The focus for our blogs over the coming weeks is how to best work with your child to get their licence and keep them, and you, safe in the process.
So your beautiful baby is about to turn 16 and is keen to start driving. What can you do to make sure that they get the best start on driving?
Here are 5 tips from a professional trainer.
1. Have your child read the road users handbook
In the modern day most young people sit their driver knowledge test without having read the road users handbook. The driver knowledge questions are available as a mobile app from Service NSW for you to practice with. This serves a great purpose of getting you use to the layout of the questions and can even help you learn some of the road rules. It is not a complete knowledge base.
By reading the road users handbook most of the road rules are covered, it might be a good idea for you as a parent to have a read too!
2. Make sure that your learner knows all the vehicle controls before getting on the road
It is important for a learner to be comfortable with the controls of the vehicle before getting out on the road. The last thing you want is to be trying to explain to someone how to use the wipers during a sudden downpour! They can start learning the controls and switch work before they have a licence. Reading the vehicle user manual and spending some time in the garage with you testing their knowledge is a great way to start. Try to have your soon to be learner sit up front and watch what you are doing with the controls and your interaction with traffic. This will help to build muscle memory and understanding.
3. Don’t do too much too soon
During the early stages of actual driving everything is new. The feel of the accelerator and brakes (and even which is which) is a bit trial and error. Stay well away from traffic in the early stages of driving and try to get in lots of short sessions close together. It is exhausting when nothing is muscle memory. Be prepared for the accelerator to be used in place of the brake and if you don’t have access to an emergency brake from the left hand side of the vehicle then be very cautious about getting into difficult situations.
4. Remember that what is obvious to you is not to them
It is very difficult as an experienced driver to identify how and why you do what you do. Simple things like telling a learner to pivot their heel on the floor when operating the accelerator and brake makes a massive difference, but might not be obvious at first. The way we interact with traffic is another area that looks like magic to learners but is very difficult to put into words for the experienced driver.
5. Get help!
The early stages of driving are by far the most important. Giving your child some time with a professional trainer to kick things off is going to instil the correct techniques and should build confidence quickly. It is much easier to practice the correct techniques for 120 hours than to undo 120 hours of bad habits for the test. Consider getting some driving lessons yourself before embarking on your supervision career. Your driver trainer will be happy to take you out for some lessons and work with you on any bad habits. Remember that your driver trainer is there to work with you. They will be happy to give feedback and address any concerns that you have.
The Safer Drivers Course is designed for learner drivers wanting to learn more about becoming a safe driver. The course will help you gain a deeper understanding about what it takes to be a safe solo driver.
Through both in-class activities and on-road coaching, the Safer Drivers Course will help you to be safe long after the driving test. The course is fun, engaging and informative.