Coaches play a big part in helping someone learn to drive. A driving coach is someone who’s willing to teach a learner driver how to drive competently, legally, and safely.
Your responsibilities as a supervisor
Because a learner must always have a supervisor with them when they drive, you should be prepared to commit to the time needed. When you’re the supervisor, you’re the one who’s responsible for the safety of everyone in the vehicle. You’ll need to be a skilled and confident driver with plenty of patience.
To be a supervisor, you must:
- hold a current and valid full New Zealand licence, and
- not have a supervisor condition on your New Zealand licence, and
- have held the full New Zealand licence for at least 2 years or have held an equivalent overseas licence for at least 2 years.
Remember, when you’re supervising a learner driver:
- you must be in good condition to drive, for example, you must not be over your legal blood alcohol limit
- you need to be aware of what’s going on inside and outside the vehicle – be prepared to intervene or warn your learner if they’re in, or about to be in, an unsafe situation
- you must have your full licence with you when supervising.
Is your learner ready?
- Before a learner can start to learn to drive on the road, they’ll need to get their learner licence. Once they have their learner licence, you can start teaching them the basics of driving.
- Make sure they have their learner licence with them, and L plates are displayed on the vehicle before starting any lesson.
- There are conditions of driving on a learner licence you’ll need to know.
Conditions of a learner licence – Waka Kotahi
If your learner is driving with a class 1 or class 6 learner licence, L plates must be displayed on the vehicle. L plates show other road users that they’re a learner driver. L plates:
- must be displayed on both the front and rear of the vehicle
- must be clearly visible to other road users
- must not restrict front or rear vision.
Learner licence information – Waka Kotahi
The road rules
It may have been a long time since you looked at the road rules. If you’re going to coach, brush up on your knowledge of the New Zealand road code and think about any bad habits you may have when driving.
The official New Zealand road code – Waka Kotahi
Using a professional driving instructor
You might want to look at using a professional driving instructor to support your coaching. A professional driving instructor is useful at any stage, but can be very helpful at the start. They can help your learner set up good habits as they learn the basics and will plan the lesson to suit the needs of your learner. The instructor can also provide you with guidance on what tasks to work on with your learner. A good way to use a driving instructor is 2 or 3 sessions in the beginning, then a few check-in sessions along the way before a final session to prepare for the restricted test. Professionals can also be helpful if you find you are both struggling to make progress on a particular part of driving – reverse parallel parking is a common one.
As a coach, you can ask to sit in the back of the car for the session. This means you can pick up what the instructor is saying and back-up the teaching in your own sessions.
Driving instructors charge a fee for training and must:
- hold a driving instructor (I) endorsement for each class of licence they want to teach
- sit in the front passenger seat while instructing.
Before the first session, ask the instructor to show you proof that they hold a current driving instructor endorsement.
Automatic versus manual
You and your learner will need to consider whether to learn to drive in an automatic or manual car. If they sit their restricted licence test in an automatic vehicle, they’ll only be able to drive automatic vehicles while on their restricted licence, unless they have their supervisor with them. Once they have their full licence, they’ll be able to drive either vehicle type.
Choosing a car to practise in
Safe vehicles play a big part in keeping people safe on our roads. Almost every vehicle has a safety rating from 1 to 5 stars. This rating indicates how well the vehicle is likely to perform in a crash. Vehicles with 4 and 5 stars are the safest, while 1-star and 2-star vehicles provide less protection in a crash.
Safety features are also key to consider when choosing a car to practise in. These include crash avoidance and crash protection features which can help your learner drive more safely, prevent crashes and save lives.
When thinking about which car your learner will practise in, choose the safest vehicle you have available. If you’re buying a vehicle from a motor vehicle trader, look for the safety rating label and find out what safety features it has.
You can search for a car’s safety rating and check the safety features it has on the Rightcar website.
You’ll also need to consider insurance. Car insurance in New Zealand isn’t a legal requirement but it’s a good idea to have some type of insurance cover. This will protect you and your learner from financial loss if they’re in a crash or event that causes damage to your or someone else’s car. If your learner will be practising in your car, check with your insurance company to make sure they’re covered.