NASP Meeting 16/11/2023
17th November 2023
Driving school businesses and the cost of living
24th November 2023

Common obstacle to learning

A common reason why a pupil will not progress as well as they could when learning to drive, is because they have a fixed idea of the standard required which is not much more than fundamental car control e.g. clutch control, ability to steer and change gear. 

It’s not uncommon for this to happen, in fact with our knowledge of Dunning Kruger, it should be expected from pupils with just the basics of ability. But if left unchecked it can have crippling consequences to the rate at which the pupil will learn. 

 So often, a pupil will enrol on a driving training programme with a small amount of driving ability, but enough for them to move the car controllably. They can physically drive a car, but they are not really considering how well they can drive the car, or perhaps even more to the point, they don’t know what else is needed other than being able to operate it.  

The problem is, they often come with high expectations of now being able to take the driving test. Again, quite natural really; they can drive, so why shouldn’t they have a go at the test? But these misconceptions need to be addressed, because, if we as instructors do not raise their awareness of what driving safely really entails, they might be tempted to go for a test in a private car. 

So here we are not directly referring to pupils with arrogance, ‘optimism bias’ or risk-taking tendencies although any of those could be present. What is being highlighted is more that many pupils will just consider their limited ability to be much better than it actually is, and so their focus is now entirely on passing of the driving test.  

There will be no thoughts of difficulties of driving in fog, or the dark, or managing friends in the car who take drugs, or driving in an area that is unfamiliar, or how emotions affect driving behaviours and certainly no concept of driving skills relating to defensive driving, anticipation and planning or manoeuvres that crop up outside of the driving test criteria. 

The focus for many individuals will be on practising driving test routes, whether driving errors are serious or not on a test, whether there really are quotas for driving test passes, and just practising what might come up on the test.  

The reason why this can’t be allowed to go unchecked is because driving instructors teach to the DVSA Driving Standard, not to the driving test assessment criteria. That is obligatory and not optional. All driving instructors are assessed on their ability to teach to the driving standard both prior to qualification and post-qualification. 

So if a new pupil comes on board with a driving instructor and has the wrong idea/attitude of what learning to drive involves, it is pretty important for the instructor to point this out sooner rather than later; so as to avoid a bitterly disappointed or frustrated customer.

We cover this important topic in the BIG TOM induction training for the franchise. How well a driving instructor is able to manage this type of pupil will have direct consequences to safety, customer satisfaction and instructor mental well-being and job satisfaction. If you want to learn more come and contact us for a copy of our free Franchise Information Memorandum without any obligation at all. Contact us on: 01928 508 833