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Did The Trainer Ensure That The Pupil Fully Understood How The Responsibility For Risk Would Be Shared?

The first competence under Risk Management is to ensure that the learner can focus on achieving the goal and developing their needs whilst being fully aware of how and when they will be supported. To develop their needs in achieving the goal and in keeping the car safe. 

Learning to drive is an incredibly complex task and it’s a testament to the flexibility and efficiency of the human brain that we can perform such a task. There are, however, numerous human factors that we must overcome or simply survive whilst developing our skills from the unconscious incompetence stage of learning to the unconscious competence stage. 

Breaking down the task and dividing the responsibilities ensures that the learner can focus on their learning objectives however the act of focus itself places greater demands on a person. This increased attention on the task is manifested by an attentional bottleneck, in terms of the amount of data the brain can process visually, for example, each second less than 1% of the visual intake enters the bottleneck, often leading to attentional blindness. how many times have you asked your pupil in a lesson ‘Did you not see that?’ Perhaps they were too focused to process it.

Ensuring that your pupil isn’t overloaded with too many different tasks whilst learning, enables learning and development to take place. Multi-tasking is not a particular strength for human beings in any case, let alone a scenario where one is attempting to learn to control and manoeuvre a complex machine at high speeds whilst interacting with other road users and hazards.
Multitasking is when a human being is attempting to perform two or more tasks simultaneously. However, research shows that when multitasking, people make more mistakes or perform their tasks more slowly. Perhaps explaining one of the reasons our pupils often fail to take that gap on the roundabout or get their parallel park wrong on multiple occasions. Of course, it could be a lack of confidence or anxieties that contribute to these issues.

Another human factor potentially blocking the route to success is the effects our feelings have on our behaviour. As an example, Auditory exclusion happens as a physiological side effect of increased heart rate. When the heart rate approaches roughly 175 beats per minute, the sympathetic nervous system is activated enough that the brain reduces the amount of attention it pays to hear to focus on sight. We’ve probably all wondered at times ‘why aren’t they listening to me?’ Or asked ‘how many times have we talked about that left door mirror?’ Perhaps they weren’t listening at those moments but weren’t able to because their feelings overtook their ability to listen. 

By dividing the responsibilities for risk, we are not only performing the essential task of keeping the car safe, we are enabling our clients, as best as possible, to learn and develop complex, multi-sensory and highly demanding skills whilst dealing with their own risk increasing factors. Indeed the learning should not be restricted to the skills and the knowledge, it should be expanded upon to include developing their understanding of the importance of dividing tasks beyond the driving test, how much will they be able to cope with as the driver on a late-night journey with friends perhaps or when navigating unknown roads in busy traffic conditions and to understand the importance of recognising and reducing risk, such as drink driving or mobile phone use as well as on the road risks.

How much will they be able to deal with what is important at that time and what sacrifices will they have to make to focus on keeping themselves safe. Not only is dividing the responsibilities for risks essential to road safety and for learning to take place, but it is also a fundamental skill which they need to be familiar with and complaint in doing for themselves to ensure they stay on the road as the full license holder.

the DVSA NSDRT states we must:


6.3.1.3 Explain how you expect to work with the learner and how you expect them to work with you

6.4.1.3 Make sure the learner fully understands how you will share with them the responsibility for:

Their safety, your safety, and the safety of other road users. 

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