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Goal-Focused Driving Instructor Training:
Driving Under Pressure

In this article, we explore the impact of pressure on driving performance through the experience of Kevin, a learner driver.

Delivering Driving Lessons While Students Feel Under Pressure

During one lesson, Kevin expressed his desire to practise manoeuvres, so I suggested he complete three manoeuvres; turning in the road, reversing left, and bay parking; within an hour, to a standard he considered test-ready. He planned his route and set off confidently, but as the lesson progressed, the pressure began to affect his performance.

The Driving Lesson Scenario with Kevin

Kevin started the lesson with enthusiasm, planning his route out loud and driving confidently to the car park. "Alright, first I'll head to the car park near the supermarket for the bay park," Kevin said, thinking aloud.

"Sounds like a solid plan," I replied. "Remember, take your time and focus on each manoeuvre."

After completing his first bay park, I asked, "How do you think you did?"

Kevin frowned slightly. "I don't think that was up to test standard. Let me try again."

As time passed, Kevin began to show signs of stress. He became tense, his driving was less confident, and he started making mistakes, such as not checking his mirrors and stopping in unsuitable places for manoeuvres. "You seem a bit tense, Kevin. How are you feeling?" I asked.

"I'm feeling the pressure," Kevin admitted. "I want to get this right, but it's getting harder to focus."

"That's normal," I reassured him. "Remember, it's just an exercise. Let's focus on the process rather than the time."

Learning To Drive Under Pressure

After the session, we parked to discuss the task and his feelings throughout the hour. "There's more to this driving business than just driving, isn't there?" Kevin said, reflecting on the lesson.

"Absolutely," I replied. "How did you feel during the manoeuvres?"

Kevin sighed. "Even though I knew it was just an exercise, I felt real pressure. I planned well initially, but as time went on, I started making mistakes."

We discussed how he could manage similar situations in the future, especially when driving with friends. Kevin understood that pressure narrowed his focus and made it harder to keep track of his surroundings. "So, if I feel overwhelmed, it's okay to pull over and take a break?" Kevin asked.

"Exactly," I confirmed. "It's important to recognise when your focus is narrowing and take steps to refocus. This will help you stay safe on the road."

This experience highlighted the importance of understanding how pressure impacts driving performance. By recognising the influence of thoughts and feelings on behaviour, learners can develop better self-awareness and coping strategies. Goal-focused driving instruction goes beyond technical skills, helping learners understand their personalities and how to manage themselves under various conditions. This approach ensures they are well-prepared for real-world driving challenges, promoting safe and confident driving habits.

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