Driver Hub  Learning to drive  Real life learner stories   Observing a new driver from the sidelines
Young woman driving car

Observing a new driver from the sidelines

Owen Nutkins profile

Owen Nutkins

November 15, 2017

Learning to drive 3 min read

So you’re probably wondering – what does this have to do with driving or how is this going to help me to improve my driving skills?

Well strangely this could help! Recently, my girlfriend passed her driving test and with no discouragement it took her 4 attempts until she got it right. I didn’t know she had passed until around a week later, a few days before I was going to see her.

Her success was great for many reasons:

  • She could get out more to improve her driving
  • We could get out and do things more easily
  • It gave me the chance to observe from the sidelines and see what she does differently to me
  • And generally, it gave me the chance to trust a brand new driver!

Trusting a new driver

Trust is the first key aspect, without it we wouldn’t have been going anywhere – she needed to trust me to be a rational passenger and I needed to trust her to drive safely!

Before I got into the car with her, I was pumped, so happy, and not worried about being her passenger. Once I was in, I did get a bit nervous, but all I could do was encourage her to keep going; and it worked.


By skills I mean, general driving ability – where my girlfriend lives is a mixture between horrible country roads, small compacted towns, and even big cities. Some of the roads we had to face were horrible and the first thing I noticed was the car itself – her car is very different to mine, so some of the ways she did things were different simply because of how her car is designed.

But overall her skill level was great and after each drive I’d rate her up to 10. At first she got 6/7 ish marks, but each day that got higher and higher, which taught me a lesson: Just because you get something wrong and it knocks a mark off, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad driver, it just means there’s space to improve!


From stalling to missing chances at roundabouts – a lot happened to create those lower marks in my experience as the passenger, but what I noticed is that every time something went wrong she’d worry and rush things, and each time it failed again! Cars beeped now and then, but until she thought about it and took her time, it kept on going wrong. So once again the lesson for me, is not to worry if something goes wrong, and not to rush.

How does this help me?

I’m taking on board everything that I observed, into my own driving. This should help to improve my skills and to be more confident behind the wheel. Hopefully, this will encourage others to do the same.

Observe from the sidelines and you may just learn something new.

Learner Driver Insurance→

Get short term cover on a friend or parent's car as a learner, to help you get that magic pass!

Owen Nutkins profile

By Owen Nutkins

'I'm a filmmaker and photographer from the UK. I've recently started taking driving lessons and I feel it would be great to write about my personal experiences, and be able to share advice to others whilst I prepare myself for my driving test. I've recently started taking driving lessons and I feel it would be great to write about my personal experiences, and be able to share advice to others whilst I prepare myself for my driving test.'  See more posts by Owen

Share this article

Angry man in car pointing
Learning to drive News Young driver stories 6 min read

Victims of road rage - Learner driver stories

Chloe Martell profile

Chloe Martell

October 17, 2019

As many of you know, we’re petitioning for change on how learner drivers are treated when they’re on the roads. Astonishingly, 90% of learner drivers have been subject to tailgating and overtaking when in their…Read more

Young girl in car
Driving advice Owning a car Young driver stories 6 min read

Kimberley's MOT misery

Kimberley Dodge profile

Kimberley Dodge

September 27, 2019

Fear. Dread. Horror. No, I’m not talking about the rush of panic when you spot a spider in your bedroom. I’m talking about the stab of fright that pierces your heart when you hear the…Read more

Interior Audi A1 steering wheel
Owning a car 7 min read

Audi A1 - Chloe's review

Chloe Martell profile

Chloe Martell

March 7, 2020

As a young driver, whilst I like to think that reading reviews about cars from petrol heads will help me when it comes to choosing my car, it really doesn’t. I want to know what…Read more