Learning how to drive can be an extremely exciting experience, whether you are learning at age 17 or at age 37. However, it can also be frightening, stressful, nerve-wracking and a bit intense if you aren’t very confident behind the wheel. In the same way, helping a reluctant driver learn how to feel confident and comfortable in their car can take time and effort, but it can be rewarding once you see them make that final step in getting their full license.
So, what can be done to help a reluctant driver? Read on for a few tips on how you – as the more experienced driver – can help put their mind at ease.
Find a Safe Place
Sometimes being out on the open road can be intimidating, so try to find a safe place where you can practice driving in relative peace. Some people like to learn to drive at night, as there are fewer people on the roads in the later hours. However, if you’re pressed on time, finding a big car park could also be a good place to practice, just be aware of your surroundings.
You needn’t practice in the car park for very long, just until your learner gets a little more used to the controls and how the vehicle moves. Once they feel comfortable enough with the feel of the car, you can move onto the more populated roads. One step at a time!
Talk to Other Drivers
Feeling that you cannot drive and being surrounded by people who can is quite isolating. While common sense will tell you that everybody started out as a learner at some point, often learner drivers find it hard to come to terms with that fact. If you arrange a couple of talks with other drivers you know, especially drivers who have previously struggled with learning, this could help your reluctant driver feel more confident and less alone.
For example, if they are having difficulty with the practical part of the test, perhaps get in touch with someone who didn’t pass the first time. How did they feel? What did they try and do to change the outcome? Any answers given will help your reluctant driver if they ever hit a snag, as it will help them put their own issues into perspective.
Mistakes Will be Made!
Everybody makes mistakes. It is a well-known fact that you often learn more from a failure than you do a success, but it can be hard to experience failure, particularly when you are so focused on that success. Your reluctant driver is bound to make mistakes as we all do, but what is important is that you help them work through those mistakes in a calm and collected manner. Getting irritated or impatient will only serve to make matters worse so take a deep breath and take five minutes. Everything will work out fine in the end!
Get a Navigational Device
If your reluctant driver has passed their test but is still having difficulty finding the motivation to get out and practise on the roads, consider investing in a navigational device, such as a SatNav. It may sound odd but having a device that knows precisely where you are going and how to get there can take a lot of pressure off of new drivers. They can focus more on the road itself, instead of having to fret about remembering their directions.
Getting a navigational device can make previously impossible road trips much more manageable, and will give your reluctant driver the independence they need to feel confident in their own skill. It can take time, but as the old saying goes ‘practice makes perfect’, so any device that will see your driver practising as often as possible is bound to do some good.
Written by Sara Bryant, working together with Simply Driving Lessons.