Here are a few tips for talking with your learner driver to make sure the instructions you give are helpful.

Give instructions clear and early

Take your learner through each action step-by-step before you get them to do it for the first time. Do this while you’re parked so they can concentrate on what you’re saying. Get them to say the steps back to you so you know they’ve understood.

During the session, give plenty of warning about what you want them to do and keep your instructions simple and short. For example, let your learner know when they’ll need to change lanes well before they need to do it.

Teach ‘commentary driving’

Once your learner is reasonably comfortable driving, teach them ‘commentary driving’. This is where they say out loud what they’re doing as they drive.

Get them to also identify potential hazards out loud. This is a skill that experienced drivers usually do without seeming to think, but your learner will need to practise this skill. Mental practice like this is very important in developing your learner’s judgement and awareness.

Use the WASP technique to manage mistakes

Remember that mistakes are OK. Your learner won’t be perfect the first time. They’ll make mistakes – and that’s an important part of learning. Your job is to help them through those mistakes, and to make sure any mistakes they do make aren’t putting anyone in danger. The WASP technique is a great way for you to manage a learner’s mistakes.

  • Wait – see if your learner notices they’ve made a mistake.
  • Ask – if they haven’t said anything, ask if they’ve noticed the mistake.
  • Show – if they can’t work it out, show them.
  • Practise – repeat the skill a few times the right way.