We have all had times when driving to somewhere unfamiliar where we have lost our way and perhaps had to ask a complete stranger for help. For some of us, the person giving us directions may have been very helpful in pointing us in the right direction. Other times, the instructions may not have been so clear, and we may have felt more lost than before. To prevent yourself from falling into the latter category of helpers, here are some tips for giving good driving directions when you are asked for help.
Think of the easiest way possible to their destination. Even if it ends up taking a little longer, the person asking for your help will appreciate it much more if you can get them there easily, rather than giving them a complicated route that may lead to more frustration in getting to their destination. When giving directions, you want to help these people, not confuse them.
Mention specific, distinct landmarks that will help them find their way. Is there a children’s playground they will pass before they take that left turn? Tell them about it! Visual cues like these are much easier to pick out than having them search for specific street names, since street signs can sometimes be harder to read while driving- especially for older folks or in areas where there are large amounts of fast-moving traffic.
Specify distances. Will they have to go a couple of blocks or a couple of miles before they reach that turn? Telling this to the people you’re helping will let them know about when they should be looking for their next turn, and helps them prepare in advance so they don’t get even more lost than before!
Let them know what they’ll see if they’ve driven too far. This will help them realize they’ve made a mistake before they’ve driven a long distance, which will help them keep their travel time to a minimum and get them back on the right track sooner.
Be sure to tell them if there are any confusing places on the road! If there is a place they will be driving where a lane ends or a turn is hidden or sharp, mention this! No one likes to be taken by surprise, especially when driving, as this can lead to wrecks that can harm themselves and others. 394
Have them repeat the directions you gave them back to you. If they wrote them down, look over them. This gives them the opportunity to make sure that they have understood you correctly, and it allows you to double check and make sure you haven’t left anything out that they may need to know. If they are having trouble understanding something, repeat and explain it to them until they clearly get what you are saying.
These are six tips for giving good driving directions. Follow these carefully, and maintain a warm, friendly attitude towards the people you are helping, and giving directions to people who are lost will be no problem at all for you!
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