Take a big breath, And it begins…
What if? ….. an expression we as instructors are all too familiar with
What if that car pulls out of the junction?
What if that child runs out in the road?
What if that motorbike turns in front of me?
But what about us as instructors?
What if the person who booked a lesson isn’t who they say they are?
What if a pupil accuses us of misconduct?
What if we experience road rage on a lesson?
Whilst I appreciate the likelihood of this is low — with the exception of road rage, it is something that could have a dramatic impact on both our business and our personal life. Imagine collecting a pupil only to discover that they are only planning to steal your takings/car? Or what would happen if a pupil claimed that you had made inappropriate comments on even touched them inappropriately? I am sure you won’t have to imagine being on the receiving end of verbal abuse from other road users, but what if that were to escalate?
What can you do?
I always make it a rule that on a first lesson I always collect from a home address. I ensure I am there early enough to see them leave the house. Once I have confirmed their identity, I am more than happy to pick up from friends’ houses, places of work or the shops. But on the first lesson it HAS to be their home address.
With the increasing accessibility to dash cams, it is relatively easy to protect yourself from false accusations. I have a dash cam monitoring the road ahead (as intended) but also I have one place in the back of the car recording the lesson. All pupils are made aware that their lesson is recorded and they sign a disclaimer.
The dash cam is also a big benefit in the event of road rage. However, my advice for road rage would always be to drive away. Do not get drawn into arguments. Do not get out of your car. Do not leave your pupil. Being alert to your surroundings, particularly when stationery (which is a time when many instructors take the opportunity to relax) is key. If you see someone who is approaching in a threatening manner, you need to be able to ask your pupil to drive off as calmly as possible so the more notice you have the more notice you can give them. And of course, it goes without saying, keep your doors locked.