5 Things to keep in mind when teaching someone else to drive

Young man doing thumps-up in car

No, surprisingly, the first tip on this list is not ‘have a stiff drink beforehand’, although you might want to make sure the liquor cabinet is stocked for afterwards

If you’re not a professional driving instructor, and have, out of the misguided kindness of your own heart, decided to teach someone else how to drive in your own car, then there are a few things that you can do to help their learning experience, and to keep you from klapping them when they choke off for the 18th time.

REMEMBER: Before you attempt to teach a learner driver, they must be in possession of a valid learner’s licence, and you, as the teacher, should have your valid driver’s licence on you at all times.

  1. Check yourself before you wreck yourself

Oh snap. That’s right, we went there. You probably think you’re a pretty hot driver when you slide behind the wheel, but the fact is that we’re all guilty of not driving up to code from time to time. Reacquaint yourself with all of the checks and terminology in the K53 and make sure that you pass the test before you ask someone else to follow your example.

  1. Plan the route beforehand

It’s a good idea to find a big, open parking lot and practice simple manoeuvres before trying a designated route on actual roads. Try to schedule lessons for off-peak times on quiet roads that provide a good range of stop signs, robots and yield signs. And don’t forget to put some nice, big red ‘L’s in the rear windows to warn your fellow drivers.

  1. Plan the lesson beforehand

None of us can pick up a skill straight away, so for the sake of your student and your own sanity, break down driving into a simple series of lessons. Perhaps lesson 1 is just starting and stopping, lesson 2 is starting, turning and stopping, lesson 3 is indicating, turning, and stopping and so on. Build on each previous lesson, so the new driver can also grow in confidence as they slowly improve.

  1. Be consistent

Yes, other drivers might know what you mean by ‘the handle thing under the what-what’, but to a new driver, it’s all strange and new. They are relying on you to impart your pearly pearls of wisdom, and to make sure that some of them actually sink in, you need to be consistent with the terminology (words) you use, and the way you give instructions. Encourage your new student to also communicate what they are doing, before they do it, so they also get used to planning and using the correct terminology.

  1. Be calm

You’re only human, we know that, but if you strip your moer every time your new driver makes a mistake, chokes off the engine, grinds the gears and double clutches, you’re going to frighten them and make it harder for them to feel confident. If, you realise that teaching someone else to drive is just a little beyond your patience threshold, consider contacting an accredited teaching instructor.