Break (neck) or Brake



So today was another one of those, “well this is an unusual session….. but it feels ‘right’!!” kind of notions…

The scene:

  • Very bright Student at Uni
  • Few lessons in
  • Knows that she is finding it harder than other people might… at the moment…
  • … knows that will change once she is comfortable with the car controls
  • In her own words she ‘over-thinks’ everything – creating information overload
  • Very independent person
  • Cannot ingest too many instructions on the move – simple words only – mostly due to this wonderful independence

Her Session Goal:

  • Learn to break ‘properly’ in her words – meaning
  • At specific places (so I can practice and feel ok approaching junctions)
  • So that it is smooth when I stop
  • “So that I don’t break your neck when I stop!”
  • So that it is not sudden!
  • So that I feel safe and in control

[after a bit of discussion…]


Her Session plan:

  • Country route chosen by Student – as she feels safer as less to distract her from the plan
  • Fiona ‘in charge of observations and ultimate safety’
  • Fiona to give clear instructions as to ‘place to stop’ whilst on move/stationary (we found out that Student choice was overwhelming last session and was not successful!)
  • Student in charge of moving off, moving up through the gears, and stopping at the appointed stop location


Her session Observations:

  • Braking to a stop at the desired place was mastered
  • Use of brake had improved since last session (no neck brace required!! hahahaa! 🙂 )
  • Quite accurate
  • Proud that she was independent
  • Very happy that changing to 3rd – re-mastered after a missing the target
  • VERY happy to note that she began to introduce her own mirror observations naturally!
  • Very happy to be independent for all of her ‘role’
  • Happy to note that she understood the junctions that she ‘saw’ and knew priority
  • Felt her goal accomplished
  • Noticed improvements when dealing with other road users
  • Felt like is was a great session


What she will work on:

  • Moving off “when someone is behind her under control
  • Concentrating on her own car and what she needs to do (avoiding focus on others eg behind)
  • Driving under control when others nearby
  • Using her ‘over-thinking brain’ to her advantage when spotting hazards

Sounds like a plan to me!


I often think about what I would have done in the past. I would probably encourage/force/urge someone to just ‘keep going’. I would not have acknowledged her judgement of what felt safer (ie country roads or town junctions). I would not consider that this lesson plan as being of a sufficient standard of complexity or attainment! It would have to have been much more complex otherwise I would not feel like I was ‘giving value for money’!

If I am offering a service that is ‘value for money’…. those ‘values’ can only be set by the customer.

When I go to a restaurant I may prefer my steak…

  • well done
  • medium well done
  • medium rare
  • rare
  • raw
  • still alive

… in all honesty – I would STILL NEVER eat in this restaurant as it does not respect my values… It is not hearing what I want even with the multitude of options available…. I want Quorn! I’m a vegetarian !! 🙂


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