21: The Instructor’s use of controls

Warning – this unit was last revised in 2007

Unit 21: The Instructor’s use of controls

Research Material:
The Driving Instructor’s Handbook

“This aspect refers to all driver operated controls. (Steering, indicators, brakes etc.) Should only be used when necessary. The pupil should be told when and why they have been used. The PDI must not be controlling the pupil all or most of the time.” – From the examiner’s marking guidelines (ADI1).

We have all been in a car with a driver who makes us nervous – where we actually reach for a brake pedal which isn’t there! Well we’ve got one now – but their use must be thought of as a safety net and nothing more.

Any use of the controls by the instructor must be seen as being retrospective, and therefore not positive – this is a serious instructional mistake – ask yourself how it could have been avoided. They are for emergency use only.

Your most effective dual control is what you say, and the tone in which it is said. A firm sharp ‘off the gas, and brake firmly please’, will often have as much of an effect as using the brake pedal, and though your customer may well feel that they have made a mistake (if it’s got this far – they have), they will feel slightly better about the fact that they fixed it themselves.

Using the dual controls can be demoralising, but it is sometimes necessary. When the duals are used – you must always make it clear that they have been used, and why. Many customers leave instructors saying ‘I didn’t realise, but he was doing loads of stuff for me – it made me feel that I wasn’t as far on as I thought’.

There is one important safety point with the dual controls and that is that when you push the instructor’s pedals down – the customer’s pedals will also go down. With the brake pedal this is not a problem, but with the clutch pedal this can lead to broken toes if their foot is underneath their clutch pedal at the time.

AVOID using the clutch pedal in an emergency – brake the car to a stall if necessary.

Discussion Points:
The emergency stop
The rear end accident at roundabouts and emerging
Clear instructions ‘Brake’ or ‘Slow Down’?
Good use of dual controls for demonstrations

Exercises:
Vocally and manually preventing your customer pulling out into traffic.
Vocally and manually helping with steering problems.
Demonstrating a Reversing exercise from the passenger seat.

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