Teaching your children how to drive is one of the most difficult experiences parents go through, according to new research by AA Driving School.
One in twenty people (5%) think getting into the passenger seat with their learner child driving is the most difficult thing parents do – more so than giving birth, getting through school exams and dealing with illness.
The AA/Populus survey of 11,361 people understandably showed illness as the most common choice for the hardest experience for parents (40%), followed by school exams (10%).
Vital on-road experience
The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) says it takes learners, on average, 45 hours of professional tuition and 22 hours of private practice to pass their driving test. Private practice helps learners get vital on-road experience so they can pass their test and go on to be safe and confident drivers.
Jim Kirkwood, managing director of AA Driving School, said: “Taking your children out for private practice doesn’t have to be stressful and it certainly shouldn’t be harder than giving birth or getting through a period of illness.
“Any amount of extra practice with friends or family is associated with a higher driving test pass rate*, so it’s really important that learners have this chance. But, it’s also important that those people taking learners for private practice feel comfortable doing so."
Taking a bit of time to re-familiarise yourself with the Highway Code and current driving practices can give people the boost they need to take to the passenger seat with confidence.
It will also help the learner get the most from the time and stop them picking up bad habits from their supervising passenger.
But it isn’t always easy to teach someone to drive, especially as private cars do not have dual-controls or a professional and patient instructor in the passenger seat.
Tips for supervising learner drivers
- Ask them what they have been learning in their lessons and consolidate that with practice rather than trying something new.
- Remember the law: it is illegal to use a mobile phone when you are supervising a learner. In the eyes of the law, it is the supervisor who is in control of the car.
- To supervise a learner driver, you must be over 21 and have held, and still hold, a full UK licence for the vehicle you are teaching in, for a minimum of three years.
- Don’t lose your patience. If you think you are going to, ask the learner to pull over in a safe place and try to calmly discuss what was going wrong.
- Try to give them as broad an experience as possible: go out at different times of day, on different routes and in different weather.
Supporting Learner Drivers
AA Driving School has a pioneering Supporting Learner Drivers course, which puts parents back in the driving seat with an AA instructor to help them develop skills for coaching learners. The course is designed to ensure practice drives complement and reinforce the syllabus taught to learners in lessons with a professional driving instructor.
For more information visit the AA website
* DfT Road Safety Research Report No.81 – Cohort II: A study of learner and new drivers
What do you think of this research? Did you find teaching your child to drive stressful? Let us know by leaving a comment below.