We all remember the first time we drove a car and how nerve-racking it was. Now take that feeling and multiply it by 100 and that’s usually how the person teaching you feels, especially if they aren’t trained as a driving instructor. Even if you’re not a professional teacher, you will have information and skills you can impart on the teen you’re teaching to drive. With a little bit of guidance and a few handy tips, you will be on the way to helping your student to get out on the roads and gain the independence that comes with having a driver's license.
Brush up on the road rules yourself
No matter if you’re a parent, older sibling, a friend or relative you may benefit from looking on the appropriate website to acquire reference material for you and the teen you’re teaching. As experienced drivers, over time you can pick up or develop unhealthy driving habits that would be detrimental to pass onto a learner. Make sure you have a good grasp on the actual road rules so you can give your teen the best chance at passing their driving test.
Familiarise the learner with the vehicle
Before you even get in the car for the first lesson, make sure the learner knows the fundamentals of the vehicle they will be driving. It might sound a little unnecessary but in a bid to be thorough, give an overview of things like steering wheel, pedals, levers to open the bonnet, mirrors, gear stick, indicator, lights and windscreen wipers.
Show your student where to locate the essential parts of the engine that are in plain sight like the battery, radiator, oil tank, etc. This will give them an understanding of the parts that may need attention at some point when they own their own car. You will also need to show them how to access the fuel tank so they can learn how to put petrol in the car. Really get back to basics and make sure they feel comfortable to ask any questions about what parts do what. This kind of overview should give your teen a basic understanding of the things they need to know for different driving situations.
Ease into it
Remember, everyone has to learn how to walk before they run, so it is best to take it slow. Start off in the backstreets of a familiar area where there is little or no vehicular traffic around on the roads. An empty car park, vacant lot or even better, some land out of the hustle and bustle of the city. Learning control of the steering, the pedals, and accelerating/braking will be the most important to start with. Making sure a smooth transition from stationary to moving and coming to a smooth stop without abrupt braking is imperative for moving onto driving on a road. Once this has been mastered, moving onto a quiet street to get a grasp on road position is next. After these basic elements of driving a car have been mastered and your teen is feeling more confident, then you can move onto a busier street with more cars and pedestrians.
Encourage good driving habits
Being a good driver means being committed to your practise and building good habits while you are learning. Things like checking your wing and rear view mirrors regularly to ensure driving position is optimal and necessary in order to help familiarise yourself with the cars and pedestrians around. Monitoring traffic approaching the rear of the vehicle is also absolutely essential. Driving with both hands on the wheel at all times (unless changing gears, of course) is something that learner drivers must adhere to in order to stay safe on the road. Any distractions like mobile phones, food, drink or changing radio stations should be absolutely discouraged. Another habit that is often passed down from teacher to student is being lazy with using the indicator. This is something that will automatically have your teen fail their driving test later on.
Road sign knowledge is imperative
For your teen to have been awarded their learners permit, they will have had to do a basic test including understanding what road signs mean. This however, doesn’t mean that they will always remember what the signs mean. It’s good practice to point out the various signs while out driving and make sure the student understands exactly what they mean. Signs indicating speed limit, stopping, pedestrian crossing, one way and keep left are just a few you will encounter on a driving lesson around a suburban area. When your teen knows the rules, this will avoid the possibility of them violating the road rules and incurring fines.
Last but not least, be patient with your teen, stay as calm as possible and alway use constructive criticism. This will build a bond of trust between you and the learner and make for a much better environment for teaching them to drive. The process of learning or teaching someone to drive is not easy, but with feedback this will help to correct any mistakes.
Teaching someone to drive? If there is anything we didn’t cover or you would like to know more about the perfect first car, get in touch today. You can contact us or visit our Phil Gilbert Showroom.