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Driving Confidence - How often are you asking for help or need prompting in your driving lessons?
Episode 2528th July 2022 • The Driving Confidence Podcast • Kev & Tracey Field
00:00:00 00:24:55

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In this episode, Kev and Tracey discuss the importance of driving independence for driving test confidence and confidence in driving alone once you’ve passed your driving test.

We chat about:

  • What we mean by independent driving
  • Why it’s important to ensure you are making your own driving decisions
  • Questions you might be asking if you aren’t independent

While listening to this episode, ask yourself:

  • How do you feel about driving alone after passing your driving test?
  • Are you independent in some driving tasks and not others?
  • Are you asking for help out of habit or because you don’t know the information?
  • Where can you find out more about tasks you need help with?

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Transcripts

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In this episode, we want to talk about independent driving.

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But before we do, we'd like to ask you for a favor.

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We've recently run some focus groups and it's become obvious that

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nervous drivers don't realize that there is help out there for them.

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So if you know a nervous driver, please let them know about this podcast, the

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help on our website or on our socials.

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Or even leave us a review so that we're easier to find.

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So let's get back to this weeks subject Kev independent driving.

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We have slightly different versions of this.

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So when a driving instructor talks about independent driving,

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it's a little bit different to my version of independent driving.

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Yeah, and I suppose that is because of what we do and what is on a test.

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So independent driving could mean , what you have to do on your test.

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So either following signs to a place or using a Sat Nav.

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But also with independent driving, we have someone driving

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independently on their own without any help from us as an instructor.

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Yeah and I think the reasons for that are fairly obvious aren't they?

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It's the fact that on your driving test, you have to drive without help,

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but also as soon as you've passed your driving test, the idea is that you can

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jump in a car on your own and go off and drive without any help from anyone else.

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And exactly that and what I try and do in my lessons is make sure people

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are confident to drive anywhere.

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So they pass their test and then they can go off.

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Driving to different places, different locations, for whatever reason but

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knowing that they have the skills behind them to be able to do it on their own.

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And I think it starts right at the beginning of your driving

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lessons or before you even start your driving lessons.

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Where you might be sitting in a car and mum and dad say, how

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would you get to such and such?

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And you start reading the signs, so.

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I think it starts really early.

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Even before you start driving.

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Yeah and it's a funny one, this, because it seems like a

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subject, which is so obvious.

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Why on earth would we even consider talking about it?

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But there are some genuine reasons for us to talk about this because we're aware

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that not everyone gets to do this fully on their lessons in the way that they

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would, if they were driving on their own.

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This came up at the event that we were at, at Nottingham Trent university and

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every single piece of research that was being discussed talked about driving

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independence in one form or another.

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So they didn't use that exact phrase, but it was mentioned.

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We know that in the first 12 months for a new driver.

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That that's when they're learning their situational awareness and it's when

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they're gaining experience of lots of different situations and scenarios.

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We know that drivers often behave differently on their driving tests, to

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how they do in their driving lessons.

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And we also know that anxious drivers struggle the most with driving decisions.

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And one of the things that we hear from a lot of our clients that we

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work one-to-one with, are, that they say they felt that they weren't set

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up to be able to drive on their own.

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They felt that they were taught how to drive in lessons but they didn't feel

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prepared for driving alone afterwards.

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No.

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And I think this is where it's essential in your training, whether you having

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lessons with mum and dad or with a driving instructor or whoever it may be.

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That you get to start practicing the basic skills of independent driving.

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And I feel that, even using some of the controls in the car could

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be turning a radio on, it could be turning the radio off or the heating

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controls or whatever it may be.

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You are, familiar with, the car that you are driving.

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It might well be different car after you've passed your test, but you

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make sure that you are familiar with your car, so your if something

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happens and you have to turn the heating on, know where those controls

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are, you're doing this on your own.

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You won't have someone else doing it for you.

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And another way of doing this is, we mentioned earlier about following signs.

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So when you're driving have a task where you notice all the signs on the road,

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these could be road signs telling you directions to places or even road names.

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And I think that's really interesting because.

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Notice what happens to your driving?

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You're driving will in the early stages of doing this will deteriorate.

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It will get slower because your concentration waivers, you're not

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concentrating on the driving task.

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You're more concentrated on noticing the signs.

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And I think this is one of the first steps.

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One is making a decision.

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And two is noticing things.

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And once you can start to do that, you can then move on to the next stage.

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And it gives you just an idea of driving independently.

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And, You might already do this in your lessons pick three friends.

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And you have to drive to pick these friends up, it's a game that I play

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and it gets people to actually start thinking about the route what happens

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when you get to that person's house?

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Where am I going to park my car?

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And it gets people to start noticing.

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How they're driving.

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Because they want to get there, they want to pick these friends up.

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And I think this is about

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practicing these skills in your lessons.

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Not to pass a test.

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But to be driving independently.

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So post-test what you're doing, is you're using those same skills of driving making

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decisions and it all becomes easier.

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You're more confident because you've practiced those skills and it's

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those skills that I feel, that we as driving instructors or mum and dad.

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We don't practice enough.

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We always there as a comfort blanket for that student that we've got, and we'd

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always ask questions to stop them making mistakes, or, we might ask a little,

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how would you deal with a situation?

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Okay, well, how far are you looking ahead?

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So, you know, those little things that we can do as instructors or mum

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and dad would person sit next to you.

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And it's not you actually going through that process.

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Yeah.

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And that's the really clear thing that we've been talking about.

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Isn't it?

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It's this idea of your driving instructor or your supervising driver is often

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giving little prompts, giving little hints, asking really helpful little

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coaching questions, but actually when you're doing that to somebody in the

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latter stages of their lessons, Your helping them make the decisions and not

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allowing them to make their own decisions.

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But.

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I'm guessing that driving instructors.

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Maybe feel as if they're not giving good value or they're maybe

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not doing their job correctly.

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If they're not asking questions.

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Yeah.

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and you know, I struggle with that because I want to help the person.

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I want the help the person succeed.

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So, what it is about sometimes is making sure or contracting for want of a better

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word at the beginning of the lesson.

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To make sure I know my role, the student knows their role.

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And.

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We all know what's going to happen.

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I'm still there as a safety blanket, but I'm going to use

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it at the very last moment.

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Because I want you, the student to be making those decisions and

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making them in good time so that you are arriving at a hazard prepared.

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You know, the route that you're going to take and you're making

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sure that this is as close as you can get to driving on your own.

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And that's what we're aiming for in lessons before you pass your test

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is to give you that experience.

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Yeah.

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And.

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Sometimes do you find, you have to bite your tongue?

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Not to interfere, not to prompt, not to ask a question.

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Oh yeah.

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A hundred percent.

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You know, you, you, you.

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There's something I've seen that the student hasn't.

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In a previous lesson, when we first started, I would

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have definitely mentioned.

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But now people are driving on their own.

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And I can see something like a slow moving vehicle up ahead on a dual carriageway.

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And this person's driving in lane one is lane two there not lane three.

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And I know they're going to have to overtake this slow moving vehicle

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and I'm thinking shut up Kev.

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Let this person deal with it.

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They need to experience this.

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But it's amazing when you don't say something you really

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want to help, but you can't.

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But that's where learning takes place for the student.

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And am I giving value for money in that situation?

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Yes.

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By not saying anything and letting the student actually deal with make decisions

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that situation that is happening, is going to help them, later on.

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Yeah, because that's the one that they're gonna remember more than all the

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times you've told them or prompted them in the past is the one where they're

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making their own decision, I guess,

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exactly, but it also gives us something once we've stopped, it

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gives us something to talk about.

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Yeah.

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And that's where my skills then come in.

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So you're then talking about, oh, do you remember that slow moving

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vehicle on the dual carriage way?

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How would you do that differently next time?

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What might happen next time for you?

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To be able to not slow down or have to, wait for cars to overtake

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you, what would you do differently?

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But it's going to have a better result.

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Resulting in you being more confident in the future.

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You know, what is, what is going to happen?

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What would you do differently?

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And I think that's where we need to go as instructors.

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And also mom and dad, you want to help you succeed.

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But it is allowing you that safe environment to be able to maybe

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make a mistake or do something or slow down we didn't really need to.

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So, just those little things that you're doing, to make them more confident.

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Yeah and being really clear here, so we're not talking about driving

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independently from lesson three or four.

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So when you're in the early stages of your lessons, then you're not really

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making your own driving decisions as much, and you are going to be heavily

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guided, prompted, coached by your driving instructor, but as you're progressing

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through your lessons, I guess there's a crossover between how much help you need

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and how much help you're being given.

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Yeah, exactly and it does start early in the lessons probably on the first lesson.

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Could be from the first time that you make dependent on the area where you live.

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You might have to make a decision as to whether or not you want

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to start your lesson at home.

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Or you want to drive to somewhere quieter.

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You know, these are little decisions that you can start to

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make in your driving experience.

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If we're talking about further down the line, after a few lessons, you might be

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making decisions as to go left or right at the end of the road and the coach,

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the trainer would be asking, well why do you want to go left instead of right?

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well if I go right, it's takes me to that.

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And I don't want to deal with that yet.

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I want to go left to be able to deal with this.

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That's great because that's given you that independence.

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I know what I want to do.

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And I think this is where you then just take it one step at

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a time, a little bit further.

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And then you not just making one decision at the end of the road turned left.

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Great.

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Where are you going to go after that?

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So you can add in this and build on it a bit, like building a

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house, you've set the foundations.

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And then you carry on building the blocks on top of it.

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And getting to the point where you are getting in a car driving

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independently with your instructor there, not really doing much at all.

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You might be talking about what sort of day you've had, what sort of things you're

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looking forward to after your lesson.

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So again those sorts of questions again, may well affect your driving.

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But, the skill of driving.

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Is independence.

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Yeah.

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And there were some real, really strong advantages to doing this.

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One of the clear ones is that we often hear instructors saying.

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My student drove differently in their test and failed they never

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drive like that in their lessons.

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And if that's happened to you, if you failed a test because actually you've

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driven differently, what are the reasons, why did you drive differently?

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Was it because you were in a unique situation where you were having

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to make decisions for yourself?

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Where the examiner doesn't help you.

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If that resonates with you, then perhaps driving independence is an

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area that you need to focus on more.

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So using our son as an example in the last couple of months of his driving lessons.

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And you'd be hard pushed to call them lessons by that stage, because with the

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delays and everything that are happening, he had ample opportunity for driving

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practice really rather than lessons.

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And so in those final couple of months, He was driving independently.

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And I know I sat in the back a couple of times as we were going different

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places while he was practicing and you weren't really helping him at all.

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We were just chatting about normal everyday things now the advantage of that

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was that come test day, yes, there's an underlying level of nerves of, it's a

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test and there's going to be an examiner.

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But he had the evidence and he knew that he could drive.

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He absolutely had a couple of months worth of evidence there that he had

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confidence in his driving skills and his driving ability because he'd

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been making his own driving decisions for weeks running up to his test.

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And if he failed, for some reason, he knew he would just

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put in again and take it.

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Yeah sometimes people do drive differently on the test because one, they're not used

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to someone not saying anything they're not used to silence and silence is one

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of the biggest things that people hate when they're driving because they're so

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used to talking, even if it is like my son and we used to chat about things, we

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chat about football, whatever it was, but we would chat and he would just drive.

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But if there is a silence how'd you cope with that?

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If you're not used to it.

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Have you been trained to deal with silence?

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Have you been trained for someone to give you directions in a certain way.

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Yeah, that may be, really off-putting as well.

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Is it a different sat Nav to the one that you've been using?

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You might well use Google maps on your phone or whatever it is,

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but the examiners use a different one and it's a different voice.

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It will give you different directions.

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They say thing slightly different.

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So again, it's all these little things that add up and they go.

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Oh, that's not quite what I'm used to.

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But having the experience of trying different satnavs just loads

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of different apps on your phone.

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You can get, try different ones.

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Have you gone somewhere and, followed signs, you might actually

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know the route off by heart, but what are the signs saying?

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Which road is it?

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What's the name of the road?

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What's the number of the road?

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All these little things that you can add into your driving to help

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you become more confident, so whoever's there giving you direction.

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Whether its a Sat Nav, a driving examiner or whatever, you know, what's happening.

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And you know where you are and what's going on names of roads, et cetera.

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And, touching on the test, this is why they changed the test.

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They changed the test to bring in independent driving, which

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is either, following a Sat Nav or following road signs.

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And it's to get a more real life situation.

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What are you going to be doing post-test?

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And this is why it's changed.

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And, we heard at that event, Yeah.

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The DVSA talking they wanted to see you driving independently.

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What are you going to be doing?

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And some of the show me, tell me questions are done on the move.

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And it really is trying to make it as realistic as possible for you to be able

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to jump in your car an hour after your test and drive all on your own and for

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it not to be that dissimilar to the experiences that you've already had.

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Yeah.

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It will feel different.

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Cause there won't be anybody there.

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There won't be that person sitting next to you and you can't get away from that

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fact of someone physically sitting there.

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But what you can do is have the knowledge and be confident in your skills to be

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able to even talk yourself through a situation or be confident enough to say

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I've done this before I can do it again.

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Yeah and being able to make your own driving decisions, which in theory

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you should have been making in those latter stages of your lessons

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so you should be more used to it.

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Yeah.

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And that's what we're aiming for.

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I mean People come to me and say, Oh Kev, I need help I want some

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lessons so I can pass my test.

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One of the strangest questions I asked back is.

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Do you really want to pass a test?

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And people look at me, and go, what's.

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When you're talking about.

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Because people don't want to pass a test.

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What they want is what passing a test, gives them.

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Yep.

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And that is that driving independently, new.

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I saw your face there.

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It changed when I said that it was like, no, they do want to pass a test.

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That's what they're having lessons for to pass the test.

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Well people don't and why is it that you want to take that test, pass your

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theory and do your practical test?

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It's because it gives you that freedom.

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It allows you to have that new job.

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It allows you to the kids somewhere, whatever it may be.

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And that's the focus.

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The driving test is just an assessment of your driving to see whether or

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not you can drive independently.

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Safely.

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Competently and confidently.

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Great.

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I think we've covered that really nicely now.

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So I'm thinking for anybody listening obviously this topic mainly focuses

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on learner drivers and making sure that they've got the confidence before

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their test, but equally this works for people who have passed their test and

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we know that nervous drivers who have passed their test this is the area they

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struggle in the driving independently on their own, making their own decisions.

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So some telltale signs that this could be an area that you need to work on

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would be oh, asking what do I do?

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How do I do this?

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What do I do next?

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I don't know what to do.

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Yeah.

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The questions that come up quite a lot in lessons, what do I do in this situation?

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What'd you think you might do in that situation?

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Ah, first thing I got to do is this great.

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So you've started that process again.

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And driving is a process.

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It's a repeatable process all the time.

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You see a hazard up ahead.

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I've mentioned again, the slow moving vehicle.

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What's the first thing we do.

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Right.

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I got to check around, see what's happening.

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Then you have to make a decision.

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Assess the situation.

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Right.

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Okay.

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And there's a car behind me is traveling quite fast.

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So what I'll do is I'll do this.

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Great.

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Now, what we need to do is to decide when we're going to do it.

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And then we have to act on it.

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So again, looking, assessing, deciding, and acting and, build

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that into your driving and even if your got a license and you're getting

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back into driving If you feel a bit nervous or, your confidence drop.

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This is one of those things that people can do is just take your time

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or even and I know we do this quite a lot, it's just visualize driving.

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Yeah it's a great tip that is just visualized driving yourself.

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Okay.

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So if you catch yourself asking those questions.

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The first thing really is to make sure you're not asking

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the question out of habit.

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Do you genuinely not know the answer to that question?

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In which case you're not ready to drive independently and you're not

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ready to take your driving test.

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But are you asking that question simply out of habit and simply because you

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want to use that safety net of your instructor or your supervising driver?

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So question yourself.

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Why am I asking that question?

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Do I know the answer?

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And if I do, can I answer myself?

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So using our talking out loud would work really well.

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If you ask the question, answer yourself as well.

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So get out of the habit of thinking.

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I don't know what to do.

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What do I do next?

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How do I deal with this?

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See whether you've got that information in those answers get used to

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answering those questions yourself and making your own decisions.

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And again, some people ask the question just for confirmation.

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Yes.

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That's one of the things I've noticed with learners is they don't want to

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do something wrong so they won't do anything they will ask a question

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just so I can tell them what to do.

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But they sometimes then soon realize that I'm not really going to give them

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the answer unless I have to, obviously.

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Yeah, but it's again, it's about them making decisions.

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And I'll give you a simple example of there's a parked car on the

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left-hand side of the road.

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And there's an oncoming car toward you.

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And you're unsure about whether to go through that gap.

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As soon as you mentioned that word, unsure.

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What's the first thing we're going to do.

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Or you're going to do, where you going to do?

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I'm not going to do anything.

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But what is the first thing you're going to do?

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Hopefully it's slow down.

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Yep.

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Because when you slow down, what you do is you give yourself more

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time to reassess the situation.

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Make a different decision.

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You might decide, I can get through or do you know what I can't

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Whatever decision you make, then you have to make another decision.

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Okay.

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So I'm going to go through, what speed am I going to go through?

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Yup.

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Or I'm going to slow down, where do I want to stop?

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Do I need to stop?

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So again, these little questions, but.

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It's about if you're ever unsure.

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Slow down.

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So you can actually do this before getting in the car as well.

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You can prep and plan for this.

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So if you know what route you're going to go on, if you know what

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tasks you're going to have to face.

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So maybe a right-hand junction or roundabout or a maneuver.

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Then think about them beforehand and ask yourself how confident do I feel

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in making my own decisions to do that?

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Do I need to be guided and helped.

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Do I need to be prompted.

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Or am I able to make those decisions independently?

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And use that as a guide.

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So check, and then if you feel that you do need help or prompting, then where are you

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going to go to find out that information?

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So that you can build your knowledge and experience.

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So that you're then able to make those driving decisions.

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Yes.

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And this is what it's all about.

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Have a plan.

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If you've passed your test.

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But you're still a little bit nervous about going out, driving.

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Have a plan.

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Have a plan of the route that you're going to first take.

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It may just be driving to the bottom of the road, turning

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around and coming back again.

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That's brilliant.

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Because again, what you're doing is you're making a decision.

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You're making a decision of first one.

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Can I drive on my own.

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Just want to drive there.

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Turn around.

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Because it's nice and easy.

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There's nothing there and it's like a little circle and I can just don't

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even have to do any revers turn around and come back again on park.

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And then stop.

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Get out of the car.

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What's the next plan.

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What's the next route that you're going to do?

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Might well be go to a McDonald's drive-thru you might well have

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done that on your lessons.

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Fantastic.

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But again, just think about the next step you.

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You're going to take.

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Great.

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So what do you think.

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Are you making your own driving decisions or is this something that

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you need to practice to help you drive more confidently and actually

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set aside some of those driving test nerves that you might be battling.

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Hopefully you found that useful and if you have, who else

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might find this episode useful?

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All of our contact details are in the show notes as always and feel free to get

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in touch and let us know how you get on.

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So until next time, have a great day whatever you're doing.

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