Isn’t it always the way? You’re on your way somewhere: home after a long day at the office, or on an errand you just have to get done quickly, when you find yourself stuck behind a student driver. Argh, why do they have to drive so slowly and timidly? Who let them on the road anyway?
As your frustration starts to grow, AMA driving instructor, Terry Ma says it’s important to take a deep breath and have a bit of patience with Alberta’s new drivers. He also offers the following tips when you come across a student driver.
Take a Trip Down Memory Lane
When you come across a student driver on the road, Ma says, “It’s good to think back to when you first got your licence and how nervous you were behind the wheel.” Can you see the white knuckles you had during your first few lessons?
Now the shoe’s on the other foot, and these new drivers are in the same boat as you were, once upon a time. “When you were learning to drive, you didn’t want someone tailgating you, or honking his or her horn, or cursing you out because you were in the way?” Ma says, “So, why not show that same kind of respect today as you share the road with a new driver, or whoever is out there?”
A Little Space Goes a Long Way
When you come across a new driver, the best thing you can do is to give them the space and the room to do their driving. Ma says, “You need to remember that you’re dealing with a driver that…has maybe got all of an hour, maybe two, of driving experience behind the wheel. They have no clue how to drive the car most of the time.” Letting your frustration get the better of you and reacting by either cutting off a new driver or tailgating them is only going to make matters worse.
Ma reminds us that new drivers are nervous to begin with and when more experienced drivers act aggressively towards them, it’s anyone’s guess how they’ll react. “They might accidentally hit the brakes because they panic,” Ma says, “or they apply the brakes really hard and suddenly a collision has occurred.” Ma says that other drivers don’t think of the dangers involved, “they just think of it as an inconvenience…and if they could actually just give us more room, let the drivers do what they have to do, we’ll try to stay out of your way as much as possible,” say Ma.
Patience is a Virtue
At the end of the day, we’re always going to be sharing the road with student drivers. It’s a right of passage for all of us, and part of the transition we go through as we gain independence. This is a fun and exciting time in the lives of new drivers, so let’s help them enjoy the experience by showing a little patience, and maybe leaving a few minutes early, so we’re not in such a rush.
And, if you want to brush up on a driving skill or two, consider taking one of our Driver Improvement courses.