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The Goals for Driver Education (GDE)

driver education goals

The Goals for Driver Education (GDE) are set of research-based goals that help us address our responsibilities as ADIs by giving us a framework through which to structure our coaching. These goals can be set out as a matrix of four levels and three competencies (the GDE matrix):

What is GDE?

Traditional driver training is more or less restricted to the lower levels of the GDE (vehicle control, road and traffic routines and interaction with other road users) because this is all that the driving test requires. It doesn’t really do much to develop the second and third competencies of the GDE framework either (risk factors and self-assessment). However, as ADIs we carry a huge burden of responsibility to ensure that the people we teach will have the skills, awareness and understanding needed to stay safe once they are driving unsupervised.

Some ADI’s no doubt feel they have fulfilled their professional obligations as soon as their pupils pass their driving test - and I’m sure that many pupils and their parents will also feel the same (we may of course see our students again, post-test, but this is by no means guaranteed, plus the students who opt not to return for Pass Plus are generally the very ones that would benefit most). However, traffic accident statistics show that one in five newly qualified drivers will be involved in a serious crash within the first year of passing their driving test. With this evidence at hand, there is a bit of a problem, isn’t there? And surely we should be thinking about what we can do to address this before the learner takes a driving test, shouldn’t we?

Extensive research carried out over the last 15 years or so suggests quite compellingly that traditional skills- and fault-based approaches to driver education do not encourage learning to take place on a deep and meaningful level and are limited in their scope (basically, they don’t work). The research also shows that other approaches with a broader outlook in line with the GDE matrix have much more of the desired effect in terms of driver characteristics and behaviour.

The mainstay of the recommended approaches is coaching the learner so that they understand how their personality, values and beliefs impact on the way they drive. And the really good news is this doesn’t actually take much more time than it does to struggle through a course of traditional training, it’s not as complicated as it sounds, yet the added value is immense. Without it, the learner driver’s sole motivation is to impress their driving instructor and to get through the driving test - once they pass, their true personality emerges and they enter the ‘expressive phase’ of learning to drive – very risky if they are not aware of their strengths, limitations and development needs.

GDE diagram from TCP

At Miles Ahead we are committed to providing training that allows our students to be the best, most aware and safest drivers they can possibly be. And we believe that coaching and plugging into the higher levels and competencies of the GDE matrix are key to this. We believe this empowers students to take responsibility for their learning, their driving and their lives, and, in so doing, reduces their risk of being involved in a serious crash when driving unsupervised.

If we coach across all the levels and competencies of the GDE then we are far more likely to produce drivers, who will be self aware and able to reflect on a ‘near miss’ once they pass their test, learn from it and take steps to prevent something similar from happening again. Straightforward, although the devil is in the detail, and the student does need to put in the time to experience a sufficient range of on-road situations and learn to reflect honestly on both their mindset and performance.

Want to get started?

Are you considering learning to drive but feeling nervous about it? Have you already done some training but feel that you aren’t developing, you aren’t pulling it all together, or just don’t feel confident or safe. You may have already passed a test and yet still not feel in control. All of these scenarios suggest that you are likely to benefit from the modern training methods that we can offer you.

If you would like to learn more about our approach and what we can do for you, please do get in touch.

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Miles Ahead Driver Training

Miles Ahead is an independent driving school in Barry providing driving lessons and intensive courses of the highest quality to students of all ages and abilities in the Cardiff, Penarth, Barry & Vale areas. With an A-grade instructor, an impressive pass rate and a modern, student-centred approach, you’ll be on the road in no time. Excellent value for money, from £22.50 per hour.  Learn more