Is your learner about to start driving solo? Use regular check-up drives to make sure they don't fall into bad habits.

Once your new driver has passed the restricted test they’ll be able to drive solo.

This is an important phase in their learning process. They’ll continue to gain experience but have full responsibility for their own driving decisions. It’s also a time when they’re at risk of becoming over confident. This is when bad habits can creep into their driving.

As a coach, you should check-in on your restricted driver every few months. That way you can identify and eliminate any bad habits before they form part of their normal driving. This will ensure that they are maintaining the necessary skills to be a safe driver.

Some young drivers may welcome a check-up drive but others may be more reluctant. For reluctant drivers you may need to explain the value of doing this is to help prepare them for the full licence test.

Tips for giving feedback during a check-up drive

  • Try to give feedback immediately after the event, so that the event is easily recalled.
  • Provide feedback on what they’re doing well. Don’t only focus on what they need to improve on.
  • Only provide short feedback while on the move. If you need to discuss anything at length, pull over and stop.
  • Get them to discover their own mistakes by asking appropriate questions that will lead them to the issue and solution. Remember the WASP technique (Wait, Ask, Show, Practise). This self-discovery approach will lead to increased self-awareness and acceptance of responsibility.
    WASP technique
  • Encourage ongoing self-reflection of their driving and the potential outcomes and consequences.

Bad habits to look out for

  • Speed control: Driving too fast for the conditions or exceeding the speed limit.
  • Indicating: Forgetting to indicate when needed or indicating for less than 3 seconds.
  • Road positioning: Not keeping left especially when turning – cutting corners.
  • Mirror use: Not using the mirrors often enough to maintain awareness of surrounding traffic.
  • Checking blind spots: Not looking over their shoulder when necessary, to check their blind spots.
  • Following distances: Not maintaining appropriate following distances. Following distances should be 2 seconds in good conditions or 4 seconds in wet or icy conditions.
  • Lane use: Not staying entirely within the lane or not using the correct lane.
  • Changing lanes: Not looking in mirrors and doing a shoulder check before changing lanes. Or not indicating for at least 3 seconds before changing lanes.

In addition to making sure their driving skills are kept up to scratch, also practisehazard detection and response ahead of sitting the full licence test. This will make sure your restricted licence holder goes into the test fully prepared.