This article will help you think about what makes a, “good driver” and whether you could improve your own standard or driving.
So, what is a good driver?
In driver education, we are encouraged to use the, “Goals for Driver Education (GDE) matrix” to help us improve drivers. This is a research based learning model which treats each driver as an individual. On the GDE matrix there are higher and lower levels of driver competence .
On the lowest level of the GDE matrix are car handling skills in any given driving situation. That is, that being able to control the vehicle safely is the most basic competence of a driver.
In order to know whether you can handle the vehicle safely, self evaluation is needed. For example, do you need someone to explain to you how to operate the controls? Or can you operate them smoothly and independently, unconscious In your competence.
On the second lowest level of the GDE we have things like your ability to integrate yourself into the driving environment around you. Is your car always perfectly positioned and in sync with other road users? Or, do you regularly find yourself in, “no mans land.”
Do you have the ability to evaluate this or would professional guidance help you? Do you understand risk increasing factors and how to handle them e.g. rain or snow?
The bottom 2 levels of the GDE are generally regarded as the two levels that are required in order for someone to reach driving test standard. This doesn’t guarantee that a driver will go on to have a safe driving career. To be clear, the DVSA regard a, “good” driver as a safe driver.
When we get to levels 3 and 4 of the GDE the more we concentrate the individual. We start to look at personality traits and any risk increasing factors in relation to them. So for example, are you easily distracted? Are you a risk taker? What would be the consequences of that personality style on your driving?
From a personality view, we are aiming for an emotionally neutral driver who is neither over or under confident.
As someone who is trying to influence a student’s thoughts on achieving their driving goals, it’s not up to me to tell someone how to be. If I did, It would most likely be perceived as a lecture, and we all know how we would feel if we were the ones on the receiving end!
The best approach is to raise the client’s own awareness of their own driving and themselves is through questioning in relation to the GDE matrix. A one way lecture can close down lines off communication. Communication between the coach and the student needs to be open, honest and authentic. The best way to raise a clients own awareness comes through the form of an engaging and thought provoking conversational style (amongst other methods.) It is  similar to the way in which I have engaged you, to help you evaluate your own standard of driving.