New drivers are great fun aren’t they?
Oh, their not?
Your terrified to get in the car with them? I, see…
We love new drivers here at Drive Happy Driving School, however we are also professionally trained and have years of experience. Sometimes its easy to forget that most people don’t get in the car with new drivers everyday.
This article is dedicated to those parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, and spouses who find themselves in the car practicing with a new driver. Let’s start with the basics shall we?
Rule # 1: Make sure your insurance covers your new driver.
Every insurance company handles new drivers a little bit differently. Some will require you add the new driver on to your policy immediately. Some will allow them to drive under your coverage until they are licensed. And some will simply not allow new drivers. Check with your broker and make the necessary adjustments before you begin practicing.
Rule # 2 : Remain calm, even when your not.
Its important to remember that your new driver is even more scared than you are. Having you sitting next to them sweating bullets and gripping the door handle is not doing them any favors. Put your hands on your knees and sit comfortably. Do not, under any circumstances tell them how scared you are. If you appear calm and collected, they will too.
Rule # 3 : Start with the easy stuff.
The first time you get in the car with your new driver is not a good time to have them back out of the driveway and head out to the freeway during rush hour. Start with the easy stuff. Drive around the block in a nice quiet residential area until your both feeling comfortable with one another.
Rule # 4 : Make progress by driving somewhere useful.
Alright, you’ve driven around the block 97 times. Its time to move on. The best practice any new driver can do is to drive somewhere useful. Have them drive you to the grocery store, the post office, their school, their job. All the places they’ll be driving to on a regular basis. Think of your new driver as YOUR new driver, your personal chauffeur.
Rule # 5 : Make your instructions clear and give them early.
Lets keep in mind that “What the hell are you doing?!?” is not a direction. If you want your new driver to turn left at the next corner, tell them that, before they pass the corner. The more complicated your direction, the longer in advance you need to give it. It also helps to be specific. Unless you really want them to come to screeching halt in the middle of the street “STOP!” is not a direction. Try this one instead. “Take your foot off the gas and begin braking. We’re going to stop with the tip of the car touching the limit line.” Clear instructions , given early.
Rule # 6 : Drive happy!
New drivers make mistakes. It is inevitable. There’s no reason to beat them up about it, or let them beat themselves up. Explain what they did wrong and what they should do next time and move on. Feel free to laugh if they do something really funny. Its OK to have fun during your practice sessions. Remember that good driving is the art of not crashing. If you’re not upside down in a ditch, your new driver is not doing too bad.