Remember, you were once a learner driver, too. Give them enough room, be patient, and follow these tips.
Whether you like it or not, learner drivers will always be there, crawling along ahead of you, and you should adjust your driving when encountering them to ensure safety and to not cause any unnecessary danger or worry than what we – and they – already face on the roads.
The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, said a learner sign in a window should never be ignored or create impetus to treat that driver without courtesy. “If you do see such a sign, it is both a warning that a driver has less experience and is learning and is also a request for patience, time and space.
“The best advice to handle a learner driver is to treat them in the same way you would a dangerous driver. This is not to say that a learner is dangerous, but as you would give a risky driver space to minimise your own risk, the same applies to a learner – also to give them space to learn without pressure.”
Tips for driving with a learner driver:
• Increase your following distance to at least double what you normally would.
• As soon as safety allows, move around the learner driver.
• Be patient. If a learner takes longer to cross an intersection or to do something you would do much faster, do not get frustrated, but rather allow them to take as long as they need without pressurising them by hooting or driving too close.
• Do not be aggressive. Do not let your frustration get the better of you and, consequently, make reckless decisions. If you get annoyed with how long a learner driver might take to cross an intersection and you drive around them, the chances of a collision increase greatly, and while you may have the skill to take corrective action, they certainly do not.
• Do not make assumptions. While one should never assume a driver will do what they are supposed to do, it is particularly important not to do this with a learner. For example, if you move around a learner and you have space to put an extra lane between yourselves, rather do that than assume that the learner will check their blind spot.
Every driver has to start somewhere. “Remember, at some point, you were that learner. You likely can also remember at least one instance in which a motorist placed pressure on you or even created a dangerous situation.
Do not be that driver to a learner. Give them the space, the time and the patience to learn the skills necessary to be a good driver,” said Herbert.