With winter just around the corner and weather conditions likely to take a turn for the worse, it’s important that driving instructors prepare for the changes ahead. Between nervous new students who might not know how to drive in a torrential downpour, to those close to their test who still need a little guidance now and then, it’s crucial to make sure that your students are prepared and most importantly safe during adverse conditions. If you’re looking for tips on how to prepare for this year, we’re on hand to help – here is our guide to preparing for Winter ‘22.
First things first, you need to make sure that you are insured. Without the right insurance policies, you could find yourself facing costly compensation claims and bills if things go wrong along the way. Of course, you’ll need the right licences and car insurance for teaching, but have you thought about driving instructors’ public liability insurance?
When you’re out on the road, whether with a student or between lessons, you always have to be aware of your surroundings and how a lesson is going. Any injury or damage caused by you or your business, including public damage, third party injury even just by opening a car door onto them or even injury to your students, such as with a faulty car or by closing a door on their fingers, could all be claimed for. Having a good liability insurance policy in place will protect your business financially against claims made against you for injury, illness and damage caused by you or your business.
Remember Your Own Lessons
Even driving instructors can forget their driving lessons over the years and it can be easy to settle into bad habits over the years. However, when it comes to both driving and teaching in poor weather, it’s important to make sure you remember back on your own lessons as well as up-to-date guidance. You should be wearing dry and comfortable shoes and encouraging your students to do the same, as well as making sure you and your students are increasing the gaps between you and the vehicle in front. You should also be encouraging gentler braking and being prepared to do the same with the dual brakes earlier than you typically would if you need to in an emergency.
Take Advantage Of Poor Weather
While poor weather certainly comes with its challenges, it’s also a great opportunity to teach your students lessons that they will need when they do pass and get out onto the roads themselves. A student who learned and passed over the summer, for example, might have minimal if any experience with driving in wet or icy conditions beyond what is written on paper. Taking the weather as it comes and using them as a teaching tool can not only help your students build confidence in their driving but give them valuable skills even beyond the test itself.
Take Things Slow And Patiently
As you know, students can be nervous when learning how to drive but this can be increased tenfold when conditions are rough. Having increased patience with your students and with other road users around you is crucial. Your students will often feed off of your mood, so if you are tense, they will be too. Being relaxed but alert to what is going on around you can help you to better teach while still maintaining the crucial safety of you, your student and other road users. Taking things a little more slowly can also be beneficial, particularly with students that may not have much or any experience with bad conditions – take the time to stop and explain things fully before heading out onto the road, and be prepared to bring things to a stop in safe places along the way.
Consider Different Routes
To follow on from the point above, you could consider taking different or quieter routes than your typical driving lessons in order to keep things as stress-free as possible for your students. Even adept students might benefit from a simpler drive while learning how to navigate ice or rain, while new students could benefit from empty or quiet roads. If you have students that are brand new to driving or are still early in their lessons, you might find that rearranging lessons in particularly adverse conditions, such as icy roads, is safest until they develop their skills further.
Overall, the biggest tip we can give you is to use and trust your own judgement. Is the weather too bad for learner drivers? Is it a good but safe learning opportunity? Or would you prefer to rearrange lessons with nervous drivers until their confidence develops? Having a good insurance policy in place can help to protect you financially, but you ultimately have to ensure that you are keeping yourself, your students and other road users safe too.
For more information about driving instructor’s insurance, get in touch with Ashburnham Insurance on FREEPHONE 0800 1696137.