The Road to Success: Tips for Planning Routes for Learner Drivers

Effective route planning for driving lessons is a crucial aspect of preparation that demands a comprehensive understanding of the local terrain and traffic patterns. It is essential to factor in any specific driving skills or procedures that the student is yet to practice. Neglecting this consideration can lead to disastrous consequences, as inexperienced drivers may be exposed to situations beyond their capacity to handle. In some instances, particularly with anxious learners, unsuitable routes could even cause them to give up on the idea of learning to drive altogether.

To keep learners engaged and interested, planned driving routes should include a variety of traffic hazards and conditions. It’s important to be flexible with the route planning to allow for changes during a lesson, in case an area of driving is proving troublesome. However, avoid repeating the same route too often, as this can lead to boredom and slow progress. Repetition can be helpful if it’s done intentionally for a specific purpose, such as practicing control skills on uphill approaches.

Basic tips for route planning

  • Have a wide selection of planned routes that contain various types of traffic hazards and conditions
  • Be prepared for unexpected road closures or detours by having alternative routes in mind.
  • Keep your directions simple and clear to avoid confusing your student
  • Avoid excessive repetition of the same route to keep learners engaged and interested
  • Repetition can be helpful if it’s done intentionally for a specific purpose
  • Introduce more complex and challenging situations gradually
  • Every learner is unique and may require different approaches to teaching
  • Be patient, supportive, and encourage learners to ask questions and seek clarification

Training routes and areas fall into three main categories:

Nursery routes

Nursery routes – When planning nursery routes, especially for young and inexperienced drivers, it is important to consider the types of roads that will be most suitable for their skill level. These routes should avoid busy roads and areas with heavy traffic, particularly in the early stages of learning. It is also advisable to avoid roads with parked vehicles, as this can create unnecessary obstacles and increase the likelihood of accidents.

In addition, it is best to avoid including pedestrian crossings, traffic lights, or roundabouts in nursery routes. These elements require more advanced driving skills, and it may be too early in the learning process for students to confidently navigate them. Instead, nursery routes should focus on simple roads with straightforward manoeuvres, such as straight roads, gentle curves, and simple intersections.

Overall, the goal of nursery routes is to provide a safe and comfortable learning environment for students, allowing them to gradually build their confidence and skills before progressing to more complex driving situations.

Intermediate routes – Intermediate routes are designed for drivers who have progressed beyond the beginner stage and are ready to tackle more challenging driving situations. However, it is important to keep in mind that intermediate drivers still require guidance and support to develop their skills.

When planning intermediate routes, it is important to avoid dual carriageways, roads with multiple lanes, and one-way streets, whenever possible. These types of roads can be overwhelming and confusing for intermediate drivers who are still building their confidence and skills. Instead, routes should focus on roads with moderate traffic flow, providing opportunities to practice lane changes, overtaking, and other manoeuvres.

Junctions that do not conform to basic rules, such as those with no clear right-of-way or those with limited visibility, should also be excluded from intermediate routes. Similarly, right turns onto very busy main roads or any other particularly difficult situations should not normally be incorporated into these routes where they can be avoided. These situations can be overwhelming for intermediate drivers and may impede their progress or even cause them to lose confidence.

Overall, intermediate routes should strike a balance between providing enough challenge to promote growth and development while also ensuring that the driver is not placed in situations that are too advanced or difficult for their skill level. This way, they can gradually build their skills and confidence, ultimately preparing them for more advanced driving situations in the future.

Advanced routes – Advanced routes are designed for drivers who have already mastered the basic and intermediate driving skills and are looking to develop their abilities further. These routes build upon the concepts learned in earlier stages, incorporating more complex and challenging situations to help drivers become more confident and competent on the road.

Advanced routes will typically include most of the intermediate routes, with the added inclusion of more advanced elements. For example, they may include roads with higher speed limits, such as motorways or highways. They may also include roads with more complex layouts, such as roundabouts, complex junctions, and steep hills.

In addition, advanced routes should be progressively extended to include as many variations to the basic rules as possible. This means that drivers will encounter a wide range of situations and scenarios that require them to apply their knowledge and skills in creative ways. For example, they may encounter unexpected hazards, diversions, or roadworks that require quick thinking and decisive action.

Overall, the goal of advanced routes is to challenge drivers and help them become more confident and capable on the road. By exposing them to a wide range of situations and scenarios, advanced routes can help drivers develop their critical thinking skills and adaptability, making them better prepared for any situation that may arise while driving.


As a driving instructor, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your learners are well-prepared for their driving tests and for driving on the road independently. This means not only teaching them the basic driving skills but also gradually introducing more complex and challenging situations.

By carefully planning your driving routes, you can ensure that your learners are exposed to a variety of traffic hazards and conditions that will help them build their confidence and competence on the road. Remember to be flexible and adaptable during lessons, and to avoid excessive repetition of the same routes to keep your learners engaged and interested.

Finally, it’s important to remember that every learner is unique and may require different approaches to teaching. Always be patient and supportive, and encourage your learners to ask questions and seek clarification when needed. With your guidance and support, your learners can become safe and confident drivers who are prepared for any situation they may encounter on the road.

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