Debriefing Driving Lessons: Why It’s Important
What is debriefing?
Once we arrive back at the student’s drop-off location, we take a few minutes to go over what was covered during the lesson. We will talk about what happened on the road and how the student dealt with it.
Why do we debrief?
Debriefing is important because it allows us to summarize what was learned. Otherwise, the learning will stop prematurely and the full effect of the learning will not realized.
How is the debriefing done?
During the debriefing we ask our student questions such as:
How do you feel that went for you?
This gives you an opportunity to reflect on what happened during the lesson and we may provide feedback if we feel it’s necessary. If you feel overwhelmed we may ask you to tell us:
Student: “I feel like I will never been a good driver!”
Instructor: “I believe you will be an excellent driver. For example, your parking has improved since last lesson and now you’re remembering to do your 360-checks!”
Student: “I still can’t get over that aggressive driver that flipped the bird at me because I had accidentally left my high-beams on!”
Instructor: “I understand it can be hard not to get overwhelmed in that situation. But remember: their reaction is mostly related to what’s happening in their own lives and not so much what we did to them. Who knows what kind of a day they’ve had. Maybe they spilled coffee on their favourite shirt and they were looking for a way to vent. Just shake off that stuff back there and focus on your personal goal of becoming a better and confident driver.”
Instructor: “How Do you feel about your lane changes today?”
Student: “I think they were good? Much better than last time!”
Instructor: “Yeah, I’d have to agree with you on that. Keep up the good work!”
Instructor: “Let’s talk a bit about making turns at complex intersections. I liked your waiting position and keeping your wheels straights while waiting there. However, I think we need to work a bit more fine tuning your gap judgement.
Instructor: “Yeah, like when you see a car that’s about 9 seconds away and you know it takes you 3 seconds to make the turn, do you have enough time?”
Student: “Yeah, I think so.”
Instructor: “Awesome. So we need to figure out when we are hesitating to make a turn versus when we’re cutting it too close. And this is something that you’ll get better at with time.”
What do you think went well for you today?
We will also talk about concepts such as having a cooperative attitude, being aware at all times, your confidence level, scanning of crosswalks and intersections, and reminding you of looking further down the road if you’re forgetting to do so. And we’ll also review how you did on 3-point turns and remember to signal and cancelling your signal. We want you to become confident at intersections. Part of that is being able to identify small intersection vs large intersections waiting positions, and whether or not you have a regular, advance, or a protect light at the intersection.
Some jingles to help you remember concepts
“Signal, gear, steer, make sure it’s clear!”
Wrapping up the Debriefing
The debrief is not too long. It will usually range from a couple of minutes to 10 minutes depending on what needs to be discussed. We like to wrap up the debriefing by asking you these questions:
What’s your takeaway from today’s lesson?
What do you think we still need to work on?
Student: “Shoulder Checks”
Instructor: “I was just going to say that!”
What will you work on with your co-driver?
Student: Shoulder check to the right on all right turns, good scanning at intersections, get stall parking down.
We hope you can see the benefits of debriefing. We like to encourage you to use this opportunity to better understand concepts and to connect with your instructor. If you have any questions or concern about the debriefing process, please feel free to contact us. And remember, if you forget to ask something during your lesson or debriefing time, write it down so you can bring it up next time or call us to discuss. Thank you!