Learning to drive
A guide for family and friends

Practice makes perfect, so when your driving instructor thinks you are ready, why not get more practice with family or a friend.

Note:- Learners driving a car must hold a valid provisional licence. They must be supervised by someone at least 21 years old who holds a full licence and has held one for at least three years.

You will need insurance to drive a vehicle. Car insurance, much like navel fluff, is dull but unavoidable.
Don't be a 'blithering idiot', don't leave home without it.
More information on car insurance.

With a Collingwood Learner Driver Insurance policy you can drive almost any car (subject to eligibility), when you need it from 7 days - 24 weeks durations (Initial policy must be a minimum of 28 days. 7 day policy available for additional purchases).
Drive your parents, grandparents, friends or relatives car without any risk to their insurance. Just take out a policy for each vehicle when you need it. More Information

Below are some tips and hints for family and friends helping a person to learn to drive.

A wise parent or friend will seek the help of reliable professionals in preparing a person for the complex world of the car and traffic. It's not enough for today's family/friends to learn as their parents did. The driving world they enter is far too intense to tackle without serious preparation.

Learning to drive a car safely and efficiently in modern traffic involves much more than training to pass a government road test and get a license. However, this is a necessary first stage. Government driver examiners want to ensure that the new driver has adequate control over the vehicle, knows the rules of the road and the correct procedures for managing a vehicle in traffic, and can make safe decisions.

The professional instructor is skilled in teaching these basics. Your role as parent/co-driver is to reinforce what the instructor teaches and provide practice time.

Attitude determines how knowledge and skills will be used. It determines whether a driver will be cooperative or competitive in traffic. So your biggest contribution to your family/friends safety and effectiveness behind the wheel will be your example. Patience, courtesy, and a willingness to improve will be your best assets.

Now is the time to review your own driving habits and offer your family/friend the example of courtesy and consideration for other road users. This may do more than anything else to ensure your family/friend driving safety.

Random driving around during practice sessions can be dangerous.
It's all too easy for the novice driver to get into trouble, particularly in the early stages.
Before getting into traffic be sure that your family/friend has good coordination with hands and feet. Until the novice is sure of the pedals, the danger of hitting the wrong pedal in a panic situation is always present.

It's important to plan practice sessions. Decide where to go and what you are going to do before setting out. Take some care in selecting a suitable area. A large deserted car park is ideal for the initial sessions because it allows the beginner to concentrate fully on the feel of the controls and the response of the car.
For the initial road sessions find the quietest roads possible. Your family/friend will learn the correct road and traffic procedures from the professional instructor. Your job will be to provide good feedback while he practices these procedures.
Accurate lane driving and positioning for turns, good signal timing, and good road sense are the basic ingredients for passing the government road test. These will be learned more effectively by driving around the block with somebody who provides good feedback than by hours of random driving on highway or streets. On the other hand, a co-driver who allows the novice driver to get away with faults or who provides poor feedback may hold back the learning process considerably.

Practice hints

Don't carry passengers. There is no law to stop you having a passenger in the back of the car.
It is not normally a good idea to carry extra passengers, because it can affect your concentration. If you do then sit them where they will not restrict your view in the mirror.

Stay alert. Some beginners may give the impression of being confident and in control but may be totally unprepared to deal with any sudden change in conditions and very reliant on you, the co-driver, for guidance and even assistance in control. Anticipate problems and always be ready to react.

Communicate clearly. Give directions well in advance and try to always use the same terms (don't say accelerator one time and gas pedal the next, for example).

Don't hit the beginner with everything at once. A simple right turn, for example, involves several steps—checking mirrors, signaling, checking blind areas, braking, positioning, checking for traffic before the turn and steering. To expect a beginner to follow all of these correctly during the early sessions is asking too much.

Don't get excited during practice sessions. This communicates itself quickly to the driver and can make performance difficult.

Don't overload. A big part of being an instructor or co-driver is reminding the driver to check traffic and to signal and to bring attention to potential hazards. But once again, remember that everything you say is also a distraction for the driver. Be sparing in your comments and, above all, try to avoid letting the beginner get into situations he or she can't handle.

Stop and discuss. When your family/friend makes a mistake, he or she may not be clear as to what went wrong. Explaining and discussing while on the move is not very effective. The beginner is too busy driving! Stop as soon as you can, while the mistake is still fresh in the memory, and sort out the problem. Don't jump on every mistake, however, and make a big thing of it. This will affect the beginner's confidence and concentration on the driving task.

Don't clash with what the professional driving instructor teaches. If your teen is doing something that you think is incorrect and maintains that the driving instructor teaches this way—talk to the driving instructor. Student drivers often wrongly interpret their instructor's directions.

Learning to drive must not be a nightmare. Whilst a 17-year-old often avoids to be seen with a parent, when it comes to driving, they are always willing to go out. Make it an enjoyable time for both of you.

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