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DSA sees sense on steering… but have Instructors?

After much recent pressure from within the professional driver coaching industry, the DSA have made an important amendment to their driving test marking guidelines.

steering wheelIt seems to be a little known fact that a driver taking their driving test will not be faulted for simply failing to adopt the ‘pull-push’ steering technique.  In truth, this has been the case for over 20 years, but the ‘pull-push’ method has become so ingrained within the industry that many driving instructors still vehemently insist on its use.

A new paragraph has appeared in the latest amendments to the DT1 (DSA Examiners Guidance Notes) with regard to ‘control’.  You can access the full document here.

“To ensure uniformity, when conducting car or vocational tests and ADI qualifying examinations, only assess the candidate’s ability to control the vehicle and do not consider it as a fault if, for example, they do not hold the steering wheel at ten to two or quarter to three or if they cross their hands when turning the steering wheel. The assessment should be based on whether the steering is smooth, safe and under control.” (Crown Copyright)

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‘Driving Instructor’ to become ‘Driving Coach’?

The industry is changing, and it’s about time!  Out with the old-fashioned and largely ineffective teaching methods, and in with the successful new coaching style.  Some may argue that their current instructional style is proving very effective, but they largely base this claim on their pass rates.

But pass rates mean nothing when young drivers pass their tests and go on to have crashes.  The facts:

  • An 18-year-old driver is more than three times as likely to be involved in a crash as a 48 year-old.
  • One in five new drivers has a crash within six months of passing their test.

So at long last, it appears that the DSA are supporting the approaches that many driver trainers like myself have been pushing for for years – progressing from short-term instructional methods which tend to help learners pass the driving test, towards more active-learning methods which prepare learners for solo driving and to foster ongoing learning after passing their driving test.

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