Many parents sent their Learner drivers to us after damage had been done to the family car. We strongly recommend you start with a professional instructor, where available. For those who have the sole responsibility of teaching their learner or give extra practice, here are some principles to follow. They have been compiled after speaking to hundreds of learners, who had driving practice with their parents.
The TEN COMMANDMENTS
when driving with a Learner
- Use a vehicle that is mechanically sound and roadworthy
It is very distracting otherwise. Plus you are giving a bad example to your learner.
- Learner must wear proper footwear
Thongs, high-heels, platform shoes or driving barefoot is dangerous and distracting. Shoes with thick soles make it harder to feel the accelerator.
- Do not start (or finish) the first lesson in your driveway or on a public road
Drive the student to a large, empty space to commence, so you both can concentrate on the mechanics, before having to worry about steering, observation etc.
- Don’t expect too much on the first drive
One teenager may be totally different to a brother or sister. It is safest to stay in first gear in a carpark, or open space, until the brake, accelerator and steering are reasonably under control.
- Don’t shout or criticize
Concentrate on one aspect at a time. Give praise when a task has been properly learned and demonstrated.
- Explain before starting out
“If I say stop, it means clutch down and press the brake” (or just “brake” in a car with auto transmission). It is best to also explain that unless you give other directions, it means go straight ahead. Keep your hand discreetly near the handbrake. Ensure it works.
- Teach concepts according to the skill level of the new driver
Don’t be too optimistic about the ability to manage heavy traffic at an early stage. Avoid risks.
- Give early directions
e.g. “Not at this street, but at the one after, turn left. “ Use landmarks e.g. “See the green fence? Turn left at the street after that.”
- Buy a stick-on mirror (available in auto-accessories shops)
Very useful to see traffic behind and places you a step ahead of the learner. It helps to solve problems before they arise!
- Everything can and has to be taught
Even simple concepts (e.g. press accelerator down harder going uphill) must not be taken for granted. Our Low-Risk Driving workbook is a detailed guide on what to teach a learner driver.
Learning to drive must not be a nightmare. Whilst a 16-year-olds often avoid to be seen with a parent, when it comes to driving practice, they are always willing to go out. Make it an enjoyable time for both of you.