What’s it like being an engage driving instructor?

The engage driving initiative is a non-profit scheme which runs across Cheshire and Merseyside, and is supported by Merseyside & Cheshire Road Safety Partnership.

The aim of the scheme is to the reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads by helping driving instructors teach young adults to be smarter drivers.

Any driving instructor in the area can join the engage scheme where they are given advanced training modules to deliver to their pupils as part of their normal driving lessons.

Jane Rooney runs the Jane Rooney Driving School in Upton, Wirral has been a great supporter of the project.

She tells us how she benefited from the engage training and how it has helped her pupils become smarter drivers.

Jane Rooney - engage driving instructor wirral, cheshire, merseyside

Q: Why do you feel we need engage, why would a young driver benefit from it?

A: We are trained to give our young drivers the knowledge and confidence to drive safely.

We tackle lots of different subjects like peer pressure, common road issue scenarios and making the right speed choices, to name but a few.

Giving them the confidence to not only pass their test but also be a safe and courteous driver.

The training meetings we attend give us a more cognitive insight on how to develop ways of thinking, which we pass on to our pupils.

The emphasis is always on promoting road safety both in how we teach and the information we provide.

Q: Do you have to do any additional training to become an engage driving Instructor?

A: Yes, I did a Client Centred Learning (CCL) course with Ian Edwards.

All Engage Driving instructors are sent on this course.

It made me realise I needed to change the way I approached driver training.

When I joined Engage I was a PDI (Potential Driving Instructor).

I remember feeling, will I have the confidence to take that leap in to Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) status.

But the staff were really helpful and on hand to answer any questions I had.

I’m glad to say I am now a fully qualified ADI.

Q: When you discuss ‘Distraction’ and ‘Fatigue’ with the learners, do they give you feedback to the information?

A: Yes, all engage driving ADIs receive resources to use with their learners, including video modules.

We ask learners a series of questions relating to ‘distractions when driving’ and watch the short video.

The pupils learn so much from this. As an example, a good percentage of them don’t think using ‘bluetooth’ is a distraction as you’re not holding the phone.

These discussions help them think twice about the meaning of distraction and take a different view about using a phone while driving.

I asked one pupil what a distraction is? He answered ‘My Mum.’

I ask how is your mum a distraction? He said, ‘When I am watching TV and my mum shouts my name, my attention is on what mum is wanting.’

‘How is this distracting you?’ I asked.

He said, ‘I have to listen to what Mum wants and miss what’s said on TV.’

What could distract you when driving? He said, ‘Phone’.

So how can you prevent this? He replied, ‘Turn if off, put out of reach.’

When you ask the question in an everyday scenario and then bring their thinking round to driving they understand more fully the safety issues.

‘Fatigue’ is discussed in the same way as ‘distraction’, and not many of them truly understand what it is.

They don’t comprehend the dangers of driving fatigued until we have watched the video and discussed it.

Q: How has being an engage driving instructor benefitted you?

A: It’s helped me expand my existing skills, given me more confidence and a massive insight into how to teach pupils.

I feel assured that I am teaching young drivers to be safe on the road and to understand that there are real consequences to their actions.

If you’re looking for driving lessons or your interested in becoming an engage driving instructor click here to find out more.

This article first appeared on the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership website.