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Are your parents bad drivers? Here are a few ways to tell.

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March 2, 2015
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In the last few years, there’s been plenty of research suggesting teens subconsciously copy their parent’s bad driving habits. The easy explanation is that parents are essentially teaching their kids that it’s ok to be a bad driver. These habits range from texting whilst driving to speeding and can all have catastrophic consequences.

If you’re a learner driver (or recently passed your test) it could be worth keeping an eye out when in the car with your parents to see what they’re guilty of. Catch them at it and you can give them a lesson to make up for all the years of them telling you what to do.


Amongst the more dangerous bad habits is using your phone whilst driving. It’s been illegal since 2003 and yet tens of thousands of us still do it each year. There’s no reasonable excuse for breaking this one (although you are permitted to phone 999 in an emergency if it’s not safe to stop) and by copying your parents, you run a very high chance of earning yourself 3 points. If you’re a passenger and this happens to you, ask the driver if they want you to answer the phone or take a message. You don’t want them to be arrested or given 3 points.

Not indicating. This can range from annoying to downright dangerous and is an easy one to spot. When your parents turn, do they indicate? If they don’t, there’s an easy way to alert them to their mistake. Just casually ask; “do you always have to indicate, or is just if there are cars around?”


Driving too slowly. This is always annoying for somebody stuck behind you. Ok, you may not be in a rush but that doesn’t mean others aren’t trying to get somewhere. Being a learner won’t stop other drivers getting angry with you, but at least you have an excuse for holding up traffic. If your parents are guilty of this sin it may be worth mentioning that 143 accidents a year are caused directly by slow drivers and on-the-spot £100 fines can be issued. You could also suggest they pull over and let the parade of cars backed up behind past.

Remember, driving at 40 in a 60mph zone is a sure fire way to encourage another bad habit, overtaking in unsuitable areas or undertaking.

Driving without headlights. This is becoming a little more common as many cars have automatic light sensors that take away the need to remember to turn your lights on. If you switch between cars and one doesn’t have this feature, it may be worth not using it in your own car. In the dark, foggy conditions, or heavy rain, cars without headlights on are a real danger. If you’re a passenger in a car without lights and you think it’s not safe, tell the driver immediately.


It’s pretty terrifying having a dark car appear out of the mist or dark as though from nowhere, especially when driving at 60mph. But it’s actually illegal to use fog lights in clear conditions and the police may pull you over if they catch you.

Hopefully any learners out there can spot these habits and help your parents become better drivers whilst not picking up any bad habits yourself.

For more information on insurance for leaner drivers, visit or call 0800 369 8590.

If you’re worried about your parents driving habits, talk to them about it. Just do it politely. Get it wrong and you may have a long walk home.

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