Driving learners crazy: The habits of driving teachers harming their learner’s chance of success

17 November 2022
  • New research from Allianz Australia has revealed that the learning-to-drive experience is equally as stressful for learners (66 per cent) and individuals teaching them (65 per cent)
  • Minimising stress has a big impact on passing driving tests with 76 per cent of learners who had a stress-free experience passing on their first attempt
  • 60 per cent of those surveyed who were doing the teaching admit they didn’t read up on road rules before teaching and 56 per cent didn’t reflect on their own bad habits. Many learners agree, with 41 per cent saying their teachers didn’t always set a good example when driving themselves
  • With a proven correlation between less stress and test success, Allianz Australia has partnered with Angelo Russo, a Driving Instructor for EzLicence to provide helpful tips for individuals teaching someone to drive – Tips for the Teaching Seat

New research from Allianz Australia has shown learning to drive is a stress-test, surprisingly not just for those learning, but for those teaching them too. Allianz has revealed two thirds of both learners and teachers surveyed were stressed by the experience. The findings also exposed that minimising stress is crucial, as three quarters (76 per cent) of learners surveyed who had a stress-free experience, passed on their first attempt.

In response, Allianz has partnered with Angelo Russo, a Driving Instructor for EzLicence with almost thirteen years’ experience, to develop Tips for the Teaching Seat – a helpful guide for supervising someone learning to drive. The guide’s release follows the new research revealing 76 per cent of surveyed learners pass their driving test on their first attempt when it’s stress free.

Allianz Australia’s Chief General Manager, Consumer, Michael Winter, said, “Learning to drive can be a stressful situation for everyone involved, so we feel it’s important to provide those in the teaching seat with readily available educational resources. At Allianz, we’re aiming to better prepare both learners and those sitting alongside them as they embark on this important milestone in so many young Australians’ lives and make them feel more secure in the process.”

Key to feeling secure is to ensure you’re properly insured for learners, however Allianz’s research shows 26 per cent of those surveyed who were doing the teaching didn’t check their existing insurance policy at all, while 15 per cent checked and had to arrange a new policy.

“As we approach the festive season and school holidays, when we often see more cars on the road, we encourage Australians to conduct a policy health check; and for those using the time off work to teach, check the vehicle has the correct cover for learner drivers before heading out on the road. Having this security is a sure-fire way to reduce the stress of the situation,” concluded Winter.

So, what’s causing this stress? Beyond the natural tension of being in an unfamiliar and intimidating situation, the Allianz research has revealed it’s often their teacher’s behaviour, with some of the most stress-inducing habits of teachers being a visibly tense posture (20 per cent), impatience (15 per cent) and raising their voice (9 per cent).

Interestingly, teachers are much harsher on themselves, with those surveyed admitting that they were visibly tense (52 per cent), had raised their voice (29 per cent) and grabbed the door handle (14 per cent). Despite these moments of tension, the research also showed that learners and parents are understanding, with a third wishing they were more appreciative, empathetic, and patient with their teacher’s/student’s efforts.

EzLicence Driving Instructor Angelo Russo is passionate about teaching young Australians to be confident on the road and knows first-hand the impact of teaching behaviour on test success.

“The Allianz research findings have shone an important light on how ill-equipped many teachers are before stepping into the passenger seat. However, through good preparation, a lot of the stress-factors the research identified can be addressed, making learning to drive a much smoother and successful process for all.”

Unfortunately, many teachers aren’t properly prepared, with 60 per cent of those surveyed admitting they didn’t read up on road rules, and 56 per cent not reflecting on their own driving to eliminate bad habits, the result: learners often felt their teachers didn’t always set a good example when driving.

“I’m thrilled to have partnered with Allianz and develop my Tips for the Teaching Seat as most Australians have only a working knowledge of the road rules and often have developed some bad habits over the years. Do you always signal when leaving a roundabout? These poor driving behaviours are easily passed on to your learner when they’re in the passenger seat and are enough to see them fail on their driving test. I encourage all teachers to lead by example,” concluded Russo.

Learn more about Tips for the Teaching Seat, with information, insights and tips to support individuals teaching someone to drive.

With little instruction or tips available for teachers, Allianz has partnered with Angelo Russo, Driving Instructor for EzLicence, on helpful tips for individuals teaching someone when they learn to drive. Here are Angelo’s Tips for the Teaching Seat: 
When coaching a learner, if you can't see out the rear window, you're only getting half the picture. Get yourself an additional rear vision mirror to ensure you can also see what’s behind you. Just make sure it doesn’t obstruct the driver’s view!
Plan the journey and make it appropriate to the learner’s ability and experience. Start with simpler routes during quieter times and increase the difficulty as the learner driver improves. Also, try to have as much variety as possible in the places you visit.
You need to recognise that your learner will feed off your energy. Before you agree to take your learner out, make sure that you’re in the right frame of mind, and don’t complicate things by inviting anyone else to join you, especially your learner’s friends. It’s natural to be nervous but maintaining a calm façade is vital to a productive coaching session.
It’s easy to fall into bad habits as an experienced driver and those behaviours are easily passed on to your learner when they’re in the passenger seat. Step back and analyse your driving to ensure you’re leading by example.
Unfortunately, accidents happen regardless of experience and beginners are no exception. So, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is adequately insured for a learner driver before heading out.
Preparing your learner for different driving conditions is vital. Show them where the hazard lights are, how to turn on and off the high beams, and adjust the speed of the windscreen wipers. This will help them better navigate those unexpected moments.
The research was commissioned by Allianz and conducted by The Strategies in accordance with Australian Polling Council standard. The survey is a nationally representative sample comprised of 1000 Australian drivers aged 18+. Within the sample of 1000, 408 had experience as an amateur driving instructor. This study was conducted online between 16/9/22 and 18/9/22. Following completion of the survey, data was weighted by gender and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates.
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