July 7, 2010


Since early April pupils have been given the option as to whether they want their instructor or any another observer to sit in the back of the car. With more and more pupils taking up on this offer, it is important for the observer to know how to behave and what is required of them.

Firstly what seat should you sit on in the back of the car: examiners recommend sitting behind the pupil as this is thought to be least distracting. However, you must also consider what is most comfortable for you, as moving around too much can be off-putting for the pupil.

You may also want to consider changing your seat when the pupil is carrying out a manoeuvre. The pupil’s visibility is key and if you keep moving it could be very distracting.

It may be helpful for both you and the pupil if you take notes, especially if they do not pass the test so you can debrief them about where they went wrong. But be sure not to take copious notes as this may worry the pupil into thinking they are not doing very well.

Make sure you eliminate any form of distraction; make sure your phone is switched off, try not to fidget too much or kick the back of the seat etc.

Despite the myth that looking the way the examiner has instructed the pupil to go will lead to the pupil failing, as long as there are no secret codes, such as excessive nodding or tapping the seat, it is natural to look left, right and behind you and the pupils test will not be abandoned.

Finally it is important to remember that you are there to observe. It is not for you to get involved in the discussion at the end of the test. If you have legitimate concerns and want to follow them up, then speak to the test centre manager or contact the DSA (Driving Standards Agency).

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