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Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Dummies Guide to Dealing With Learner Drivers Part One

These tongue-in-cheek top tips have been inspired by the real-life “dummies” who every driving instructor encounter on our roads at some point in their career - if not daily. These are here for your enjoyment, but if you do recognise something in your own driving - well, maybe now is the time to change.

#1: When following a learner driver who inconsiderately stalls, quickly sound your horn a number of times. This has an instant calming effect on the learner and miraculously turns them into an experienced driver.

#2: Learner drivers need to frequently practice the ‘emergency stop’. When you see a learner who is driving slower than everyone else it's because they're giving you the chance to help. In these situations wait until they are really close before you surprise them by pulling out. The learner finds this highly educational and the instructor finds it highly amusing and greatly appreciates your kind assistance.

#3: When you want a learner driver to go faster, drive at high speed up to or close to their bumper. Many people believe this action compresses the air between the two vehicles, which in turn creates a shock-wave forcing the learner's foot down on the accelerator. (Caution: avoid this if someone is following Top Tip #2)

You know you're in trouble when even the dash looks scared....

#4: Learner drivers love the added pressure of having to move away quickly in front of an audience. If you encounter a learner driver who is waiting patiently at a crossroad, insist they take priority even if it isn’t theirs. You should do this by flashing your headlights and waving vigorously. If the learner doesn’t respond immediately, shake your head and drive on. Alternatively when they begin to emerge wait for 3 seconds and then implement Top Tip #2. (Note: If following a learner driver in these situations also see Top Tip #1)

#5: Learner drivers and their highly trained instructors frequently forget which type of vehicle they are driving, so if you see one driving along a temporary bus lane please pull alongside and shout "Do you know you're in a bus lane? You're not driving a bus hahaha!” Alternatively, you can draw the instructor’s attention by smugly driving past whilst shaking your head in disbelief.

#6: A full driving licence is coated in a chemical substance causing amnesia. Sadly this causes many people to forget that they too had to learn to drive. One of the many side-effects of this condition is an extreme feeling of possessiveness, making you believe you own the road generally but especially the bit outside your property or a nearby junction. Unfortunately there is no known cure for this condition. Caution: If you see a learner practising a manoeuvre outside your house; avoid contact with the instructor; avoid standing at your lounge window with your hands on your hips; instead go into a darkened room and scream into a pillow.

#7: Many new cars are fitted with hill-start assist. However, to be on the safe side, should you see a learner driver stopped at traffic lights on a steep hill, you can help by pulling up as close behind their vehicle as possible. Firstly, your show of confidence in their expert clutch control instantly reassures them and secondly your car prevents them from rolling backwards if they have a sudden lapse of expertise. (Also see Top Tip #1)

#8: Driving instructors go through three stringent exams before being allowed to teach. However, no one is perfect and bearing in mind that nothing has changed since the 1960’s, please feel free to correct their errors by sharing the in-depth knowledge of driving you gained during the six hours of tuition you had way back when.

#9: The space in front of a learner vehicle is subject to an optical illusion known as the "Tardis Effect". This phenomenon - similar to a ‘mirage’ - is caused by light reflecting off the L-plate and thus making a space big enough for one vehicle, appear capable of accommodating at least four vehicles. (Also see Top Tip #2) 

#10: When encountering a learner in lane one of a two lane road you can help their instructor demonstrate the blind spots by playing “now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t”. Here’s how; when you see them approaching an obstruction, quickly dart into lane two without signalling and hide in the learner driver’s blind spot and remain there for some time. If you suspect the learner has seen you, drop back until you're confident they can't. Stay where you are until they signal, then quickly reappear. This helps them practice braking. Alternatively sound your horn to keep them calm. (See Top Tip #1)

Remember, if you are a dummy, I don't want to be patronising (that means treat you like you're stupid) but these tips are for comedy value only, please don't take them literally. 

Thankfully, in reality, the vast majority of road users we encounter whilst we're out there teaching are patient and courteous. Both the learner and their instructor try their best not to inconvenience anyone and always appreciate your understanding if we do delay you slightly - even if we can't say thank you personally :)

Continued in Part Deux..... http://studidit.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/the-dummies-guide-to-dealng-with.html

©Stu Walker 2014


  1. Very good really enjoyed it. but you forgot to add-: If you see a learner driver about to perform a parallel park, when they stop along side of you jump in and move you car a few feet down the road..
    Green School of Motoring.

    1. Thanks Sean, glad you enjoyed it. These are just the top tip of the ice-berg. I'm glad I'm not the only one to have experienced the moving target Parallel Park :)

  2. Love these, do you mind if I use them?

    1. Hi Nigel please see comments below.

      Cheers Stu Walker

  3. Hi Nigel, I'm glad you like them and grateful for asking permission to use them. The usual copyright applies. I've no problem with you sharing them in the current format with an attribution to the author, but not for commercial purposes.

    Thanks again.

    Stu Walker