Top tips for teaching people to drive

Top tips for teaching people to drive
Teaching someone how to drive can be daunting, frustrating and challenging – but it’s important to keep calm. These tips include some ideas that every learning instructor should consider when they take someone out on the road for the first time.

1. Speak calmly, and don’t be distracting

If you want someone to do as you ask, assertively ask them to do what needs to be done. Particularly when teaching someone how to drive, resist raising your voice or panicking while you are instructing them.

When you need to talk to the person, ask them to calmly pull the car over to the side of the road and explain what they’re doing wrong and how best to correct it. Remember to give positive reinforcement so the person enjoys the learning experience and keep your eye on what they’re doing, any fidgeting will be distracting.

2. The first drive should be in a wide open space ie. a big, deserted carpark

Create scenarios for the first lessons while the student learns how to steer and break. One way to take a lot of pressure off them is to take them to a big carpark (preferably that’s just one level), when you know it’ll be deserted or almost empty.

This allows them to get comfortable with the car before they actually take it out on the road. It also means less chance of accidents or making a mistake early on – building their confidence quickly.


3. Test-drive on local streets

Before you take someone who is learning to drive on the biggest and busiest roads – read: highways and freeways – get them to become familiar with the car in their local area. Instead, choose a large, open area where they can do little damage to the car.

Also focusing on teaching small things at first such as steering, breaking, using their mirrors and then move onto curb side parking and driving in a little bit of traffic (on a quiet road) and then advance them onto more difficult tasks such as three point turns and reverse parking.

Remember, these lessons should build confidence so they are better drivers on the road.


4. Practise scenarios that may arise

Once the driver is more confident, start practising different scenarios and point out hazards they may not have previously considered – a toddler roaming out on the road, a teenager on a bicycle not looking, another car that’s driving erratically. Also take them to unfamiliar territory, so they can experience what it is like to drive to other areas and at different times (consider taking them through a school zone, so they can practise paying attention to the signs). And remember to take them out in all kinds of weather so they know how to manage all conditions. Try to encourage the person to imagine what it would be like without you in the car.


5. Careful to only transfer good habits

Be careful to only transfer good habits – remember, your way of driving may not be best. Avoid cutting corners when you teach and follow the road rules and guidelines as closely as you can. Try to leave out any agitation or aggressive comments at other cars while teaching someone to drive.

Your purpose is to encourage this person to:

- Drive safely and wear a seatbelt

- Drive to the speed limit

- Be aware of signs and surroundings.


For more information about the best driving instructor in your area, look through the CanadianDrivingLessons directory for a driving school near you.