Tips for staying calm

Both good learning and good driving generally benefit from calmness. This page suggests ways to get calm, stay calm, and get back to being calm.

Calmness is very much influenced by:


  • Get time by making time - build enough time into practice sessions so you don’t feel rushed, and slow down your conversation, your instructions, and the car’s speed.
  • Prepare for potentially challenging situations by pausing in a safe place.
  • Learn how to manage confusion and surprises.
  • When the situation is not calm, take a break and manage your stance and breathing.


  • Relax your upper body, slowly breathe in deeply through your nose (it helps to push your tummy out, not lift your chest) and breathe out steadily through your mouth. Repeat this several times. This should have a calming effect.
  • When learner drivers concentrate 100% on a task, they may hold their breath. Remind them to keep breathing.
  • Do the ‘Breathe And Talk’ check (BAT check) often. Pay attention to how your learner driver breathes and talks. If either speeds up a lot or stops, it may be time to pause and breathe. When a learner driver does well at a task, and they can BAT normally, it’s a sign they are ready to move on.


  • Lack of knowledge can trigger stress; this applies to both you and your learner driver. This guide should help you understand your role. If you don’t know the answer to a situation, say so and show a willingness to learn with your learner.
  • Some thoughts and feelings about learning situations can be very unhelpful and will remain that way if they stay locked up in your mind or your learner’s mind. The key to unlocking them is in conversation.
  • Agree to respect each other’s comfort zone. Talk about what helps you stay in it and what makes you go out of it. To do this use, “when you…I feel” sentences. For example: “When you drive really close to parked cars I feel nervous”, “When you tell me to get lost, I feel saddened”, or “When you demand to go that way I feel uneasy. Can we talk about it some more?”

Next: Providing more meaningful driving sessions

Keys2drive is an Australian Government-funded program providing learner drivers and their parents/supervisors a free driving lesson with a Keys2drive accredited professional driving instructor