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The "Supervisors" Guide

Thank you for agreeing to help someone to learn how to drive. RACQ understands that this can be an anxious time for you both and recognises the importance of giving Supervisors the support they need..

Before they can apply for their provisional licence, learners need to log 100 hours of driving experience, which means they need to be in the car a lot. This can be broken up between family, friends and professional driving schools.

Before getting in the car with your learner you should:

  • Be a safe, experienced and competent driver who is up to date with current Queensland road rules
  • Refresh your knowledge by reading the Your Keys to Driving in Queensland booklet.
  • Ensure that you both hold the correct licence type for the class of vehicle you will be using.
  • Ensure the practice vehicle is roadworthy, registered and suitably insured for a Learner to drive.
  • Set aside some designated time each week to make sure you both are getting the practice you need.
  • Provide calm and clear instruction as your learner may react quicker or slower than anticipated.
  • Teach your learner safe driving habits, skills and behaviours and set a good example when you drive.
  • Be patient as your learner won’t be able to do everything on their first attempt.
  • Focus on providing constructive feedback to help the learner improve and build confidence.
  • Postpone your lesson if you are angry, tired, or upset as you won’t be able to teach as well.
  • Never have your mobile phone on loud speaker during a lesson to avoid distracting the learner.
  • RACQ recommends that you do not use your phone at all during the lesson.

If you would like more detailed information of the roles and responsibilities for Supervisors, visit Steps to getting your licence on the Department of Transport and Main Roads website.

Do you meet the requirements of a good Supervisor?

A Supervisor can be anyone who:

  • Has held an open licence for at least 1 year for the class of vehicle you are teaching the learner to drive - your class can be found on your licence. Manual car (C) or automatic car (CA)
  • DOES NOT hold a probationary or restricted licence
  • DOES NOT have a suspended, cancelled or expired licence

You should NOT teach a learner if:

  • You lack confidence or are not sure how to teach your learner
    An accredited driving instructor can point you in the right direction. Check out keys2drive for a combined learner and supervisor driving lesson that is absolutely free!
  • You are not sure what skills you should be teaching your learner, or how to plan a lesson
    You can start by looking at planning and structuring a driving lesson. To find a driving instructor, view our RACQ Approved driving schools list.

You should revise your road rules knowledge and practical skills if:

Will you be a good role model?

Your learner driver may have developed driving behaviours from you long before they have even sat behind the wheel.

Remember that driving lessons do not stop just because the learner is no longer the one driving. The learner will be watching and listening to everything you do when they’re in the car with you, so make sure you are displaying positive driving behaviours at all times.

Understanding your learner’s abilities:

  • Listen to your learner and encourage them to ask questions
    This will ensure that you can completely understand their level of comfort when driving

  • Encourage the learner to verbalise their thoughts and actions whilst driving
    This will assist your understanding of the learner’s decision making and hazard perception

  • Listen for the types of conditions the learner is focusing on, such as traffic, travelling distances etc.
    This will help you gauge how good their planning skills are in response to these conditions. Use this information to help you when planning future lessons

Maximising your lesson time:

  • Give the learner enough opportunity to develop their driving skills in a variety of driving conditions
    This is the purpose of the 100 hours logbook requirement.
  • DO NOT perform the same drive every lesson
    Constantly change driving routes so your learner has experience in different driving environments. They can drive to and from school/work as long as you do more challenging weekend.
  • When they are ready, expand your driving lesson to more complex conditions
    Increased levels of traffic, wet weather and night time driving conditions for example

Helpful hints for logging hours:

  • The Learner needs to hold their licence for a minimum of 12 months
  • Build into your natural routine at least 2 hours worth of practical driving in each week - this way by the time they have 100 hours experience they will be legally allowed to take their driving test
  • The “logbook time” for the first 10 hours with a driving instructor is equal to 30 standard logbook hours
  • School holidays and weekends offer the opportunity for extended driving practice
  • Always review each lesson and outline improvements for the next session
  • Keep lessons interesting by varying locations, traffic conditions, and even practice vehicle if possible

Planning Lessons

Before planning a lesson for your learner you should consider which stage they are in based on how much they already know, how competently they can perform each manoeuvre and how aware they are of other road users.

The four stages in the learning to drive process:

  1. The basics

    • The Learner has not operated or driven a vehicle before

  2. Getting started

    • The Learner has an overview of the vehicle and how everything works

    • The Learner has just started practising some of the more basic driving manoeuvres

  3. Traffic Time

    • The Learner can confidently and competently handle the basic driving manoeuvres

    • The Learner is starting to practice more complex tasks and driving in heavier volumes of traffic

  4. Fine Tuning

    • The Learner can complete all driving manoeuvres and is practising them in all driving conditions

 General Guidelines:

  1. In the beginning try and keep practice sessions in open environments

    • Your location should be without a lot of traffic, such as drives in the early morning or quiet industrial estates on weekends. This will give your Learner more of an opportunity to focus on the operation of the vehicle, without getting overwhelmed by the volume of traffic around them.

  2. As the Learner becomes more confident and capable you can start introducing them to more complex and challenging situations.

Learning to Drive Timeline

The Department of Transport and Main roads has ordered the process of learning to drive into a logical progression.

Below is a summary of this information as well as some estimated timeframes for practicing the different skills. To view the correct way to perform all of these manoeuvres, watch the Practical Driving Skills videos. For a more detailed explanation, see the Steps in Learning to Drive section of the Department of Transport and Main Roads website.

The following information is a guide only. Everyone learns at different speeds, and RACQ does not recommend progressing to more complicated manoeuvres until the Learner feels comfortable to do so. 

STAGE OVERVIEW GUIDELINES

Stage 1 - The Basics

 

"Before you drive"

 

Approx. 1 - 2 hours

Depending on the knowledge of the Learner driver and familiarity with the vehicle. 

  • Vehicle tour and basic information on vehicle function
  • Safety instructions
  • Provide information regarding who is able to teach the Learner driver
  • On-road requirements of a Learner driver (alcohol limit, displaying of L-Plates, log book)
  • Ensure any unanswered questions are addressed. Honest open communication will ensure both of your safety
  • Before driving ensure your Learner driver is aware of all vehicle functions
  • Show the learner the outside vehicle as to where things are.

  • Show the learner the inside vehicle as to how things work (Wipers, lights etc)

  • Print the Stage 1 Checklist (PDF) for the information you should include in your lessons to complete Stage One

Stage 2 - Getting Started

   

“First steps to driving”

 

Approx. 2 - 20 hours

Stage 2 gives the Learner an opportunity to practise the basic vehicle operation they learnt in Stage 1.

  • How to safely turn the vehicle on & off
  • How to move the vehicle
  • Steering techniques & hand positioning
  • Safety checks & use of indicators
  • Moving off and stopping
  • Driving in straight line
  • Smooth speed control
  • Reversing
  • Clutch control
  • Turning right & left
  • Changing gears up & down
  • These first instructions should be completed slowly and precisely to ensure positive learner driving habits
  • Ensure your Learner driver can handle the basic controls when moving onto more stressful, complex driving situations in Stage three

  • Note: Only practise these manoeuvres on sealed road once Learner driver is confident

  • Print the Stage 2 Checklist (PDF) for a list of all information you should include in your lessons to complete Stage 2

Stage 3 - Traffic Time 

   

“Getting out in the traffic"

 

Approx. 21 - 50 hours

Stage 3 includes all the skills learnt in stage two but adds more complex manoeuvres and a heavier traffic environment  

  • Changing Lanes
  • Merging
  • Overtaking
  • Using mirrors in traffic
  • Adjusting speed in traffic
  • Observing and reacting to all traffic signs (give way, stop, roundabout)
  • Observing and reacting to traffic in front, behind and to the side
  • Hill Starts
  • U-Turns
  • Multi Point turns
  • Reverse Parking 
  • Ensure the Learner driver is observing all traffic signs, maintaining appropriate speed, glancing at mirrors and car controls and watching for surrounding traffic
  • Start your Learner driver with light traffic avoiding peak hour, busy times and ensure your Learner driver has all the required skills for your driving route

  • Print the Stage 3 Checklist (PDF) for a list of all information you should include in your lessons to complete Stage Three

Stage 4 - Fine Tuning 

   

"Mastering All Skills in All Situations"

 

Approx. 50 - 100 hours

Stage 4 incorporates all skills learnt in the prior stages in a range of challenging and varied traffic and road conditions. 

  • The Learner driver must be able to react to changes in the road environment quickly, and act appropriately and safely to avoid hazards
  • The Learner should be observing changes in traffic conditions well in advance, maintaining safe following distances and speeds
  • At the completion of Stage Four the Learner should be ready to apply for their provisional licence
  • Ensure the Learner driver is confident with stages 1-3 before proceeding to stage 4
  • By this stage the driver should have completed all skills listed above and now has time to practise and grow their confidence on the road
  • Print the Stage 4 Checklist (PDF) for a list of all information you should include in your lessons to complete Stage Four
  
 

Planning A Driving Lesson

You should also utilise our pre-drive checklist and post-drive checklist to help ensure your lessons are effective, and positively supporting the Learner in achieving their 100 hours of on-road practical driving experience.

Step 1 - Decide what you’re going to teach

You need to think, and talk to your Learner about:

  • What driving skills they have - don’t let them try something beyond their ability or force them to try something they’re not confident with. Consider carefully what stage your Learner driver is at
  • What driving skills they need to learn from the lesson
  • What needs to be taught or revised from previous lessons
  • What you’re going to teach first, moving from easier to core difficult tasks. Give them a small number of tasks that they can complete without making many mistakes– they will learn quicker

Step 2 - Rehearse driving tasks

For many Supervisors, it may have been a while since they have had to perform a number of the manoeuvres they are now teaching to a Learner driver. You can watch the Practical Driving Skills Videos  to view the correct way to perform all these manoeuvres.

Think about:

  • How you do a driving task (moving forward, turning)
  • How you will explain it to your learner
  • How a complex manoeuvre can be described in a logical and step-by-step way
  • How you will show them
  • Their limited experience – you need to teach and explain to them every step in a driving task

Step 3 - Communication

Think about the words and gestures you’re going to use when your Learner is driving.

You need to:

  • Give instructions well in advance and always try to use the same terms - use phrases like ‘at the next intersection turn right’ rather than ‘turn right at the next intersection’
  • Use the words ‘correct’, ‘ok’ or ‘yes’ rather than ‘right’
  • Hand signals can support your spoken instructions and help avoid confusion
  • Keep your language simple and speak in a calm voice
  • Use positive language to recognise what the Learner has done well
  • Agree with the Learner how you will communicate during the driving lesson before you get in the car
  • Allow the Learner an opportunity after the lesson to question what any terms or instructions meant during the lesson that they did not understand

It is important that you recognise there are different communication and support requirements for Learners as they progress through the different stages of learning to drive. By discussing this with your Learner at each lesson, you can ensure you are providing a sufficient level of communication and support without being too overwhelming.

Step 4 - Decide how you’re going to teach

When supervising try to:

  • Set aside enough time to allow for discussion before the drive, as detailed in the pre-drive checklist
  • Find a location and route that suits your Learner’s driving ability
  • Describe to your Learner what they’ll be doing
  • Encourage them to think about every step in the driving task before doing it
  • Demonstrate the driving task to them
  • Ask them to explain to you how they will do it
  • Let them try the task, making sure you talk them through it
  • Discuss how they went, giving positive feedback
  • Demonstrate the driving task again
  • Have them practice the driving task until they can do it well
  • Discuss how they felt when doing the driving task

Step 5 - Review the lesson and discuss the next one

Make sure you:

  • Leave time at the end of the driving lesson for review and to discuss the next lesson - this will give you time to give your learner feedback
  • Remain positive and encourage them to talk over any concerns that they may have
  • Reassure them (especially when starting out) that it takes a lot of experience and practice to be a safe driver

RACQ Drive Assist

Before teaching a Learner how to drive you should ensure that the habits and attitudes you have developed towards driving over the years are safe, still in line with Queensland road rules and suitable to pass on to your Learner.

RACQ offers a full day course for licensed drivers who want to revise their driving skills and build effective techniques and sensible attitudes for driving more safely in everyday situations.

Courses can be readily tailored to suit specific requirements, such as updating skills, knowledge and a positive attitude towards safer driving, before you pass them on to your Learner. At the end of each course a detailed written report is also provided to each participant.

The program aims to instil positive driving behaviours and a responsible philosophy towards ourselves and other road users.

Some of the key outcomes achieved through the Driver Education Program include:

  • An evaluation and update of the current road rules, and how to apply them
  • Identifying common driving faults through coaching and self-assessment - also knowing how to correct them so that you don’t pass them on to your learner
  • An overview of safe driving techniques - what to do to minimise crash risks
  • Improving your practical on-road hazard perception and risk awareness

More detailed information is available here on the RACQ Driver Education Program.