Want to get out of the house as the coronavirus restrictions ease? Why not leverage your driving experience and become a Learner Driver Mentor?
The TAC L2P Learner Driver Mentor Program assists young people who need help to get their minimum driving hours done and obtain their licence. After a period of postponement due to COVID-19, the program is reopening from Tuesday 9 June with some temporary restrictions and now needs more volunteer mentor drivers to keep up with demand.
How to help young people learn to drive
Volunteer L2P Learner Driver Mentor, Margaret Caffyn, shared the following insights into helping young people learn to drive:
With beginning learner drivers, I stick to less trafficked times, like early Saturday or Sunday.
Industrial areas with wide streets and little traffic are good for new drivers, especially those that are nervous.
Once my learners’ skills are good enough, we practice getting on and off a freeway. People use freeways a lot, so they need to be confident on them.
Another Volunteer L2P Learner Driver Mentor, Barry Smith also recommends a logical progression through driving challenges:
During our lessons, I teach U-turns, angle parking, 3-point turns and reverse parallel parking. It is important to build up their confidence slowly. Quiet streets in their early stage of their learning building up to busier streets and more cars to contend to with. Closer to their driving test, I like to take them to the testing area where they will be attempting to pass.
Highlights of the Program
Margaret Caffyn says that becoming a mentor driver has been an eye-opening experience:
L2P mentor volunteering has helped me to keep busy in my retirement and brings a sense of achievement.
I have met someone wonderful people, both other mentors and learner drivers, and the program has reminded me how sheltered and lucky my life has been. My very first learner lost her mother when she was six and her father when she was eight; she missed out on many of the opportunities I took for granted.
Barry Smith told us that helping young people learn to drive has been personally rewarding for him:
I find the L2P program very rewarding. Now retired, I have time to help those kids who are unable to complete their 120 hours for a variety of reasons, so that they can gain their P-plates.
A driver’s license is often essential to secure apprenticeships and other employment, and not only does this help them, but I also enjoy discussing all sorts of topics, hearing their views and seeing them succeed.
Learning to drive creates opportunities for young people
The program gives me an opportunity to help those whose circumstances make it difficult to get a licence. I know that the ability to drive will give them schooling or employment opportunities that would otherwise be difficult for them to access.
Youngsters are our future; let’s give them the best start we can. I hope I can pass on some of my experience to be a safe and a courteous driver after they get their license.