I was riding my bike today, when I passed a car with a “Please be patient, student driver” bumper sticker.
A sticker like this is asking people around them to behave differently than they otherwise might.
How is this helping the new driver?
Anyone driving a car is going to be subject to all of the unknown and mysterious whims, habits, rages, and peculiarities of every other driver on the road. The only way to prepare a driver for that is to throw them in and let them start experiencing the joy of driving first-hand.
Obviously, the sticker is intended to keep people from being mad at all the mistakes, poor decisions, and hesitations that new drivers will go through. But then, are they any different from all of the experienced drivers on the road who can’t drive?
Really, what’s the difference between a student driver and some of the bad drivers who’ve been on the road for 20 years? Take the sticker off, and I’ll bet it would never occur to anyone they weren’t just behind another person who shouldn’t have been given a license in the first place.
Perhaps a better approach would be no sticker at all and letting them learn from all the near accidents and the things other drivers will do to show their irritation. Then the driver will truly learn what makes other drivers happy and what makes them angry.