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Graham Hooper – How to use Risk Management for your lessons, Part 3 & Standards Check

How to use Risk Management for your lessons, Part 3 & Standards

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How to use Risk management on your driving lessons, Part 3 & Standards Check.

The secret is not to change what you usually do in your driving lessons so that your clients are used to what you normally do. It is extremely important and essential to any on-road driver training situations that both you and your client understand where the responsibility lies for the safety of themselves, passengers in the vehicle and all other road users.

I like to call this job sharing in my training and there are two elements to risk management in any training situation.

  1. At all times you the PDI/ADI are responsible for your safety, the safety of your client & the safety of other road users. This includes when needed taking physical control of the vehicle by using any of the car controls including your dual controls. If you fail to do this you will fail your examination and you are failing your client.
  2. You are also responsible for ensuring that you are developing your client’s awareness that as a driver they also have responsibilities for managing the risk.

If you make the above 2 points clear from the very first driving lesson, this will help you manage the risk and potentially reduce the amount of safety-critical situations that could develop during your training. Some pupils tend to defer responsibility to their driving instructor. They believe that there are no consequences to their actions as they are learning to drive in your car. A simple statement about speeding offences can help them realise they are responsible in law as the driver.

Let’s investigate the first statement in Risk Management.

Did the trainer ensure that the pupil fully understood how the responsibility for risk would be shared?

The balance of responsibility will change during a lesson between you and then the client because the environment you are training in changes and as the pupil learns you will transfer more responsibility to them. Let me give you two probable examples:

  • A pupil who is very new to driving in your vehicle fitted with dual controls. You should be quite detailed when sharing responsibility and it is worthwhile asking your client to clarify their understanding back to you. You could consider a statement like thisAt all times I expect you to drive with care and be responsible for your driving. You should be aware of other road users and control the car. However, I will draw situations to your attention by asking simple questions if I feel you are not aware of a potential hazard. If you are then struggling I will talk you through the situation, it is important that you listen to me. I will only physically intervene if the situation is becoming safety-critical. I may either use my dual controls or I could adjust your steering, please try to relax if this happens. We will then find some safe and convenient to discuss what happened and devise a strategy so that the situation doesn’t reoccur.

    You could find yourself training a full license holder in their vehicle. You could say something along these lines:
     This is your vehicle and you have full responsibility for managing road safety. I may ask you questions just to clarify why you have made a decision or to establish your reasoning. These questions do not mean that you are driving badly, as your trainer I am interested in your thought processes and your observations. I will try not to distract you with too many questions as I want to allow you time to concentrate and not become distracted. I will though inform you if I feel you have missed any potential safety-critical situations and we can discuss them

These opening statements are not the be-all and end-all of risk management. You must manage the risk throughout the training. You will need to focus on your client and constantly assess their driving. You can use the MSPSGL routine as your checklist on approach to any hazards. This allows you to identify the risk early and put in preventative measures so the situation does not become safety-critical. However, if a situation does occur you will analyse the problem as soon as possible and will create a strategy to prevent it from happening again. This may require you to be more proactive when managing the risk. If this is the case you will need to inform and clarify with your client the changes you have made to managing the risk.

Under test conditions, there are no circumstances in which you can assume that the issue of risk management has been dealt with. Even after the opening statements you still need to show that you are actively managing the risk.

Indications that you are could include:

  • Asking the client what is meant by risk
  • Ask the client what sort of situations can create risk, such as alcohol, drugs, tiredness, running late….
  • Explaining clearly what is expected of the client and what the client can expect of you.
  • Clarify that the client understands what is required of them when there is a change of plan or they are asked to repeat an exercise.

Indications of lack of competence may include;

  • Failing to address any risk management issue
  • Giving incorrect guidance about where responsibility lies for managing the risk
  • Failing to explain when dual controls would be used
  • Undermining the client’s responsibility for being safe and responsible, for example, agreeing with risk attitudes around cyclists or alcohol use.
  • Asking a client to repeat an exercise without clarifying where responsibility lies and your and their role in managing the risk.

Look out for my next blog on ‘were directions and instructions given to the pupil clear and given in good time’ and our upcoming workshops.



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