TO PARENTS AND OTHERS WISHING TO ACCOMPANY LEARNERS
You want to help your learner and giving them more chance to gain experience will be enormously beneficial to them. You DON'T want to frighten yourselves so you must take things very carefully. You are NOT an instructor so things are likely to go VERY WRONG if you do not follow our guidelines below. It's very stressful and families get into big rifts and cause damaging distress to the learners even though you don't mean to. We can't make you a top quality instructor without training but you CAN help enormously if you do the right thing at the right time
The things parents say "But my Dad took me out when I was 17 and it was OK"
Cars were slower, there was MUCH less traffic on the road and far fewer parked cars than we experience today. Now drivers can be dealing with a hazard every 10 seconds and they don't come at you one at a time either so it's MUCH more complicated and stessful than it used to be. There are hardly any "quiet areas" to practise like there used to be
"I didn't have any lessons and I passed fist time"
The test today is much harder and a more comprehensive test of someone's driving skills and ability to cope with all today's traffic situations.
"I don't think I would pass today's test"
Now we're being honest and I don't think anyone WOULD pass today's test without sufficient training. So, if you want to help your learner then that's what you must do, HELP them to improve what they have already been taught. Then we can all work together and you will have the least stress and family rows!
How do I know what that they can do?
Look at their progress guide. You will see items that have been discussed so their knowledge should be good on those items. You will also see what they HAVEN'T done and you should plan your route to avoid those items or go over the item in detail with them first before attempting it together. If they haven't learned it then you must teach it!
Accompanying a learner is dangerous. You MUST plan your lesson very carefully just like your instructor. If you don't think of taking someone out as a lesson then you're not teaching them!Like your instructor, you must not ASSUME the learner knows ANYTHING! You must discuss each aspect of their drive and make sure they understand WHAT they are about to do. If something goes wrong then PULL IN to discuss complicated items. Demonstrate what you mean and go somewhere where they can practise it.Talk positively. "If you ease your clutch up slower through the bite then your gearchanges will be smoother" Tell them what they need to do and not "That was wrong!" "What do you think you're doing?"
How can I best help?
If you haven't been doing so already then SET A GOOD EXAMPLE IN YOUR DRIVING.
Demonstrate that you CAN drive keeping to the speed limits.
Where do you think their idea of driving has been coming from all these years?
Discuss what you are doing and why as you drive around yourself. Learners are often astonished how much thinking there is involved in safe driving. They didn't know because you haven't been telling them! Now's your chance.
Discuss ALL matters on the Highway Code.
(An ideal opportunity to have a look through the Highway Code yourself. It's changed a lot and so have the rules since you last looked)
PLAN YOUR SESSIONS
Just "Driving down to the shops and back" is not going to be anywhere near as beneficial as going out with a plan in mind.
Like your instructor, you MUST TEACH and not just sit alongside the learner assuming they know everything and then shout at them when things go wrong. Unfortunately this is way it usually happens.
The purpose of accompanying a learner must be to help the learner gain experience of items they can do already do. If they cannot already do an item then you must plan to TEACH them how to do it otherwise you are a very dangerous combination and an accident just waiting to happen.
We assume that your intentions are to give the learner confidence and to reduce the number of professional lessons required. An accident in their own car will do irreparable damage to any learner's confidence and probably cost much more than any professional lessons might do so beware!
WHEN TO DO IT
By all means, before they attempt anything on a normal road, help the learner get used to the feel of a vehicle in a large open space. You can do a lot. Reverse into a parking space, steering practise. Parking next to a kerb if there is one. Parking in an exact place. Clutch control etc.
All that is fine but then LEAVE IT ALONE until the learner has been taught how to do and can do all types of junctions and roundabouts on their own.
By then the learner will have developed reasonable skills and will have some road experience in dealing with other drivers. They will also have had chance to put their theory into practise safely.
WORK WITH YOUR INSTRUCTOR
Work with your instructor and inform them of your intentions to go out in your own car.
Obtain an up to date lesson report from your instructor so you can see where the learner's problems lie. If dual controls have been used (marked with an XD) then obviously the learner is not safe in that subject (if dual controls have been used at all then the learner is not safe to drive on their own). Any "instructor" must plan ahead and try to avoid situations that are beyond the capabilities of the learner.
< font="" color="#3300ff">EMERGENCY STOPS
As you could need one at any time then YOU MUST practise these with your learner straightaway. This seems obvious but so few people actually do. Your life and everyone else's life may depend on your driver being able to stop quickly. Don't just assume they will know what to do. Go through it with them. Practise it.
This was someone "learning to drive" in their own car!
HOW TO DO IT
First of all, it's important to appreciate that when learning in a school car with dual controls, the learner can attempt, with safety and confidence, items that would be unsafe to do in a vehicle WITHOUT dual controls. They can be given a much longer rein to attempt things on their own.
When you go in a car for the first time WITHOUT DUAL CONTROLS then you must take a VERY BIG backward step and follow an appreciable distance behind what is being attempted in the driving school car.
After the open space then YOU drive to a very easy area practise area (probably where their instructor took them on their first lessons) and take things very easy.
Stop a lot as it's very stressful for the learner (and you too!) and give the learner chance to think and recover from each step before moving on again. Discuss problems and demonstrate how to do things before attempting them again. The learner must always be fully aware of what they are trying to do.
Save this page and print it out. It could save your life!