Top-Down approach to driver training

Top-Down approach to driver training

In this month’s issue of KIT MAG, I decided to take a look at what is meant by a Top-Down approach to driver training. There has been a bit of a buzz on social media about a ‘top down approach to driver training recently and this approach is certainly something that we at KIT MAG are advocates of.A top-down approach to driver training was recommended within the EU Merit Project (Minimum Requirements for Driving Instructor Training 2005) to be the most effective method for reducing collision statistics through driver education. The top-down approach is in reference to the Goals for Driver Education (G.D.E.) matrix (GADGET 1999) and suggests that rather than adopting a bottom-up approach as was typically the case for driving instructors, we must start at level 4 working downwards through all levels and columns to create drivers who are self-aware enough to understand the risks that they pose to themselves throughout all levels as a driver.

What does all this mean? Simply there are four levels of the G.D.E. Matrix: –

1. Vehicle control2. Driving in traffic3. Goals and context of driving (journeys)4. Goals for life skills for living (person)Level four should be the starting point for all driver training since Everything in life is controlled by the person, from getting up in the morning to navigating our way through our world on a daily basis and the success of the results is dependent on how well we are able to evaluate the pros and cons, make decisions that best suit our motives and understand the potential consequences of any risks that we take.These issues don’t disappear when we get in a car, in fact, research suggests they magnify and we become more prone to states of rage and anger for example than we would outside of the vehicle. Level four of the G.D.E. Matrix will always be the driving force behind the lower three levels…..We must educate new drivers with a top-down approach.


1.Top Down From The Start——————————————From the start focus on the personIf they stall, ask them how they were feelingGet them to consider where and what they were focusing on2.It’s About Raising Their Awareness——————————————————Focus questions around the thoughts and feelings of the pupil. When things go well, help them to understand how their thoughts and feelings impact on what they do.When things don’t go well, help them to consider how they need to feel or how they need to focus in order to improve.3. Level Four Drives The Lower Levels———————————————————-If the pupil understands their risk-increasing factors, how they need to ‘be’ to drive well:-They will make safer choices on the journeys they take, navigate junctions better and have safer control over the vehicle post-test

Top-Down approach to driver training
Top-Down approach to driver training

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