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Teaching Country Roads

November 12, 20141 Comment

Video Transcription

In this mini blog series I want to talk about country roads. Figures release recently show that 60% of fatal accidents happen on country roads which is huge. So what are we doing as instructors about teaching our pupils to drive on country roads? I live in the country and my nearest test centres are 20 miles away so my pupils have to drive on country roads and lanes.
What can we do as instructors if you do not live in the countryside? You could get maybe 3 pupils together for a four and a half hour lesson, charge them for an hour and a half each and take them into the country. Go and practice them; show them what the speed limits are; what the speed limits for other vehicles which I think is crucial. Articulated lorries, for example, are restricted to 40mph and we are restricted to 60mph. You are going to catch them up pretty quickly and they are pretty long and difficult to overtake.
Overtaking practice is difficult but as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, how about reciprocal overtaking with another driving instructor? For example, one car does 20mph like a tractor or a pedal bike might be doing. Then this speed could be increased to 30mph which could represent someone towing a horse box. You can keep overtaking each other at different speeds to show your pupils the difference in overtaking at a range of speeds and visions. Even if you don’t get to overtake very often then that shows a lesson in its self – maybe some accidents are caused by inappropriate overtaking rather than the act of overtaking.
Is overtaking worth it? One of the questions I ask my pupils is ‘what is the difference between queue jumping and overtaking?’. We might then watch the car behind. We can see up the road and we have a good few cars in front of us all queuing up behind a horse box for example. The chap behind us overtakes us. Is that overtaking or queue jumping? We are all waiting to overtake the horse box as well. Get your students to think about this on a deeper level. They may think that if someone did that at the till in Tesco they wouldn’t be very happy about it. This method helps the pupil to think about their actions once they have passed their test. Are they overtaking or just queue jumping? This is quite a thought provoking questions as we don’t get to practice overtaking very often, especially on country roads and we are not really replicating the proper sequences and how long it takes to carry out this manoeuvre.
Even if you live in the centre of London you can get to some country roads within about an hour. Pull some pupils together and go practice overtaking, talk about what the rules are and the clues. For example, if they look across the fields and see a church it is good indication that they are coming into a village; mud on the roads would indicate a tractor could possibly be ahead.
Let’s get out there and practice these with our pupils as it is not about passing the test but post-test driving regardless of whether they live in the country or not. Also talk to your pupils about what it would be like if it was dark. Maybe consider starting the lesson in daylight and finishing later when it is dark.
Getting two or three pupils in a car is a really great asset to them even if they don’t know each other. It starts great conversations that can be very powerful for you and very powerful for your pupils.

Filed in: Teaching Learners
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About the Author ()

Blaine Walsh is the owner of, has been a driving instructor trainer for 15 years and a driving instructor for over 20 years. When he first qualified Blaine admits his was not a very good instructor, became disillusioned, was not retaining pupils and not making any money, so he quit full time teaching. After spending time self-reflecting, he had a light bulb moment and realised that he needed to put more explanation, effort and enthusiasm into teaching learners. Since then he has not looked back and is now regarded as one of the top trainers in the country.
  • Angus

    Really good ideas and a very important topic as the country roads are so dangerous

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