When your child begins to learn to drive it can be a daunting and worrying time for any parent, especially once they have passed their test and are driving on their own.
You will no doubt want to give them the best start when it comes to learning to drive. This could be why some parents think that teaching their children to drive would be beneficial, making the most of the experience and knowledge of the road that you’ve gained over the years.
This topic has been debated for many years by driving instructors, assessors, parents and teenagers, so is it safe for parents to teach their children to drive?
Well, yes and no.
The right advice
As Road Driver explains, learning to drive, passing the test and then being legally allowed to drive on your own is a dangerous activity – and one that has a higher rate of death than anything else some teenagers may do. So it is critically important they get the right advice and learn the correct techniques for safe driving.
Road Driver also explains how parents teaching their children to drive will require several necessary skills. First, they need to learn key attributes such as knowledge, substantial patience and empathy to help turn their children into a safe driver. It can be daunting for both parents and teenagers learning to drive, and arguments can accumulate quickly – especially in what can be a stressful situation.
Parents also may have become used to practicing bad habits when they drive, which should not be passed onto learner drivers. As well as this potentially meaning that bad habits are transferred, it can also mean that the correct information for the learner driver is not always provided.
Safe, correct techniques
This is why learning to drive from a qualified learning instructor is great, and probably the most suitable way for a new person to learn to drive – using the safest, correct techniques.
If the teenager can mix both professional lessons as well as gaining valuable experience of driving privately with their parent in the car, then this will help them gain vital practice – helping them to up their hours of driving experience.
Gov.uk advise that if a learner driver wants to practice with family and friends then they must be over 21 years of age, have a full licence for the vehicle you are learning in, and have held their licence for three years. It is also illegal for the person supervising to use a mobile phone whilst they are in the car with the learner driver.
In fact, according to the AA, five percent of parents think getting into the passenger seat of their child’s car to teach them to drive is one of the hardest things to do in life. That overtakes giving birth!
However, John Kirkwood from the AA explains how it doesn’t need to be stressful. Especially as any amount of additional private practice, in conjunction with professional lessons, sees learner drivers increasing the success rate of passing their test.
Before you and your teenager set out on the road together it is always a good idea to establish what you expect from one another; that communication, listening and understanding instructions from one another is vitally important. These elements mean a better and safer driving experience.
For parents, it is a great idea to reacquaint yourself with The Highway Code and look into the current driving practices/code of conduct, to help give you that extra bit of confidence when you’re in the passenger seat. Going through these together with your teenager will be good, so you can answer any questions they may have before you’re both on the road.
In essence, the ideal situation for the learner driver in your life is to mix professional driving lessons with private practice at home with an experienced driver. This will help them get the correct knowledge and experience that is necessary for them to flourish into a good, safe driver.
If you feel comfortable to help your child learn to drive, then this too could help you in the long run to assess your own driving style, and to improve on any part habits that may have accumulated over the years.