Driving Instructor Profile – Laura Neilson

Laura Neilson is a 23-year-old PDI (Potential Driving Instructor) in the Peterborough area who delivers The Honest Truth. She has been a PDI since early this year, passing part 2 in February, and been on her pink licence since April this year. Laura works alongside her sponsor and trainer, MPL Driving School. Her partner Darren has been an ADI for 11 years, as DKM Driving. She also works alongside him, working together to run his business. We asked her some questions about The Honest Truth. 

How did you find out about The Honest Truth? 

“I first became involved in The Honest Truth soon after I started teaching students on my pink licence. I saw a Facebook advertisement, which grabbed my attention with the bold nature of the animals used. I visited The Honest Truth’s website to find out more, and quickly realised what a genius idea this wonderful charity is! The fact that The Honest Truth is such a bold, bright, and I would even say exciting charity where the animals really stand out, makes it exciting and fun to deliver in lessons. Being a young PDI, I’m aware of how young people perceive ‘safety’, I feel as though I’m able to relate to young drivers and how they feel about road safety and taking responsibility.   

The Honest Truth is different from other road safety campaigns in the sense that they seem to target younger drivers, doing so in a fun way, and a way in which young drivers would connect with The Honest Truth on a more personal level.” 

 How do you use The Honest Truth materials? 

“I use the materials in different ways during lessons. I give out leaflets on first lessons, but I’m aware that younger drivers could be less likely to want to read leaflets. I use the flash cards in most lessons, using a coaching style to encourage the student to talk about the subject and what it means for them.  

I also get students to think about how their family and friends drive, how that may affect my student’s driving and whether they copy any habits that their family or friends may have. Then how my student could potentially make a difference to their driving by talking about these subjects with the people that influence them the most.” 

Are there particular times when you use The Honest Truth? 

“If I know I have a student struggling with an area of risk, I try and make sure we approach this subject using The Honest Truth. A lot of younger drivers don’t like to admit that they have an issue surrounding certain subjects so approaching the issue using The Honest Truth is a really good way of doing it! Peterborough is a large city which can attract bad driving, so I have a responsibility as a driving instructor to instil positive values and responsibilities into my students, so that they’re learning how these issues can affect us, and how making small changes within our driving can make a huge difference.  

I also encourage my students to talk to their friends and family about their driving and what changes they are going to make, in the hope that the conversations they have will inspire their friends and family to similar make small changes in their driving too.”