Supervising Tips And Common Learner Mistakes

Driving Lesson Tips for Parents and Supervisors

Having driving lessons with a professional driving instructor may form part of the many hours required when learning to drive. 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. Learning to drive can be a stressful time for both a learner and supervisor but just be patient.

Here are some tips 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 tips are only a guide that may help parents and supervisors when thinking about teaching a new learner driver but is not advice on how you should be teaching and if in doubt you can always contact us.

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. Read the Learners Log Book to understand the 20 “Learning Goals” a new learner is required to be learning. Think about it as an instruction manual that goes through the stages of building. If you don’t read the instructions then you may not get the results that new drivers need. Supervisors and Parents should not be signing off on “Learning Goal” pages until a new driver can demonstrate their ability the goal relates to. You have to learn to walk before you can run!
  2. 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.
  3. 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 underinflated 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 are at it.
  4. Never assume a new driver knows what you are talking about, you should always explain the operation of all instruments and controls. Operate the controls and have them give a demonstration of the controls. Terminology is important, be clear on what you say.
  5. 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.
    You should not be signing the coloured pages if a learner has not met those learning goals.
  6. 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 the road rules to ensure a learner is learning correctly from the beginning, it’s not just about getting into a car and driving. Cars can be dangerous if not properly kept under control and how you drive will be different from how they drive.
  7. When giving instructions to a learner be very clear and well in advance as instructions can be easily misinterpreted by someone who may not fully understand what you mean. As an example, you should avoid saying to a learner “push the accelerator” or “push the brakes” because if you haven’t explained how these controls work and what can happen if used incorrectly then you may find yourself in a dangerous situation. You should also be thinking ahead and always anticipate the learner will make a mistake.
  8. 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. 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 “multitask” a new driver does not have this skill which is only gained over time.
  10. 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. Continually varying the driving areas to build up a better understanding of how a vehicle is controlled is important in learning to recognise the adjustments required to maintain vehicle control. Example: slowing a vehicle going down hill to turn is different from turning on a level road as a vehicle has more inertia going down a hill which requires more braking before and sometimes braking during the turn.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Parents and supervisors should know the road rules along with the learning requirements that need to be taught to inexperienced drivers because if they aren’t learning properly this does result in the learner forming bad habits, incorrect driving techniques and not being aware of what they should be doing from the beginning so when it comes to the driving test they are not ready to drive independently due to inexperience, poor driving skills and lack of confidence.

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.

Too many students really do think they can drive properly and some parents also think their kids can drive properly. Based on our lessons with these students who struggle to drive safely, have a lack of knowledge, don’t know the road rules and are unable to control a vehicle properly.
Driving can be dangerous so the more knowledgeable you are and better skilled you are can help you survive on our roads
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.

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 and to also 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 experiences, our observations and conversations with students during driving lessons.

  1. 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.
    If you do not understand something find out the answer or ask some questions of your supervisor.
  2. You also need to know the road rules, too many inexperienced drivers and those with some experience or 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”. 45 questions from a computer test are not the road rules. Read the Road Rules. Understand the Road Rules.
  3. Neglecting to read their Learners Log Book and understand the 20 Learning Goals that should be taught, some parents also neglect to read this log book and properly interpret what they should be teaching.
    Parents/Supervisors should not be signing log book pages if a learner has not met those learning goals.
    We see log book 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. Trying to learn too much too soon, learn how to control the vehicle properly when using the steering, brakes, and accelerator. Sometimes if learning manual 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. Not conducting observation checks as required or knowing how to correctly do an observation check.
    You are not the only one on the road so be aware of your surroundings and know who’s around you.
  6. Not observing mirrors and speedo frequently enough which leads to speeding and not being aware of your surroundings.
  7. Bad posture and bad steering techniques lead to poor vehicle control. Hand over hand steering leads to poor vehicle control and students also try to steer with both hands at once which is also an unsafe habit. The best steering is “pull down push up” which allows for the best steering control when learning.
  8. 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 when turning. Learn the basics of how to control a vehicle properly before driving in more complex traffic or challenging situations.
  9. Not driving to what you can see, vision is everything when driving and if you are not scanning properly when driving this can lead to accidents. Too many students have a narrow vision only for the car not what is coming up ahead.
    Signs and line markings tell you what you need to know.
  10. Not learning to recognise a “hazard” and being able to respond to the hazard in a safe way. Hazards can be anything that can come in your path that can cause a collision 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 for potholes. Can’t just get in a car and drive.
  11. Not varying 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.
  12. Learning to read the traffic and continually assessing the road conditions such as roundabouts, give way signs and reading traffic lights, too many students are unable to use their vision early enough to make a decision, therefore, stopping unnecessarily when stopping may not be required which also can lead to harsh braking.
    Cars can be following you too closely at times and stopping for the wrong reasons can result in accidents.
  13. Assuming because you have done 120 hours (this does not relate to beginners) that this makes you a good driver. We can honestly say that we rarely see a student that comes to us for pre-testing and can actually drive unassisted by showing us they are able to drive independently (being able to follow the directions to turn, do manoeuvres etc. given by the instructor). This can because they don’t know the road rules, have been taken out of their comfort zone, struggle with making safe decisions, have bad steering and poor vehicle control, speed too much/drive too fast or still have the cotton wool buds attached are just some of the reasons but this comes back to what they were taught and how they were taught. Driving is serious, not a game, learn properly.
  14. 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 and 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.
  15. 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 licence 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 or drivers struggle can in areas of decision making, vehicle control, understanding traffic and road rules which can take 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.

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.

Lesson Enquiries

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