Driver Trainer Expert, Chris Staiti, RoadSafe Training, Gold Coast
Developing safe driving habits from a young age is so important and as parents and/or supervisors, we need to remind ourselves that we are constantly being observed and mimicked by our younger generation, which is very prominent in our driving habits. When our young child raises an angry fist and copies our behavior as we yell at another driver in “rage”, we may think it’s cute at the time but what we are forgetting is we are setting an example which is deemed as “acceptable” behavior. Sadly, our youth also see driving behaviors within the broader community.
Firstly, we as parents, supervisors and role models need to change our attitude, it’s not too late if you’re about to embark on or have even started the learner driving journey.
How can We Help in Developing Safe Driving Habits from a Young Age?
Don’t blame other drivers even if they have made a mistake (we don’t know what is happening in their lives which may have an impact in their decision making on the roads) – everyone makes minor mistakes, we need to let some of these go without reacting negatively.
If you are driving safely, with awareness and with a good attitude you may see a mistake about to unfold. Instead of reacting, pause and ask yourself what you may have done differently to prevent or minimize the incident.
Start talking to your learner driver early, well in advance of their learner license. Explain and promote safe driving habits at any opportunity. Look at doing a refresher course/driving course or a driving lessons gold coast yourself to brush up on your road rules and knowledge. Be well-equipped in mentoring your learner driver.
You may deem yourself to be a safe driver with 20, 30 or 40 years’ experience. On average 35 road users die on Australian roads every week who all deem themselves and others on the road as being “safe drivers”. Even if you have never had an incident with years of driving experience, it only takes a small error in judgment.
Continue to remind your learner driver to constantly be aware and in the moment. Particularly with the distractions, young people are faced with today.
Steps to Take to Prepare your Learner Driver
Take into account the emotional and physical state of both your learner driver and yourself (as parent/supervisor)
Remember that everything is new to a learner driver whereas it is second nature to yourself as the experienced driver
Talk to your teens about road rules and using common sense on the roads – safe gap selection, spatial awareness and about our brains processing abilities when under pressure.
Plan your trip. Teaching young people to drive starts before you even get in the car, providing them with more confidence about what to expect and to think ahead while actively learn.
Talk about the trip in advance and what may happen on the trip to prepare your learner:
what time of day is it; discuss the different road types; discuss traffic conditions they may face
Teach your learner to think ahead when learning to drive:
when to start braking; who gives way; what would they do in certain situations that arise; how to do a shoulder check!
An important part of learning is to be able to navigate around your area; it’s interesting how many learners about to get their P’s and at the end of a driving lesson when you say “let’s head home”, you get a blank stare as they are used to either mum or dad directing them. Teach your teens how to be a safe driver by being aware of their surroundings. When people are lost they become stressed and are more likely to make mistakes.
Remember mistakes will happen – be patient and calm!
This is the key to Independence…
Good, professional driving instructors are vital to providing learner drivers with a strong foundation, and driving instructors that use tools like the YLOODrive business booking platform are also able to helping guide supervisors and learners along a path that is easy to follow, by providing electronic driving lesson feedback and tips on how to help guide your learner along their journey of learning to drive. It’s important to keep everyone in the loop. Parents, supervisors, and mentors in a young learners life play an invaluable role in helping them become safer and more confident drivers.
The Australian Government provides a FREE 60-minute lesson called Keys2Drive with a Keys2drive accredited driving instructor. Both the learner driver and their parent/supervisor are part of this lesson. This lesson is aimed to “Help you to help them”.
During this free lesson, the Keys2drive accredited driving instructor will explain the Keys2drive learning approach – ‘Find Your Own Way’ – and offer examples of how it can be used when learning to drive. The remaining lesson time includes a practical demonstration of these skills being used and taught and you will be driving.
The Keys2drive free lesson is not intended to replace normal driving lessons rather, it should complement them by empowering learner drivers to ‘Find Their Own Way’ to becoming safer drivers.
Learner drivers will receive training in the best ways to practice, helping them gain the confidence they need to prepare for safe P plate driving and beyond.
Parents/Supervisors will come away with tools to help their learner drivers achieve a good foundation for lifelong safe driving.