Help for a friend

The first test you do - organised by the government.
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ChristianAB
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Help for a friend

Postby ChristianAB » Mon Nov 23, 2015 1:35 pm

A friend of mine, in his 30s, recently passed his test and has bought his first car. Having been in the car with him, there is no obvious issue with his driving, aside from the overly cautious approach often seen with many newly qualified drivers, and inexperience (so sometimes slow processing of tricky situations, especially in London).
I know that the first few months are the period when he is most at risk of having a crash but I am not sure what advice to give to him. His attitude is really good and he is a naturally very careful driver.
The last time we spoke, I encouraged him to take it one step at a time by gradually increasing the difficulty of his driving endeavours only when he felt comfortable (which he was already doing anyway), and aside from a few tips here and there when sat in the car with him, that was pretty much it. I didn't want to confuse him too much, given that he'd just been through the DSA process.
Also, note that he probably can't go into IAM/Rospa at the moment as he's very busy.

This made me think: how do you approach a very novice driver? If you could only provide 3-4 top tips, what would they be? Or said differently, what would be the top 3-4 things that novice drivers should most be mindful of?

In my mind, I am thinking about 3 topics:
- motorway driving: entry and especially exit can be tricky. Novice drivers may misjudge their speed exiting a motorway and coming onto a roundabout.
- night driving: Unable to handle the glare and lack of overall visibility. Even advanced drivers struggle with this one anyway.
- over confidence: ...

Any suggestions ?
Last edited by ChristianAB on Mon Nov 23, 2015 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Adamxck
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Re: Help for a friend

Postby Adamxck » Mon Nov 23, 2015 1:52 pm

Vision and following distance.

Drop back, look ahead and he'll have more time to process what is going on and decide what to do about it.
Adam.

Gareth
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Re: Help for a friend

Postby Gareth » Mon Nov 23, 2015 1:56 pm

Because recent learners seem to be focused too much on economy, I think one very useful skill is being able to accelerate firmly - this necessarily includes changing gears at higher engine speeds. It's particularly useful when joining busy main roads, roundabouts, or a grade-separated roads.
there is only the road, nothing but the road ...

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Mr Cholmondeley-Warner
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Re: Help for a friend

Postby Mr Cholmondeley-Warner » Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:23 pm

OAR - work on observation, anticipate what may happen, have a plan for dealing with it. It may sound "advanced" but it's the foundation of all safe driving. Unfortunately although much of anticipation is based on logic, other drivers do illogical things, and it takes time to build up a database of the possible illogical outcomes of a situation.
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Horse
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Re: Help for a friend

Postby Horse » Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:50 pm

Be aware.

Outside the car: Ask "What if?" "How can that affect me?" "What's going to happen next?" etc. Look for detail, hints, clues. Talk out aloud - say out loud what every roads sign is, what it means, how it might affect 'you'.

Inside the car: feel what the car is doing, where it's unsettled, how balance changes. Feel for 'smooth'; application of controls and transitions between them. Feel for tension, if found then identify the cause and try to eliminate.

Remember that you can't change 'now', only find what needs to be done differently and do that next time.
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akirk
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Re: Help for a friend

Postby akirk » Mon Nov 23, 2015 3:48 pm

someone in their 30s may have more road observational skill from being a passenger, than the average 17 year old, so I suspect that lack of confidence is from being behind the wheel, not necessarily being scared by the traffic... so it all simply will come down to hours of experience...

key at this stage is as above - observation, not getting fixated on one thing but continually scanning and asking what if - and holding back for added time, being more cautious in towns (30mph is very often inappropriate even for an experienced driver)...

Alasdair

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exportmanuk
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Re: Help for a friend

Postby exportmanuk » Mon Nov 23, 2015 6:35 pm

If they are in London sell the car and take the Tube :-)

First don't just tell them to look tell them what they are looking for. where to look and how to scan.
If they can drive different vehicles. Realise that not all are the same and will have different blind spots etc.
Andrew Melton
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ChristianAB
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Re: Help for a friend

Postby ChristianAB » Mon Nov 23, 2015 7:23 pm

Thanks for the advice. Indeed, all of it is spot on, from the focus on economy driving, to the issues with observation.

martine
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Re: Help for a friend

Postby martine » Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:36 pm

Good advice above.

Also, tell them NOT to fall in to copying other drivers when it goes against what they've been taught! I've sat next to novice drivers who go down through the gears when slowing..."it's not what my instructor taught me but I just copy everyone else" - doh!

It must be difficult as a novice when there are sooo many bad role models out there.
Martin - Bristol IAM: IMI National Observer, Group Secretary, Masters (dist), DSA: ADI, Fleet, RoSPA (Dip)

Black Cat
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Re: Help for a friend

Postby Black Cat » Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:49 pm

martine wrote:Good advice above.

Also, tell them NOT to fall in to copying other drivers when it goes against what they've been taught! I've sat next to novice drivers who go down through the gears when slowing..."it's not what my instructor taught me but I just copy everyone else" - doh!

It must be difficult as a novice when there are sooo many bad role models out there.


I can add my favourite from a student who was great with the handbrake, then one day announced - "I want to learn to use the handbrake less". After my head had stopped banging on the dashboard we established that her dad didn't use the handbrake at all, so she didn't want to either. A long discussion ensued. I fear that if I saw her now (passed first time around) she will not ever be using the handbrake. I could probably have saved a lot of valuable time and breath.

Agree with the other posts though. Space first, then observation. Create space and gain time to feel that you can look. Again, learners come to driving with preconceived and subconscious ideas from other drivers. Any learner will simply attempt to copy what they have seen and heard elsewhere unless they are taught otherwise. Given that 80%+ of drivers routinely drive too close, too fast for the conditions (in towns in particular) and don't observe enough expect learners and NQDs to do the same. Is a simple case of monkey see, monkey do.

I was lucky (in one sense) and unlucky in another when I came to learn to drive at 17. My dad was, for example, always religious in his dislike of poor road position, so I copied. He was also pretty intolerant of other drivers mistakes and poor habits, so I copied(and still have to struggle to avoid reacting now, 25 years on). So set a good example to any inexperienced or learner driver, everyone! :)


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