An Overview of Driving Education Principles (DEP)

It is important to accept that a fault or skill-based approach for driving instructors does not inspire students to learn on a deeper and more meaningful level. Once we agree on that, then we can begin to deal with the challenging task of coaching students to drive more efficiently.

Posted by Head Coach - February 20, 2019

It really doesn’t take too much effort to coach the student driver so that they can understand the effects of their attitudes, principles and values on the how they control their vehicles.

Without a concrete coaching framework, the student driver will simply drive in order to make an impression and pass the driving test. They work on 'seeming' to be competent, thoughtful drivers rather than 'being' competent, thoughtful drivers. As soon as they pass the test, their true attitude will come out and they begin the expressive stage of learning to drive. This can have disastrous consequences especially if they are not aware what their strengths and weaknesses are as well as what areas they need to develop. This is where the framework of DEP comes into play.

There are seven core principles involved in the DEP framework. The four are foundational principles and three aptitude principles. The foundational principles of the framework are as follows:


Principle One – Maneuvering the Vehicle

Principle one is focused on the skills needed to control a vehicle. This is where the student driver will learn the basics of maintaining a vehicle including:

  • How to properly use the controls
  • How to accelerate and use the brake on level roads and during different traffic situations
  • How to properly change gears and control the clutch
  • How to deal with junctions, pedestrian crossings and roundabouts
  • Where to properly position the vehicle
  • How to properly steer the vehicle
  • How to assess the road by looking sideways, at the front and back, and most especially;
  • How to carry out the above mentioned maneuvers properly


Principle Two – Connecting with Other Road Users

This Principle allows the student driver to learn how to connect with other road users and to grasp different traffic situations. Among other things, this involves learning how to:

  • Actively scan the road
  • Perceive hazardous situations
  • Use speedy judgment and high-precision decision-making in various traffic situations, and;
  • Identify vehicle limitations and eco-safe driving


Principle Three – Context and Goals of the Journey

This Principle is journey-specific, wherein the student driver will learn how to:

  • Identify the reasons for their journey
  • Plan the routes to take
  • Be aware of the distractions
  • Identify the influences of their passengers
  • Carry out eco-safe driving, which is specific to their journey
  • Understand the effects of alcohol and drugs on driving


Principle Four – Skills for Living and Goals for Life

This Principle will focus more on the personality or attitude of the driver especially their values and beliefs that will affect their behavior in general and specifically their behavior while driving. The student drivers will learn the following:

  • Crash statistics
  • Typical risky behaviors
  • Outlook or viewpoints about risks
  • Personal values and belief systems
  • Personal goals for their lives, and;
  • Personal skills for living