Route Directions

Route Directions


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In this section, we’ll talk about giving route directions. The advice we have will be of great value to you, both as a trainee on Part 3, and in your future career as an instructor.

It may seem a little strange to have a page on giving route directions. Surely, you just tell them where to go, and they go. That’s all there is to it . . . not quite, I’m afraid.

There are two big problems that crop up time and time again with giving route directions. The first is the words you use and the order in which you say them. The second is the timing of your directions.

The DVSA themselves have recommended a method they call ‘ADI’.

Nice and easy to remember, so it’s a shame it’s potentially extremely dangerous and you should forget about it as soon as you’ve read this page

ADI stands for Alert, Direct,

Alert simply means what it says. Be alert, to grab your pupils attention, rather than mumbling through the corner of your mouth. Avoid directions that sound like ” . . . erm, I . . .erm, think we’ll go . . . erm . . .oh no, let’s go right instead . . .”

Tell your pupil in no uncertain terms, exactly what you want them to do.

Direct means to give them the direction ie “turn right . . .”, “turn left . . .”, “take the first exit . . .”

Identify means that you tell them where you want them to do something. For example “At the first road on the left . . .”, “At the crossroads ahead . . .”

So, the full sequence would be along these lines . . . “I want you to turn right, at the second junction. It’s the one just before the shop”

Sounds nice and simple. But look carefully at what is actually being said. Let’s break it down a little . . .

Your learner is driving along, concentrating on the road (hopefully), and you say in an alert voice “I want you to . . .”.

So far, so good. Your learner is now paying attention, waiting for the remainder of your instruction.

You follow this with ” . . . turn right . . .” And that’s exactly what your learner does. Without waiting for any more instructions, they start to turn right. If the location they are turning right does not happen to be the right turn that you wanted, you could have a difficult job on your hands Controlling things.

If you think, for even one second, that this would never happen with the SE or a learner driver, then not only are you in for some very nasty and scary surprises, but I’d recommend that you start thinking about a different career.

Learners will very often do exactly what you say. By the time you’ve said “turn right”, they will have started to turn right, even onto a driveway. Believe me, it happens.

Read our pages on vague and specific language for advice.

On Part 3, the SE’s very accurately replicate a lot of the errors made by typical learner drivers. This is one of them.

That’s the problem with the ADI system, and I’d recommend that you forget that it ever existed.

A much better way of doing things is the AID system. The letters represent the same words, but the order is slightly different.

What I’d suggest you use as your preferred method is Alert, Identify, Direct.

In this case, you give your instructions in an Alert manner, just as before. But you then Identify where you want the learner to do something, before you Direct them to do what it is that you want.

To continue our theme above, your directions would now be “At the second junction on the right, just before the shop, I’d like you to turn right please”. Even the shorter version “take the second junction on the right, just before the shop” is far better than the ADI method.

Other examples are . . . “At the end of the road, turn left”, “at the crossroads, turn right please”

The point is to avoid starting your directions with anything similar to “turn right . . .” etc etc. If you do, you are courting disaster.

The other common problem with route directions is timing. You have to tell the pupil where to go and what to do, but you have to do so in plenty of time for the pupil to react and to go through the full MS-PSL routine.

If you give your directions too late, you could be placing unfair pressure on your learner. You could actually be creating the very faults that you’re working hard to eliminate. Even worse than that, you won’t be giving yourself the time to watch for faults and keep the car safe. These are essential elements of Part 3.

As a rule of thumb, think about where you would like to start the MS-PSL routine for a junction or other hazard, then start your directions twice as far back, to give your learner time to react properly.

On Part 3, the SE will give you the directions. You just have to repeat them back, and the SE will always give you plenty of time.

Practice using this every time you’re in the car. Even if you are a passenger with friends or family. Think about how you’ll give your route directions so that you don’t confuse