So it is time for your daughter to follow mum onto the road?  Or maybe it’s your son that is taking to the highways as that magic age of 17 looms! Learning to drive can be exciting for you both.

There is no doubt that lessons can be expensive so many a parent has been pressed into action to take their offspring out between driving lessons.  Great idea!  Well not always as it seems that some of the willing parents are teaching their youngsters outdated techniques. It is always a good idea to have a driving instructor involved, to begin with, so that they know the basic wrongs and rights and what the driving examiners are going to be looking for when test day comes around.

The more practice your children have on the road, the easier it will be when they come to take the driving test. Admiral Insurance got together with an experienced driving instructor to get the low down on parents efforts to teach their youngsters to drive. Here are some of the top tips for helping your kids learning to drive the right way.

Learning to drive with Mum and Dad

Make sure that the routes that you use are ones that you are familiar with and could drive with your eyes closed (don’t do that!).  Knowing the route well will mean that you can give commands and instructions well in advance. When young drivers were asked, they said that one of the main reasons that they fell out with a parent was because they did not give them instructions in time. 

Keep instructions clear

When someone is learning to drive it is not instinctive as it is with a more experienced driver.  They have to be able to process information and what they need to do.  They are ticking off a mental list, as they check their mirror, slow down, then change gear. When you give an instruction it should be clear, “When we get to the end of this road, turn right.”  Another tip is to talk them through an action “We are taking the third exit on this roundabout, that was the first and now this is the second exit.” 

Make it as simple and straightforward as possible

If you change your mind at the last minute it will be a disaster for the learner who might stall or worse, and if that happens their confidence will be knocked.  Always stay calm and never get annoyed.  

Let the driving instructor take the lead

Work with the driving instructor and no matter how much your child nags; don’t take them out until the instructor says that they are ready.  Remember the instructor will have dual controls, you won’t!  Your only tool will be the hand brake and we hope that never needs to happen! Check with the instructor about how the learner is doing and that way you will know what they have mastered and what could do with more work.  Never be afraid to ask if you can ride shotgun in the back seat because that will help when you take the instructor seat. 

As we said, always leave the first time behind the wheel to the driving instructor.  Let the learner get the basics under their belt before you take over. The rule of thumb for how the lesson is going, either with an instructor or a parent is that there is little talk it means it is going well and the learner is not having to be told to change gear etc. 

Check your insurance, MOT and tires

Before you take your young’un out make sure that the insurance is correct and that the car is not suffering from any problems.  MOT and service should be up to date and the correct tread on tires too.

Don’t forget!

Here is a round-up of the things you need to be sure of before you take your learner out on the road.    

  • Don’t take the youngster out until the instructor says they are ready to go out with you
  • Practice only on the roads that are very familiar to you 
  • Give instructions in plenty of time and make them clear
  • Be patient and always stay calm 
  • Go over the things that they have learned in their lesson
  • Make sure all insurance is in order
  • Ensure that the car is in good working order

We hope that these tips will help you and your young OWO reader start off on a sparkling driving career! Learning to drive doesn’t need to be stressful. With a little preparation and care, it can be loads of fun.

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