6 Easy Ways to Make Your Driving Lessons More Enjoyable

6 EASY WAYS TO MAKE YOUR DRIVING LESSONS MORE ENJOYABLE

If you’re a driving instructor, you might be aware that the industry is changing. Some of the more traditional ways of teaching driving lessons are going out of fashion as new technologies and approaches emerge.

In this article, I’ll go over some new trends in driving instruction so that you can take advantage of them.

Real world driving conditions

When you are teaching someone how to drive, then it will make them a better driver when they are able to face more real world driving conditions.

Teaching driving lessons now, you need to prepare pupils for an increase in independent driving in the test, as this has increased, which could include following sat-nav instructions.

To make lessons more enjoyable, you could just instruct the learner driver to take you to a certain location, and see how they do.

Practicing parking

There are some traditional ‘moves’ that driving lessons have had to teach previously, such as reversing around a corner or a three-point turn.

These have now been replaced in the test, by learning to enter and leave a parking bay. Although they can be points to cover in lessons, they are no longer the points to look at in the test.

Motorway driving

Previously, learning to drive on a motorway was something someone would need to learn after passing their test, or just going out and trying it themselves, once their driving test is passed.

Since 2018, those learning to drive are now eligible to drive on motorways, as long as they are in a dual-controlled car, with a driving instructor. 

Drive in the dark

Being a driving instructor means that you have complete flexibility as to when you work. If you want to help your learner drivers improve and make lessons more fun, then driving in the dark can be a good idea.

This is because drivers who don’t have much experience of driving in the dark are much more likely to get involved in a collision in the dark.

This may not be possible, especially in the summer months, but it is a good idea when you can.

Out on country roads

It can be hard to drive out on country roads sometimes, depending where you are based. However, it can be an important lesson for learner drivers, as well as being enjoyable.

Often country roads have a national speed limit, even though some of them can be single track roads.

Teaching about matching speeds to conditions and what you can see makes a difference on country roads.

Mechanics of the vehicle

An enjoyable aspect of learning to drive is learning all about the car that you are driving.

As an instructor, it makes a difference if you are teaching your learner drivers about the mechanics of the car during their driving lessons.

Knowing how to check how much wiper fluid is in the car or how to check the oil, in a practical way, will help as they pass and then go out to drive on their own.

 

What are some good tips before taking my driving test?

What are some good tips before taking my driving test?

The driving test is what you’ve been working towards. Regardless of how many driving lessons you’ve had or how many theory test attempts, you’re at the final stretch. Your driving test is the opportunity to show what you’ve learned, and you’ll be assessed on a series of tasks set by the examiner.

You won’t know what these are until you do the test, which can be nerve-racking.

Here are some useful tips for you that you might find useful when it comes to preparing for your driving test.

Learn To Drive In A Variety Of Conditions

Whenever you have a driving lesson, neither you nor your instructor can control the weather. If you’ve had mainly dry days where your lesson has landed, then it’s worth driving on a wet day.

Try and book in a last-minute slot were possible on a day where it’s raining. The more weather conditions you drive in, the better prepared you’ll be on the test. So whether your driving test is in the rain or on a dry day, you won’t feel put off by it.

Have A Lesson Beforehand

In order to relieve any nerves, it’s good to have a driving lesson before the test. Ideally, you want this to be on the same day, if possible. That way, you have a chance to relax into the driving and go over anything you’re unsure of. Some can take their driving instructors along with them, but that’s up to you.

Make sure you go over all the relevant maneuvers that are common in tests. Your driving instructor should know these and will give you any last-minute tips too.

Arrive Early

Arriving early is better than arriving late. And when it comes to your test, you don’t want anything getting in the way. Even arriving on time can mean you don’t have a moment to prepare yourself. Getting there early enough can give you time to relax, think everything through, and be ready.

It can be surprising what a bit of alone time to reflect can do for you in preparation for the exam.

Ask Your Examiner To Repeat When Needed

The atmosphere of a test can feel very nerve-racking. It’s important that you don’t let that be something that gets to you. As you go through your test, if there’s anything you misheard, ask it to be repeated.

Don’t just carry on as normal or attempting to do something that you thought was needed. Always clarify anything that your examiner says and repeat the task out load so that it sinks in.

Don’t feel awkward or embarrassed, it could be the difference between you passing and failing.

Remember To Breathe

As mentioned already, take your time and remember to breathe. It can be stressful enough, and when you’re stressed, you don’t breathe properly. We get shortness of breathe when, in fact, we want deep breathing. This can help make things clearer and less chaotic.

There are lots of different breathing techniques to try out. It’s worth doing them in your driving lessons early on or at any time where you feel nervous. There’s likely to be something that can help you.

The examiner will be sure to tell you to relax because they want you to do your best. Take their advice, take a deep breath, and trust yourself to succeed.

Never Assume You’ve Failed

There are occasions where a learner driver has thought they’ve failed when they haven’t. In fact, it could be that they failed on something that wasn’t recognised by yourself.

Never assume that you’ve failed, even if you know you did something wrong.

The distinction between majors and minors can be so discreet that you should always stay positive.

Continue to do as you are told, and don’t keep your eye off the ball until you’ve finished. As much as it can feel like you’ve failed, that might not be the case.

Be Sure To Listen For Tips If You Failed

At the end of the test, it can be hard to stay attentive when you’re told that you’ve failed. However, the feedback that an examiner gives can be crucial for your next test.

Take in all the information, and be sure to relay this to the instructor if they’re not there. If they are, they’ll likely to use the information to help you pass next time around.

Driving tests are certainly a nerve-racking experience, but it’s important to keep a level head.

Get plenty of rest the night before, arrive early, and be sure to breathe properly during the test.

Take your time and be attentive throughout!

Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Driving Instructor

Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Driving Instructor

Learning to drive can be a daunting experience, but your driving instructor is there to provide as much help and information as possible. It’s your right to ask questions of your instructor, and you should in order to ensure you have all the details you need to both feel confident about your driving and to make swift progress through your lessons.

So, here are the top ten questions you should ask your driving instructor, as well as a brief explanation of why.

What is covered in the first lesson?

Your first lesson is your initial foray into driving, ask your instructor to give you a brief overview of what they will do with you. This may include making sure you’re familiar with the vehicle, its controls, as well as a short route on some roads that are familiar to you.

What is the average number of lessons it takes to pass?

There is no guarantee about how long it will take you to pass, but knowing the rough figure of how many lessons it takes your instructor to get a student a passing grade will allow you to plan your budget and time accordingly. It will give you a general baseline to work with.

Does your vehicle have dual controls?

Dual controls are a second brake and clutch pedal situated in the passenger foot-well, that allow your instructor to stop the vehicle at any moment. This can help give you a confidence boost, knowing your instructor has always got a way to stop while you’re still learning the vehicle.

Can you accommodate my special requirements?

If you have any particular medical conditions or specific considerations you need to have taken into account in the way you learn, make sure you ask in advance. Make it clear to your instructor exactly what you need from them, and see if they will be able to accommodate those needs.

Will I have every lesson in the same car?

Independent driving instructors often have just one car, but driving schools may have a fleet of vehicles instructors use. You will get used to driving a particular vehicle over the course of your lessons, and using the same one will prevent you having to get used to a new car each time on top of your learning.

Driving Lesson Gift Vouchers
Driving Lesson Gift Vouchers

Am I going to learn with a Sat Nav?

It’s now a part of the driving test, as of time of writing, that you drive for 20 minutes unaccompanied using the guidance of a Sat Nav. Your examiner will program a route and you will be expected to follow it. Ask your instructor if they will help you train for this skill as a part of your lessons.

Can you provide a mock test?

A mock test can allow you to get used to the form of the driving test, taking specific advice without the safety net of being able to retry if you get it wrong. This will also give your instructor the ability to highlight key areas where you need to focus on improvement, to give you the best chance of passing.

What are your lesson rates?

Be sure you’re familiar with the lesson rates, so you can budget accordingly. Many instructors offer bulk discounts if you purchase a certain amount of lessons at once. Ask your driving instructor what they can do for you to make learning to drive as affordable as possible – whether it be bulk buy or loyalty discounts.

Are you DVSA approved?

An essential question – the DVSA (Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency) is the Government body that assesses the suitability of driving instructors, as well as MOT testers. You must make sure you only get in a vehicle with an instructor that has proper and current DVSA accreditation that they can produce on demand.

Will I have the same instructor for each lesson?

Just like the car, you will get used to your instructor more and more as you learn. If you have to meet someone new every time, there’s a risk you might not “gel” in the way that’s required for you to comfortably learn. Make sure you can book the same instructor to provide each of your driving lessons.

Remembering to take the initiative

Driving is arguably an essential skill for many people, so it’s important you learn it with the right person for you. You are under absolutely no requirement to take your lessons with an instructor or a driving school that is not happy to answer your questions and put your mind at ease.

Ask these questions while you’re researching the best local driving instructor for you. If they cannot communicate in a timely and professional manner before your lessons, they will not be able to during them either. Be as discerning as you can, and only book your driving lessons with an Essex driving school or instructor that makes you feel comfortable.

10 Quick Tips About Driving Lessons

Book the right lesson times.

Try to book your lessons at a time when you know you will feel at your most alert and awake. This means you will be at your most receptive to learning. If you’re an early-bird, book a morning lesson. If you’re not a morning person, then try to book a lesson for later in the day. Try to book your test for a time that suits you in this way too.  

Find the right instructor.

It’s important to have an instructor that you can work with. You’ll be spending a lot of time with them and the right instructor greatly increases your chances of passing your driving test. If you don’t find an instructor suits you, don’t be afraid to switch to another until you find one that you do get along with and will adapt your style of learning to help you. 

Start preparing for your theory test early.

It might seem early, but as soon as you book lessons, start studying for your theory test. There’s a lot to learn, and the knowledge will also help you to understand your practical driving more too and make safer decisions. You can take mock tests online to help you prepare effectively and to feel much more confident when you’re driving for real. It’s never too early to start preparing for your theory test. 

Check a map of the test area.

You won’t be able to find any maps of exact routes, but you can predict the roads you’re likely to be asked to drive on. Your instructor will take you out in the likely test area, and you can safely bet you will be asked to navigate challenges like roundabouts, junctions, and crossroads. Look for these features on a map to see where you might be asked to drive during your test. 

Check your medication.

If you take any medications, such as antihistamines for hayfever, double-check the potential side effects. Some medications can cause drowsiness, which is obviously not safe for driving. Check the advice on the package about driving, or ask your doctor for advice if you aren’t sure if you will be safe. They may be able to suggest an alternative medication option that is safe to take before you drive. 

Be realistic with your learning goals.

Learning to drive takes time and dedication. You aren’t going to pick it up all in one go. Try to break your learning time up into smaller, bite-size chunks. Focus on learning new skills in every lesson, instead of trying to learn everything all at once. You’ll build your driving knowledge in a safe and solid way that will help you in the rest of your driving life. 

Learn for life, not the test.

New drivers tend to only focus on their driving test and not worry about driving after the test. Driving lessons are not just to learn to pass your test, they are meant to teach you to drive safely for the rest of your life. Concentrate on learning to drive in a way that will be safe forever, and the skills to pass your test will come naturally along with that. 

Wear the right clothes.

It’s important to be comfortable while driving, especially as lessons can be stressful. Wear clothing that isn’t too restrictive and allow for easy movement. Don’t wear anything hot or heavy. Footwear makes a lot of difference too. Avoid high heels, thick soles, or heavy footwear. Choose flat, thin-soled shoes so you can feel the car respond to what you’re doing. The right shoes really help with better, safer driving. 

Try to stay calm.

Nerves are a common cause of bad driving lessons and failed driving tests. Try to stay as calm as you can when you drive. To stay calm, make sure you get enough sleep the night before driving, stay properly hydrated, and try to practice calming methods like deep breathing exercises. Staying calm means you will be better able to concentrate and make much safer driving decisions, with fewer silly mistakes.  

Stay positive.

People learn more effectively when they are happy. Try to stay positive about your driving experience, as this can really help you to learn more effectively. Make changes to your patterns of thinking so you can focus on positive things rather than negative ones. Focus on the parts of driving that you love, whether that’s the freedom of driving or the satisfaction of mastering a new skill. Don’t get hung up on mistakes. Even experienced drivers make mistakes, and the point of your lessons is to learn how to safely respond to them. 

5 Steps To Make Sure You Pass Your Driving Test

If you are nervous the night before your driving test, then you’re probably not yet ready to get your driver’s licence. The number one obstacle to passing the test is the lack of adequate preparation.

To gain the confidence required, it’s mandatory to undertake several hours of intensive lessons behind the wheel and study relevant books.

So, what is the secret to passing the test? Here are the steps to follow.

1. Anticipate What Might Happen Next And Be Prepared

The task of driving a car is unpredictable since you never know what is waiting for you around the next corner, which is why driving tests are also unpredictable.

But there are several things that you should anticipate, for example, pedestrians wanting to cross the road, so be on the lookout for traffic lights and zebra crossings.

Be aware and observant because someone’s life might depend on your driving skills. Always think about your next move in case another car comes out of nowhere and you need to brake suddenly.

2. If You Make A Mistake, Don’t Assume You’ve Already Failed The Test

It’s normal to make mistakes during the test, for example, stalling the car when pulling over. Don’t start to over-think or worry.

If you continue the test while thinking about the mistake you made, chances are that you will make even more serious mistakes.

The examiner sees the situation differently, particularly if you stalled the car but restarted it without causing any danger to other road users.

If you make a mistake, forget about it and concentrate on driving the vehicle safely for the remainder of the test period.

Gift Vouchers Banner
Gift Vouchers For Driving Lessons in Essex

3. Focus On The Road, Not On What The Examiner Is Writing

During the test, the examiner will have a test sheet that they will be writing on occasionally.

Don’t be tempted to peek on the sheet as this could easily distract you from the main task at hand which is driving. The examiner does not always write negative things, so stay positive and focussed.

When there is not much going on, the examiner might start a conversation with you to help you relax. Be courteous but don’t shift your focus from the test.

Although it can be hard to concentrate when the weather is bad or there are other ongoing distractions, make sure your mind does not wander off.

4. Don’t Assume The Road Rules

For example, don’t assume that you’re still on a road with a speed limit of 40kmph without checking for speed limit signs.

Also, keep in mind that you should maintain the left-hand lane if you want to go straight in a roundabout. Check all markings and road signs when driving because if you fail to do so and something unfortunate happens, you’ll fail the driving test.

5. Have a good night’s rest the day before the test

The importance of having adequate rest cannot be overemphasised since it’s a well-known fact that the right amount of sleep will enable you to function at your best. If you stay up till late, you’ll wake up feeling tired and this will consequently affect your concentration levels thus putting you at a disadvantage.

According to a recent report, if you don’t sleep for the recommended eight hours, you double the risk of getting involved in an accident the following day.

If you make a series of dangerous or serious mistakes, you’re probably not ready for the test. Consider getting more practice and delaying the test. However, you can go ahead and book the test if you feel you’re ready. These tips will help you to pass and acquire a driver’s licence.

Calls for Driving Lessons to Be Videoed After ADI Misconduct Claims Triple

ADI DashCam

Research by a leading newspaper has revealed that the number of claims of sexual harassment levelled at driving instructors by their students has tripled in just four years.

In a recent Sunday Telegraph article, findings suggested that reported conduct breaches included unnecessary physical contact, the use of sexualised language and inappropriate text messaging. The worrying findings have meant that some instructors are calling for in-vehicle video recording to be made mandatory in order to protect both learner drivers and ADIs alike.

Between April 2018 and March 2019, over 240 complaints of sexual harassment were brought to the attention of the Drive and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). This represents a significant increase in just a few short years. In comparison, just 75 reports were made between 2015-2016. However, that number has since been on the rise, with 109 reports being made in 2016-2017, and 150 in 2017-2018.

 

Action taken

Following complaints last year, the DVSA took action against several instructors. Of these:

• 10 were banned from instructing.
• 23 were issued with warnings.

A further 130 cases are still under investigation.

 

Calls for regulation

Some instructors and students feel that the DVSA isn’t doing enough to help combat inappropriate behaviour, with many calling for measures to be introduced to help reverse the trend. Conservative MP Richard Graham has called for the following legislative measures to implemented:

• Mandatory recording of lessons – this would involve the fitting of all learner vehicles with in-car cameras, to protect both parties and to provide evidence of any inappropriateness.

• Banning instructor/student relationships – this would involve instructors to be classified in the same way as teachers in other educational settings, meaning that any sexual relationship between a student and instructor would become a criminal offence. At present, the DVSA already takes a stance that any form of intimate relationship between students and instructors is “unprofessional”, however there are currently no laws against this.

 

Safeguarding

Carly Brookfield, the CEO of the Driving Instructors Association, has also called for mandatory safeguarding training to be issued to instructors. In a recent statement, Brookfield highlighted how this would help instructors to educate learner drivers without “compromising” on professionalism.

 

Guidelines

Learners might be unaware of what instructors are allowed to legally do during a lesson. According to the DVSA, instructors should avoid the following:

• Inappropriate physical touching/contact.
• Inappropriate language.
• Discussion of personal relationships.
• The creation of circumstances which could be perceived to be inappropriate.

 

In perspective

While the news of a rise in complaints against instructors is concerning, it is perhaps worth noting that there are over 40,000 driving instructors in the UK. Those accused of misconduct make up a tiny fraction of British instructors, while the overwhelming majority of ADIs conduct themselves responsibly.