According to research undertaken by the AA, 5% of us think that teaching their children to drive is the toughest experience a parent will go though. Amazingly, that’s more than would be most daunted by their child’s first day of school, and only two percent lower than giving birth – surely driving shouldn’t be that hard?
It takes learners an average of 45 hours of professional tuition, combined with 22 hours of private practice, to pass their test. Whilst few pass their test having only private driving time, the Driving Standards Agency say such experience is vital for giving on-road, real life practice and boosting confidence.
With massive benefits to a little one-on-one time with the kids, but an apparent fear and unwillingness present in many parents, it’s unsurprising that some are trying and failing to teach good driving habits. To make the task a little easier, here are some of our best tips for teaching your kids to drive.
- Do choose the right car – ideally learners should practice in the car that they will take their test in and continue to drive afterwards, whether you insure your child on your car or help them buy their own. Specialist learner driver insurance https://www.adrianflux.co.uk/extras/learner-driver/will be needed as well to cover you both, whatever car you pick
- Do remind yourself of the Highway Code – no matter how long you’ve been driving for, chances are you’ve picked up some bad habits. Take tests online to refresh the rules in your mind, and practice critiquing your own driving for a while before taking on the role of instructor
- Don’t expect too much – start slow and make sure the first lessons are as simple and stress-free as possible. Your child will be more nervous than normal simply because you’re in the car, so be prepared for some jerky driving and sweaty palms
- Do plan your route – plan as much as possible before the lesson, and explain the route to your son or daughter. Learners are much less likely to panic with a clear plan in mind, but this can be changed after a few lessons to keep them on their toes and teach them to react to new roads
- Don’t use confusing language – saying things like “go ahead and stop” or “drive slowly” will only confuse a learner. Phrases like “stop at this junction” or “drive at 20mph” offer much clearer instruction and are far less likely to lead to an argument mid-roundabout
- Do learn how the car works – we’re not talking an in-depth knowledge of mechanics, but knowing what all the buttons and switches do on the dashboard will prevent panic when it suddenly starts to rain and they don’t know where the wipers are
- Don’t be too critical – by making the car a happy environment, the learner will feel more relaxed, make quicker progress and want to take more lessons. Use positive, supportive language, and focus on their driving rather than making conversation or personal comments
- Do practice mock tests – get a rough idea of what driving tests entail online and practice them with your learner. Go for drives where you only give instruction, rather than advice, to get them used to the steely glare of a professional examine.
Some of these tips may seem obvious at first, but it’s amazing how many kids are put off driving by having anxious, demanding parents sitting in the passenger seat. By taking your time, starting with the basics and allowing for the odd mistake and meltdown, you’ll be well on your way to being free of your taxi service mantle.
If you are looking for the right car to buy for a learner, visit our blog post on the subject here. Don’t forget that Adrian Flux also offers specialist insurance for learner drivers to help protect whichever car you choose.