Driving skills syllabus

Tips for driving coaches

Set a good example

Your new driver will pick up a lot more than you realise from the way you drive. Try to set the best example you can when you drive, because you'll be their model.

Don't set your sights too high

Remember, your new driver is learning, so expect lots of mistakes and try to use them as learning opportunities. Take things slowly, but be prepared to challenge your new driver as they develop confidence.

Be prepared for different rates of learning

There'll be times when your driver will take longer to pick up a new skill than you might expect, or they might pick it up more quickly than you thought they would. Try to be patient and be prepared to take a break from lessons for a while if necessary.

Be realistic about what you can cover in each session

Your new driver will be concentrating hard and will probably get tired quite quickly at first. To start with, 45–60-minute sessions will probably be long enough. You can build up to longer sessions as you progress.

Demonstrate first

One of the best ways to teach a new skill is to demonstrate it first, explaining what you are doing at the same time. If it's a more involved skill, you may need to demonstrate it a few times. Give your new driver lots of encouragement when they try a new skill for the first time.

Encourage independence

As your new driver progresses, you should have less and less involvement. Your early coaching will be focused on teaching new skills, so naturally you'll be demonstrating and talking the new driver through these. However, as your driver progresses, encourage them to apply their skills in new situations without your help. At this stage, all you need to do is ask: ‘How do you think that went?' or ‘Could you have done that better?'.

Listen

If your new driver says they're not comfortable in a new situation, ask them why and allow them more time. New situations, such as heavy traffic, higher speed and wet weather, can be very challenging for new drivers.

Keep the vehicle a stress-free zone

Things go wrong sometimes – and not always on the road. Before you start a lesson, make sure you are both calm and relaxed.

Managing mistakes: the WASP technique

Wait – see if your new driver notices they've made a mistake.

Ask – if they haven't said anything, ask if they've noticed the mistake.

Show – if your driver can't work it out, show them.

Practise – repeat the skill a few times the right way.

You should also be aware of what is going on both inside and outside the vehicle, and be prepared to intervene or warn your new driver if they are in, or likely to be in, an unsafe situation.

What driving coaches must do

Like any driving supervisor, driving coaches must:

  • hold a current and valid full New Zealand driver licence, and must have held this for more than two years
  • sit in the front passenger seat when the learner driver is driving
  • carry their driver licence at all times when supervising driving.

Coaches should also:

  • be prepared to commit to the time needed for the new driver to practise
  • be a responsible, skilled and confident driver
  • be an effective communicator, able to explain information and ideas clearly
  • have the patience to instruct the new driver effectively
  • be able to teach and build on previous lessons
  • review, evaluate and assess the new driver's progress
  • make sure the new driver carries their learner licence at all times while driving
  • make sure L plates are displayed on the front and back of the vehicle the new driver will be driving.

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Last updated: 2 October 2009