Driving Tips for Supervisors

Some Common Learner Mistakes

Driving Tips for Supervisors

Most parents like to try and teach their kids how to drive but at times it can be stressful for both kids and their parents. Some kids pick up learning to drive quicker than others but it takes patience and practice from both sides.
Most driving hours will be with a parent or supervisor which can be a learning experience for both the new driver and the parent or supervisor. 

Here are some driving tips for supervisors to think about when considering teaching someone to drive, brought to you by Penrith driving School who provide quality and informative driving lessons in both automatic and manual vehicles.
(Automatic Male/Female) and (Manual Male only)

These driving tips for supervisors are only a guide that may help parents and supervisors when thinking about teaching a new learner driver. This is not advice on how you should be teaching, that is up to you but don’t just get in the car and expect kids to drive. 

Teaching is like a book you need to break down the chapters then break down the paragraphs to gain the full story. Just reading the chapters without the paragraphs will not give you an understanding of the book as some learners will comprehend and understand driving better than others so being able to break down that book is very important when teaching.

1.Plan Your Drive
Plan where you will be going to teach your driving lessons, it should be somewhere quiet with minimum traffic may be an industrial area on a weekend, a large car park at sporting ovals if not busy or a wide quiet street can be a good starting point.

2.Pre-vehicle check
Always perform a pre-vehicle check prior to driving to make sure the indicators/blinkers, brake lights are working and check your tyre pressures as under-inflated tyres will affect vehicle control and ensure the car is roadworthy preferably with insurance. Tyre pressures should be checked at least once a month don’t wait until your next service, check your spare while you at it.

3. Never Assume
Never assume a new driver knows what you are talking about, you should always explain the operation of all instruments and controls that will be used and have them explain back to you those operations. Terminology is important to be clear on what you say.

4. Ask Questions
Ask the learner questions about the operation of brakes, steering, accelerator, clutch etc and if they don’t know then you will need to explain how each item works and the dangers of those items if used incorrectly.

5. Teaching Requirements
The way you interpret your own knowledge of driving may not be enough so your experience should be combined with the RMS learning requirements and road rules to ensure a learner is learning correctly from the beginning, it’s not just about getting into a car and driving as cars can be dangerous if not properly kept under control and how you drive will be different from how they drive.

7. Think Ahead
When giving instructions to a learner be very clear and in advance as instructions can be easily misinterpreted by someone who may not fully understand what you mean. You should also be thinking ahead and always anticipate the learner will make a mistake. By accident using the wrong word in a sentence, you could end up with learner turning right when you meant to go straight.

8. Understand a Car
Don’t expect a new driver to understand the dynamics of a vehicle and how much braking, accelerating or turning may be required to control a vehicle and if uncertain give a demonstration and explain what you are doing.

9. Having Patience
Be patient with learners as what you may think is easy can be difficult for a new driver to comprehend. They also must learn muscle memory to be able to operate vehicle controls efficiently and effectively so what you take for granted in the way you are able to “multi-task” a new driver does not have this skill which is only gained over time.

10. Understand the Roads Rules
Too many learners don’t know or understand the road rules, so this should also form part of learning and remember you should also be following the road rules when driving as new learners can pick up “if’s ok for you then it’s ok for them”.

11.Making time for Practice
Learning to drive should be taught as a subject just like at school so making time with good quality practice is important as driving on the road is more dangerous and comes with a higher risk than going to school.

12. Be Positive
If you are teaching properly then there should be no yelling and screaming and try to avoid being negative to learners, even positives can come from a negative situation as learners need to make mistakes to learn the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong.

13. Practice what you Teach
Parents and supervisors should know the road rules along with the RMS learning requirements that need to be taught to inexperienced drivers. If they aren’t learning properly this does result in the learner forming bad habits. Teaching incorrect driving techniques and not being aware of what they should be doing from the beginning will show towards the end of their hours.  When it comes to the driving test they are not ready to drive independently due to inexperience, poor driving skills and lack of confidence. They may also be not aware of the RMS requirements which they should have learnt in the beginning.

Fact not Fiction
Based on our lessons with students we see a lot who struggle to drive safely, have a lack of knowledge, don’t know the road rules and are unable to control a vehicle properly.
This is usually because of not practicing enough in areas of driving that are difficult or areas that require continual adjustments and observations this is more so in students getting ready for driving tests.
A student starting out is not expected to understand or have the same knowledge or skills expected of someone with more hours but over time they will learn but only if they are being taught correctly from the beginning.

Driving is a Risk
Driving can be dangerous and is a risk every time we get behind the wheel so the more knowledgeable you are, the better skilled you are can help you reduce some risks and survive on our roads by being smarter than some drivers.
It’s not possible to teach all variables of driving when on the roads as the traffic conditions can change in an instance but if they have road awareness knowledge and safe driving skills this may help them avoid an incident.
Never have the view “it won’t happen to me” accidents happen, so somebody must be involved but if you’re smarter than other drivers it may not be you.

Penrith driving School is experienced in getting inexperienced drivers up and running by laying the foundations so supervisors can then take over and preparing advanced drivers for the driving tests and beyond.

Common Learner Driver Mistakes


Penrith driving School provides quality and informative driving lessons in both Automatic and Manual vehicles. (Automatic Male/Female) and (Manual Male only).

There are many areas of driving for inexperienced drivers to learn and understand.
It takes time for a newer driver to gain some confidence along with the understanding of vehicle control.

The accelerator, brakes, steering and or clutch take time to learn along with learning to make decisions.
You also need to operate other controls such as indicators/blinkers and correctly doing observation checks.

Penrith driving School instructors Geoff and Marina have put together a list of the more common mistakes learners/parents can make and some of these also relate to students with more hours or preparing for the driving test.
Take the time to do quality practice and build up your confidence and skills.

Driving is about being prepared, being alert and being aware of your surroundings all the time and knowing what you should be doing in line with understanding the road rules.
You should always have solid vehicle control as it only takes one error of misjudgment to result in an accident.

Our list is not all the mistakes but some of the more common based on our experiences, our observations and conversations with students during driving lessons.

1. A New Subject
Think about learning to drive as a new subject just like at school so if you prepare properly by learning the fundamentals and basics this will be built into your driving at an early stage which will help to automate your reactions over time.
Fundamentals can be understanding the vehicle, the vehicle controls and the basics can be controlling the vehicle using the accelerator, steering, braking and or the clutch etc. You should not disregard the basics.

2. Know the Road Rules
You also need to know the road rules, too many inexperienced drivers and those with some experience or those preparing for the driving test still don’t know the road rules so how can you drive a vehicle properly on the road if you don’t understand what you should be doing. Too many think “I did my DKT test (Drivers Knowledge Test) and passed”, “so” 45 questions does not form the road rules. Read the Road Rules. Understand the Road Rules.

3. Read the Learners Log Book
Failure to read their Learners Log Book and understand the 20 Learning Goals that should be taught, some parents also fail to read this log book and properly interpret what they should be teaching.
You should not be signing pages if a learner has not met those learning goals and is unable to show that competency of that learning goal. Your only cheating yourselves and can put students at risk. Learn properly why would you cheat with your lives?
We see these logbook pages signed when students come to us but the student cannot apply what they have apparently already been taught (given the log book pages have already been signed off), they don’t know the basics and can’t answer our questions.

4. Understand your Car
Trying to learn too much too soon, you should learn how to control the vehicle firstly when using the steering, brakes and accelerator.
Sometimes if learning a manual vehicle start in the automatic first to gain some road experience so you are not trying to operate to many controls at once.
It takes time to coordinate your movement of hands and feet to control the vehicle, especially in a manual vehicle.

5. Observation Checks
Not conducting observation checks as required or knowing how to correctly do an observation check.
You are not the only one on the road  and cars can from nowhere so know who’s around you all the time

6. Not monitoring mirrors and speedo enough
Not observing mirrors and speedo frequently enough which leads to speeding and not being aware of your surroundings.

7. Incorrect Steering Techniques
Bad posture and bad steering techniques lead to poor vehicle control.
Hand over hand steering is the worst steering to be learning in normal cars it leads to poor vehicle control and oversteering especially in manual vehicles as students lose control while trying to shift.
Students also try to steer with both hands at once which is also an unsafe habit.
The best steering for a learner is “pull down push up” steering which provides very good vehicle control.
Read your log book it has pictures of where your hands should be as a guide.

8. Turning Misjudgements
Misjudgement when turning or steering due to being too fast and or being too slow this leads to over steering or under steering which leads to incorrect road positioning and loss of vehicle control. You can’t be hitting the kerbs or going onto the wrong sides of the road.
Incorrect steering techniques can also cause this problem.

9. Not Looking Properly
Not driving to what you can see, vision is everything when driving and if you are not scanning (in the log book) properly when driving this can lead to accidents and mistakes.
Too many students have a narrow vision only for the car not what is coming up ahead or what’s behind. It’s not all about you.
Signs and line markings tell you what you need to know.

10. Not understanding Hazards or Responding to Hazards
Failing to recognise a “hazard” and being able to respond to the hazard in a safe way.
Hazards can be anything that can come into your path when driving such as pedestrians, car doors opening other vehicles potentially pulling out or turning in front you.
Vehicles behind you and oncoming vehicles moving towards your side of the road, too many students just swerve a car but don’t think about what could be on the other side of the road.
Not looking at the road surface for hazards like potholes or pools of water.
Can’t just get in a car and drive.

11. Over Confidence
Thinking you can drive a vehicle properly.
Driving is a continual learning experience for everyone no one ever stops learning when driving as every drive is different to the last one. The driving conditions are continually changing so being alert is paramount and learning the ability to be able to react and respond by using your vision is a must.

12. Narrow Driving
Not varying you’re driving enough to include different roads and streets instead of the same route to school or to the shops.
Learn to go outside of your comfort zones to increase knowledge and vehicle control.
We call that “Nanny Driving”

13. Understanding Traffic
Learning to read the traffic and continually assessing the road conditions such as roundabouts, give way signs and traffic lights.
Most students are unable to use their vision early enough to make a decision.
Stopping unnecessarily or giving way when it isn’t required.
Cars can be following you and stopping for the wrong reasons can result in accidents. Giving way for the wrong reasons can confuse other drivers.
This comes back to road rules as some parents and most students don’t bother to fully understand them.
Did you know that Part 7 of the Guide to the Driving Test is called “Causing a Dangerous Situation” which is a fail item?

14. Not able to Drive Independently
Assuming because you have done 120 hours (this does not relate to beginners) that this makes you a good driver.
In some cases, less than 80 hours of driving given the “Bonus Hours” students can gain from an instructor or safer driving course.
Unfortunately, we do not see students that come to us for pretesting that can drive unassisted to meet the RMS testing standards.
Remember driving a car is one thing but driving a car to the RMS Driving Test Standards is another.
They are unable to show us they can drive independently without any assistance from us.
This can because they don’t know the road rules, have been taken out of their comfort zone, can’t make safe decisions, have bad steering and poor vehicle control, speed to much/drive too fast, nanny driving are some reasons.
Usually, this comes back to what they were taught and most of the time what they were not taught.

15. Getting a Licence for the Wrong Reason
Getting a licence for the wrong reason, unfortunately, the RMS allows anyone who “qualifies” for the driving test to attempt the driving test.
This is not only for learners but any other drivers who are very unconvincing during driving lessons.
If you struggle or are nervous, have a lack of confidence and ability you should really do more practice before being let loose on the roads by yourself.
Just because you somehow passed the driving test doesn’t mean you can drive.
There are many people who manage to pass the RMS Driving Test because the traffic conditions were easy on the day but when the pressure is on they can’t drive and make bad decisions.
Inexperienced drivers should not feel so bad as you have a reason which is that you have not been driving long.
Plenty of experienced and licenced drivers still can’t drive properly.
If everyone could drive properly then there would be no accidents.

Note: Students or drivers that only need sharpening up on skills like parking and manoeuvres is a process that may only take a few lessons to pick up.
These are what we consider not to be too dangerous as long as observation checks are done and what we call a “static” skill.

Some students and drivers can struggle in areas of decision making, vehicle control, understanding traffic conditions and road rules so it takes more than a few lessons.
Trying to reproduce the same traffic conditions every time you drive is not usually possible.
Quite often a new situation will arise that has not been experienced by a new driver so they do not know how to respond.

In our view driving is taken too lightly by some learners so practice, practice and more practice in the areas of driving you may not have confidence.

Penrith Driving School is always happy to answer any questions you may have so just contact us

Lesson Guarantee

Penrith Driving School offers a Lesson Refund Guarantee.
We are all human and sometimes a person may not feel comfortable when with one of our instructor.
We offer a free second lesson with another instructor (automatic only) if you still feel you have not gained any skills during your lesson we will refund that lesson cost.
Students should remember our instructors teach students all the time by conveying what is required to become a better safer driver.
They also teach the RMS requirements with regards to the road rules and preparation for driving tests.

The student will learn about road awareness including driving defensively by learning to read, anticipate and recognise potential hazards on the roads. As with all learning, it is up to the students learning abilities.
If you don’t know the road rules then you will struggle to drive to the road conditions.
Take the time learn them as it forms part of having a drivers licence.
If you believe you know more than our instructors then you don’t need any driving lessons.

We can offer our lesson refund guarantee because we are very confident that you will be happy with us and you will learn from us as long you are willing to listen and learn.


Operating Hours 7 Days 6am-9pm

Penrith Driving School operates 7 days a week from 6 am to 9 pm
Lessons can be the during the day, evenings and weekends subject to availability.

We are able to pick you up and drop you off at the station, your house and workplace subject to location.

For further information please contact Penrith Driving School and we will be happy to answer your questions.

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