When learning how to drive, you will be spending most of your time focussing your attention on your driving and the road ahead. You might have an instructor talking to you, but they will be an experienced passenger, who knows exactly when to talk, and when to let you concentrate. Friends and family on the other hand, are not always so considerate.
Remind non-driving passengers that you need quiet
Most people find that their attitude as a passenger changes as soon as they take their first driving lesson. Being a driver, even a learner, makes you much more aware of your surroundings while in a car. By the time you get around to taking your test, it is difficult to think back to how you felt in a car before you could drive. While passengers who are also drivers will (hopefully) be more aware of when you need a bit of quiet to concentrate, those who are not fellow drivers may not be able to recognise that they need to stop talking and give you time to think. Lay out some ground rules about times they need to be quiet before setting off, and don’t be afraid to remind your passengers that you need quiet if they do not stick to these.
Family can be worse than friends
You might think that your friends would be more of a distraction than family in your car, but that’s not always the case. When travelling with friends, the chances are, most of the conversation will just be chit-chat that you don’t really have to concentrate on, and can ask them to stop at any time. What’s worse is chauffeuring your parents around, listening to them give you information that you actually need to take in like “don’t forget your gran’s birthday next week” or “how’s your prep going for your next exam?”. You may also feel like you are less able to speak up if you want them to stop. Don’t be afraid to do so though, as showing them you need to concentrate is showing them you are a good driver.
Two is not always better than one
Having one passenger can be enough of a distraction. Having two (or more) can be even worse. Not only will they be talking to you, they will be talking to each other. Remind them that quiet means quiet, and if you ask them to stop talking for a moment, that it means not just no talking to you, it means no talking full stop.
Turn the stereo down…or off
We all have that friend who fancies themselves as the next winner of X-Factor, and driving with them as a passenger in your car can become a huge distraction. Remember, you are doing them a favour by taking them in your car, so it is up to you what you listen to, and how loud you listen to it. If singing along is likely to be a problem, either put on a podcast or talk radio station, or better yet, turn it off altogether.
Being a responsible driver is part of being a good driver so be sure that your passengers know that you are in control of getting them to their destination safely and if that means some quiet concentration time then they need to respect that. Building up a no claims history can also help lower the premium on your car insurance as a young driver so be sure to put safety and your concentration first when you are out on the road.