Do parents make good driving instructors?

Teenage Girl Learning How To Drive

“Do as I say not as I do” - Learner drivers are being exposed to both good and bad driving habits from their parent instructors.

Parents are teaching their children incorrect and potentially dangerous habits on the roads, according to a survey conducted by NRMA Driver Training.

Almost half (49 per cent) of the surveyed 415 learner drivers in NSW and the ACT identified that there were road rules that their instructor had made them aware of that their parents/supervising driver had not.

It also revealed that 30 per cent of respondents have had their parents/supervising driver teach them something that their instructor has claimed was wrong. The majority of these related to roundabouts – specifically when to indicate.

“Reverse parallel parking. Mum tried to teach me, but she doesn’t have a step by step method that she goes by, she just does it by feel. In this case this is what I needed as a learner.”

The survey also found learner drivers were being exposed to their parents’ bad habits, with the worst offending habits being:

  • Speeding (37%)
  • Not indicating (29%)
  • Mobile phone use (20%); and
  • Road rage (9%)

If you are keen on teaching your learner driver you may want to supplement your teachings and allow your learner to do a NSW Safer Drivers course that not only helps with getting 20 bonus logbook hours but also teaches important techniques on how to manage risks on the road.


Are you a good driving instructor or do you think you need to brush up on your driving skills before supervising your kids?

How to deal with sun glare while driving

Driving on a beautiful sunny day can provide the perfect backdrop, but it can also cause hazardous conditions if the driver’s view is obstructed by the glaring sun.

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GLARING ISSUE: How do you cope with the sun’s glare while driving?

Sun glare can be experienced throughout the day, although it’s more common in peak hour times, especially around sunrise and sunset.

These conditions reduce visibility making it harder to see the road ahead or any potential hazards, which can create added risks for drivers.

Here are some tips when driving in sunny conditions:

Give yourself some space
When the sun is in your eyes it can be hard to see what the car ahead is doing. Slow down if you need to and leave some space between you and the next vehicle.

Turn your headlights on 
Turning on your headlights also helps to improve the visibility of your vehicle by other road users.

Invest in a pair of decent sunglasses
Look for a lens category of at least 2 or preferably 3. Category 3 lenses provide a good level of UV protection and a high level of sun glare reduction.

Driving Tint
If you use prescription glasses to improve your eyesight, consider additional lens treatments from Specsavers such as Driving Tint and Drivewear which help to improve contrast and sharpens vision behind the wheel.

Keep your windscreen clean
A dirty or dusty windscreen can make vision worse so it’s important to clean before the trip. Don’t forget to also keep an eye on your wiper blades (see video from NRMA car servicing below) and replace if they begin to streak as this can make visibility worse.

Use your sun visor
The sun visor is designed to keep the sun out of the driver’s and passenger’s eyes. They were introduced in 1924 on the Ford Model T and now come standard on most vehicles.

Making some of these adjustments will help minimise risk during less than perfect visual conditions.

NRMA Members who need advice on all things motoring can call NRMA’s Motoring Advice line on 13 11 22 from Monday to Friday between 8:30am and 5pm.

Think twice this long weekend

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Image courtesy of NSW Police Force Facebook

We remind motorists that double demerits apply from 30 September to 3 October 2016 inclusive. Please drive safely and take extra care on the roads. 

Also, on 4 January 2016 the standard penalty for mobile phone offences rose to four demerit points. Since the end of last year, mobile phone offences have been included in double demerit periods. This means those caught talking or texting illegally while driving during this long weekend will incur eight demerit points – a huge amount when the threshold on unrestricted licences is 13 points.

The double demerit point scheme now applies for the following types of offences:

  • Speeding
  • Illegal use of mobile phones
  • Not wearing a seatbelt
  • Riding without a helmet

The scheme is designed to encourage safe and responsible driving. Working in conjunction with financial penalties, demerit points provide a strong incentive to drive within the law.

Double demerit periods were introduced in 1997 in NSW. By law, double demerit periods must be advertised and awareness campaigns are co-ordinated with traditional enforcement and increased police numbers. See the RMS Demerits points page for a full rundown of offences and penalties.

Do you think the Double Demerits scheme is an effective way of preventing dangerous driving?

How to help your Learner Driver

SDSLearning to drive is one of the biggest things in a young person’s life. Your supervision can get them on the right track to be safe and confident on the road, but before you sit down in the passenger seat make sure you’re prepared.

Before you get on your way

  • Check your insurance policy – does it cover young drivers? Call your provider if unsure.
  • Make use of NRMA Driver Training. This program is designed to cater for those who are learning to drive, looking to brush up on driving skills, or need to undertake a practical driving assessment. The accredited instructors don’t just go through the basics, they teach the skills needed to become a better driver.
  • Make use of available resources. The Learner Log Book provides an excellent overview of the right order to introduce new driving skills and experiences to your learner, along with key points that need to be covered.*

The keys2drive program is also great. Funded by the Australian government, it provides the learner and the supervising driver with a free session where both are in the vehicle. Both are able to learn from a  professional driving instructor, such as many of those from NRMA Driver Training.

Before you get into the car

  • Plan your trip: Sit down with your learner and discuss the drive you’re about to go on. Map out the trip and establish the learning goals and objectives. Follow a plan to reach them.
  • Supervise in all conditions and situations: Don’t be hesitant to let your learner drive when it’s raining, at night or even in fog. These are realistic situations they will face when they become a provisional driver, so the more they experience driving in these conditions the better.
  • Prepare yourself: Your mood and emotions can affect your teaching style, so never supervise when you’re tired, stressed, in a rush or anxious. It sounds simple but the best way to calm yourself down and prepare for a supervising session is to breathe. Take 10 mins to get yourself into the right headspace and maybe even think about what your fears may be. Discuss these with your learner to come up with a strategy to overcome them.

Before you head off

  • Prepare the learner: Ensure they are seated comfortably with the correct posture. This means ensuring they have a gentle bend in their knees, they are sitting up straight with the head support resting at least eye level, and that their wrists align with the top of the steering wheel, with a slight bend at the elbows. Make sure they are able to see all mirrors and adjust them if needed.

While driving

  • Coach rather than instruct: Get your learner thinking. Rather than telling them everything they should be doing, ask them and let them come up with some of the decisions. The tuition style of NRMA Driver Training is focused around independent learning. This can involve the instructor ‘talking forward’. For example, when approaching an intersection with a set of lights, they will ask the learner what the next step will be, ie, “We will be turning right at the next set of lights. What do you need to do to prepare for this?”
  • Give them more independence: As your learner gains more experience let them choose the route, have music on or other people in the car. Otherwise, the day they get their provisional licence will be the first time they experience this and they may not be adequately prepared.
  • Let them drive in all types of environments: Including when it’s raining, in fog and at night. They will experience these conditions once they are a provisional driver.
  • Debrief: Talk about the lesson once completed. Did you meet the learning goals and objectives? Document the outcomes and talk about what you should focus on next.

What about you? Have you ever supervised a Learner? What tips do you have to make it a good lesson?

*Other good reference tools for NSW learners are The Road User Handbook and A Guide to the Driving Test. For ACT learners, the ACT Road Rules Handbook and Supervising a Learner brochure are downloadable from roadready.act.gov.au.

Do you have Road Assist from The NRMA? Don’t get caught without it.

Five tips to drive safely on country conditions this Easter

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Easter is a really busy time on our roads, but unfortunately it’s also a period of high risk. That’s why the NRMA has teamed up with local councils surrounding the NSW and ACT border to remind motorists that they “don’t have to be speeding to be driving too fast on country roads.”  

The Easter Country Road Safety campaign was launched early this month after local data analysis by Yass Valley Council found as many as 33 per cent of local accidents involved drivers from other Local Government Areas. The campaign encourages motorists to consider the following:

1. Slow down on country roads, driver to the conditions
2. It takes longer to stop on gravel roads and no time to lose control
3. Expect the unexpected – animals, livestock, machinery and trucks
4. Don’t swerve for an animal – break, flash your lights, hit your horn
5. Remember: country road conditions change rapidly

Research has shown that a high number of country road crashes are ‘off road’, suggesting motorists may be selecting inappropriate speeds while driving on lower standard roads, and that interstate traffic may be unfamiliar with more varied road environments.

“Those unfamiliar with country roads might get a little nervous when they hit gravel roads or are confronted with animals crossing the road,” says NRMA Director, Kate Lundy.

“Likewise, those who are familiar with the roads and conditions may get complacent, and this can be a recipe for disaster when combined with long drives or night time conditions.”

Will you be driving on country roads these Easter Holidays?