a wrong turn, suggest ways back to the route which you had planned, but don't suggest sudden changes of direction that could panic an inexperienced driver
- Encourage positive attitudes to speed limits, and remind the learner to check their speedometer regularly so they get into the habit of checking their speed. Similarly, ask the learner what the speed limit is to encourage them to make frequent observations
- Encourage the learner to use their mirrors regularly and to develop the habit of mirrors, signal, manoeuvre
- Learners are less experienced and not used to managing the differing stresses of driving in different situations. Use your experience to look out for hazards on the road ahead and help the learner, for example, by pointing out road signs that give the information about the road ahead
- Ask questions to find out what the learner is 'seeing' on the road ahead, and if they can spot something that will turn into a hazard
- Do not contradict the driving techniques taught by instructors, even if you disagree with them. Make a note and ask the instructor for the reasoning behind it at a later date
- Always stay calm and positive. One of the worst things you can do is to shout (except in a genuine emergency) or be sarcastic, as this will only cause stress and reduce the learner's confidence
- If the learner does something dangerous during the drive, find somewhere safe to stop and discuss what happened - calmly!
- Offer advice and tips, and praise where it's due. One of the best training methods is to offer praise, then constructive criticism, and then praise again. This is known as the 'kiss-kick-kiss' method of giving learner drivers the feedback they need.
Above all, be patient.