A commentary drive is where you describe what you are doing as you are driving. It’s a technique used by advanced drivers.
The purpose of a commentary drive is to train the driver to take in and process much more information than usual, and to anticipate danger.
In a commentary drive the driver describes everything that he or she sees and is doing and why they’re related to the situation. The comments are supposed to be articulated before the driver performs the manoeuvre because this indicates that the driver has seen the danger and is responding to it. The types of things a driver will mention in a commentary drive are:
- Use of mirrors and indicators
- Vehicles entering the roadway or waiting at junctions
- Pedestrians and other vulnerable road users (examples pedestrians waiting at a crossing, cyclists, horse riders, etc)
- Changes in the road condition (narrowing, change of surface)
- Approaching hazards (traffic lights, roundabouts, T-junctions, blind corners or crests, parked cars reducing visibility, schools)
- Actions of other vehicles that could cause a danger (vehicles changing lanes, large vehicles that might lead to less room, brake lights ahead)
- Changes to your road speed or position to give you a buffer
- Indicated change in road direction where you can’t see the road (example using tree line, lampposts, etc)
- Changes of gear and the reason why
- Use of road markings and other clues (example checking centre line and markings on the road, slowly)
General statements should be avoided as they don’t describe what is happening, for example. In urban areas such many events can be happening while you will need to develop a shorter way of describing what is happening. For example, you wouldn’t say ‘checking my mirrors now’, when you can just say ‘right mirror’ or ‘left mirror’.
The purpose of a commentary drive is to train the driver to take in and process much more information than usual, and to anticipate danger. Once you start doing a commentary drive you will realise the enormous number of things that our brains automatically process every time we drive. By learning to process these distractions and potential dangers in a more efficient way you will be able to drive more safely.
An advanced driving instructor will be able to fine-tune where you are looking so that you are taking consideration of the most important things that are up ahead and you are choosing the correct speed. It will also teach you to ignore things that aren’t of importance so that you can remain focused on the things that are important.
The only way to get good at commentary drives is to practise. When you first start you it will seem like you are inundated with things to describe, but over time you will become fluent, like you would when learning a language.
If you are currently learning to drive, ask your instructor if you can have a go at a commentary drive.
Commentary driving is a more constructive driver’s education technique that provides more benefits than the traditional commands and backseat driving techniques that parents are used to. Here are some reasons that make commentary driving important:
- It helps students learn to scan their surroundings.
- It forces students to mentally think about what they need to do in upcoming situations.
- It reassures parents that the student is observing and looking out for potential hazards, anticipating upcoming situations and making pre-planned decisions.
- It gives students more confidence in themselves and their driving skills and abilities.
- It empowers students by encouraging dialogue and self-assessment.
- It limits distractions of the driver as it should only be the driver making comments doing the talking.
As your student progresses, you can take the commentary driving technique up a notch by introducing remarks and conversations about common distractions, traffic and road conditions on a given route. The more on-the-road drive time your student gets, the better prepared they will be in passing their driving test and getting their license. Make these lessons enjoyable and productive. The best way to do that is through the commentary driving technique. For your student to begin on-the-road driving lessons, he or she must be first enrolled in a driver’s education course at a certified, state recognized driving school.
At RCL Safety Centre this training is also available in different Nigerian languages like PIDGIN,YORUBA,HAUSA AND IGBO
Our company (RCL Safety Centre) is an indigenous company dedicated to Health, Safety and Environment Training and Services.
We are technical partners of the National Industrial Safety Council of Nigeria (NISCN) as well as approved training partners of most major International Occupational Safety and Health organizations like NEBOSH, and corporate members of ISPON (Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria) with thousands of personnel trained in various areas till date.
For more information visit our website: www.safetycentre.ng
Contact us on: 08099700070 or 08140800035