Ways Parents Can Ensure They Give The Best Driving Lesson Possible
For many parents, when the time comes for their children to learn to drive it's a moment of proudness that's often mixed with a certain level of anxiety. Especially in the early stages of learning to drive, lessons can be a stressful time for everyone involved. To help ensure the time their kids spend behind the wheel is as constructive and relaxed as possible, there are some basic rules anyone supervising a learner driver should remember, especially parents.
Start Things Simple
Just as infants need to learn to crawl before they can walk, so too should parents ensure their teenagers can master the basics before tackling more complex manoeuvres. The first few lessons should be on quiet neighbourhood streets and be focused on stopping and starting the vehicle, pulling over the kerb and maintaining road position. In manual vehicles, engaging the clutch and accelerator for smooth starts should be one of the first things learners master. Despite how much you think your kids can handle it, never try to take a 'sink or swim' approach or throw someone in the proverbial 'deep end,' as this can be both dangerous and affect confidence in future lessons.
Don't Cram Too Much In One Lesson
During the beginning stages of learning to drive, aim to keep lessons at 30 minutes or less. It's better to have lessons more frequently that trying to cram too much into one lesson, which can result in the early part of the lesson being forgotten. Learning to drive is also mentally draining and lessons that go too long quickly become less effective.
Stay Calm and Avoid Criticising
As a parent, your emotions and feelings about how things are progressing need to be explained delicately and carefully. No matter how nervous you may feel, it's important to try and stay calm. Nerves or obvious anxiousness add tension to the lesson and will also work against the learner, making them feel discouraged and causing further mistakes or oversights. If you do need to criticise, due it in a constructive way that highlights the issue, while also providing feedback about what is being done well. Never continue a lesson if an argument has occurred or start a lesson if you're feeling tired or emotional.
Talk About Each Lesson Before, During and After
Before each new lesson, talk with your teenager about what was learned last time, probing for answers and also explaining what will be learned that lesson. During the new lesson, confirm with the learner what they are going to do before starting the task, and switch seats to demonstrate the task if necessary. At the end of the lesson, give feedback about areas that need work for future lessons and what was done well. Only progress to more difficult tasks in future once learners feel confident with the current task.
Finally, to get the most out of the lesson it's always useful for parents to plan lessons in advance, including the route and the tasks or manoeuvres to be attempted. Parents should avoid conducting lessons on the same route or driving in the same conditions each time to give the learner exposure to as many different scenarios and conditions as possible.
Parents may also want to consider professional driving lessons offered by a driving school like Roadwise Driver Training as the best place to start for young drivers. This can equip learners with the basics of driving in a safe and supportive environment and allow parents to take the supervising reins once confidence and a baseline skillset has been built.