5 Tips For Driving Instructors From A First-Time Driver

A few things every driving student wants their instructor to know.

Learning to drive is nerve-wracking. There are so many things to remember and everything around you is moving so fast. Driving can be anxiety-inducing, so it's important to be learning from someone who makes you feel comfortable. 

Driving with an instructor can be scary at first, but it's important to remember that they are there to help you. They have been specifically trained to assist you in becoming a better driver.

Still, they are human; they can't all be perfect. As someone who is still in the process of learning to drive, I've had many instructors, all with their strengths and weaknesses. There are plenty of resources online with tips for new drivers on how to drive better, but there aren't many tips for driving instructors on how to better serve their students. Based on my experience with instructors, there are five major tips I would give to them.

1. Be Attentive

driving instructors on phone
Image Source: The Sun

For me, the most frustrating thing is when I look over to ask my instructor about something on the road, and they are looking down at their phone. On one hand, it's flattering that they trust my skills enough to look away for a bit. On the other hand, though, knowing that my instructor has their full attention on me and the road makes me feel secure while driving.

I've missed exits and made critical mistakes because my instructor wasn't paying attention and didn't catch me slip up. Drivers see their instructors as a second set of eyes and rely on them to catch things their untrained eyes can't. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, so it's safer for everyone if the instructor stays fully attentive to the lesson. 

2. Be Patient

driving instructor student passing driving test
Image Source: Driving-School.com

This should go without saying for any teacher, but not every student learns at the same pace. Sure, it can be frustrating when it seems the driver isn't making progress, or worse, regressing. However, practice makes perfect, and with a little extra help from the instructor, they will eventually improve.

It is super important for the instructor to be patient with the student and give them room to grow. As a driver, when I can feel my instructor growing impatient with me, it discourages me from driving. I feel like I'm not learning fast enough compared to others, and it makes me feel like I'm not cut out for it. My favorite instructors have been the ones who continue to encourage me every time I get in the car.

3. Be Clear When Giving Instructions

driving instructor
Image Source: MegaDrivingSchool

I don't know about others, but while I'm driving about 95% of my energy is focused on not crashing. Considering every little of my brainpower is left for processing other information, my instructor must be clear about what I need to do or stop doing. Too many times I've been told "Wait, don't do that," without having any clue what "that" was. 

Clear communication between the instructor and driver is essential for everyone's safety. Yes, the driver needs to do their part by listening to the instructor's directions. However, this is useless if the driver can't interpret them. They may already be having trouble understanding things if they are flustered by the road, so drivers rely on the instructor to give prompt, specific directions so that they can adjust accordingly.

4. Don't Be Rude

rude driving instructor
Image Source: TheJournal.ie

Just like it can be stressful to drive, I'm sure it can be stressful to instruct. It may look like instructors have it easy being a passenger all day, but they actually have a very important job. A lot of people can get hurt if vehicles aren't operated correctly, and they have to be ready to jump in and correct the student's mistakes. The stress that comes from this might explain why some instructors come off as rude.

Still, feelings of frustration shouldn't be taken out on the driver. Most drivers I've talked to have cited at least one rude instructor who ruined their learning experience by snapping at them. When an instructor is rude, it makes the driver feel even more uncomfortable, leading to more mistakes. The lesson will be easier for both parties if a calm, amicable atmosphere is maintained.

5. Balance Criticism With Praise

happy driving instructor
Image Source: How2Become

I have had lessons before where the instructor criticized everything I did for the full two hours. Yes, it is their job to correct mistakes and tell the student what they need to improve on, but it's unlikely that every single thing a student is doing while driving is wrong. 

It has been proven that giving students positive reinforcement aids in their learning. Instructors, it's important to also point out what the student is doing correctly. My last instructor would end our sessions by going over everything I needed to work on, but he would finish by saying what I had improved on. He would tell me each time how many more lessons I needed before I was ready to take the test. This kept me motivated and gave me a sense of progression.

Some of the qualities that make for a good driving instructor are attentiveness, patience, clarity, kindness, and supportiveness.

Someone who consistently exhibits these qualities will be the most effective teacher. I have learned the most from instructors who have put my comfort and well-being first while giving calculated insight into my performance. Again, no one is perfect. Nonetheless, these are things to keep in mind when teaching someone to drive. 

Writer, blogger, and content creator from Sunny San Diego. When she isn’t writing, you can find her exploring, eating, and watching Netflix.

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