- Send them to a top trainer first.
- Find a high-quality trainer…
- a trainer motivated by life-long safety and not by fast profits
- a quality trainer and not a complacent corporation
- let the trainer decide when it’s best to send them to a less complacent corporation or discuss with them the best next steps.
- Together choose when and what to start practicing.
- Before all of this starts, if you really are serious, the codriver should take a driving assessment with that high-quality instructor and review your own driving. (Wow, this sounds a tad vulnerable!)
This driving skill is an essential lifelong skill. Of all the education, should not this one be at the top of the list? Most of us drive or travel every day. The risk remains constant, fluctuating as things frequently change, as do our bodies and minds. Yes, over 90% of us avoid collisions, but there are about 1000 collisions every day in British Columbia. And it’s easy to make a mistake and get into trouble.
New drivers experience more failure, as we all do when learning a new skill.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE EVERLASTING
There is an elastic-effect to learning. If you learned 100% of everything in a course when you leave, it drops too much less. Few to none of us exit training and perform higher than the original 100%—the elastic-effect.
The knowledge of crash research and knowing how to reduce one’s risk of collision is extensive, but few of us are exposed to this knowledge.
For this driving/surviving skill, it’s best to provide a high standard to give the beginner the best chance of walking away with a solid understanding of how to reduce their collision risk continually. Give them the best chance of minimizing the elastic-effect.
ROLE MODELS BUILD LIFE LONG POWERFUL HABITS
Peter, a very bright high schooler, had never driven before. He went with a driving instructor for the first 3 hours and then practised for three weeks with his dad.
Do you remember the tailgating two or 3-second following distance rule? I ask.
Emotions spike inside Peter as he states. “Geez, yea COOPER I do, and sorry, I am way too close.”
“It’s interesting because in our first two sessions, you never drove 1/2 second from the vehicle in front of you, but now it seems to be a habit,” I state.
“Yea yea,” gasps Peter.
“How close does your Dad follow?” I ask as if I don’t know.
“Yea, he always tells me to speed up and freaks out when I add too much space in front,” sheepishly states Peter.
Ten hours of training with a driving instructor versus twenty years observing how Dad drives. Dahhhhh. Who’s kidding who here?
Co-DRIVER TAKES A DRIVING ASSESSMENT WITH THE INSTRUCTOR FIRST
The things a new driver needs to know may not be the things you are showing them. You have driven for hours, years, decades, and you perform based on a VERY HIGH DEGREE OF SKILL and a VAST HISTORY OF EXPERIENCE. Most of us downplay these two vast areas of knowledge, both of which the new driver has NONE OF!
What do you mean by a high degree of skill? I am not a professional driver. NO, but your body and mind and eyes always learn as you repeatedly drive over and over each day. Just because you may not be aware of how your skills are adapting, they are. The car’s feel improves and knowing where the car’s positioning becomes more and more familiar. Even the noises it makes become part of your increased skills. A new driver has NONE OF THESE.
Many ignore this strong influence or assume our influence is all positive or simply hope things will be ok.
Have you ever seen a video where the younger person boasts that they can do what the adult can do only to fall flat on their backside? Recently my friend tried out the ab roller I use, and as he swung it forward, his face hit the floor and chipped one of his teeth.
Experience and skills developed through years of repetition are often ignored! Regardless, it’s mighty and far above a beginner’s level.
This driving thing is deadly serious business. Don’t ignore the powerful effect you have on your new driver – far more of an impact than most of us realize.
A PRACTISE CoPILOT IS VERY VALUABLE – DON’T SCARE THEM
No, do not go with your practice person too early because you must maintain a very safe and robust working relationship. Someone to practice with is critical to gaining that abundance of experience needed before the new driver sets out alone.
Scaring your practice person and creating that bad first impression is not a good start. It’s also a financial and dangerous risk that’s not needed at the beginning of such an important journey.
Driving school cars have dual controls and, if the trainer is experienced, they are great at taking over control before the danger comes—lower risk driving.
If the goal is to teach a skill of moving through life at the LOWEST RISK LEVEL, start them off in a car with two drivers sharing the control, a dual controlled vehicle. It’s much lower risk, and it’s a fantastic role model decision to show. Choose a more downward risk path.
WHEN IS IT A YES TO TRAIN THEM?
Yes, you best train them when the driving instructor drives worse than the parent. And believe me, many are far worse.