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driving teacher

Teaching your child to drive

Passing your driving test and upgrading your provisional licence is an emotional rite of passage for many of us. It can also bring tears to the eyes of parents as they consider the cost. 

driving instructor

High cost activity

Just over half of parents take their child out for driving lessons. And you can see why it’s so appealing, as the average cost of passing a test is more than £1,000 spread across 45 hours of lessons. But that’s just the learning. Our latest young driver report has shown that young people spend on average £2,299 a year running a car and spending on car insurance – and that’s before the price of the car itself!

Some parents have a big part to play in providing a car for young drivers. Our research in conjunction YouGov discovered that 53% of 18-24 year olds receive assistance with the purchase of their car. Our report also provides tips on how to choose the best first car as sometimes the most popular isn’t always the most cost-efficient…

So you think you can teach your child to drive?

It’s perhaps unsurprising that parents wish to reduce the cost of the learning stage with some driving lessons of their own. After all, who could be a better tutor than a loving parent who is happy to share their years of experience?

This might be a good moment to take our specially commissioned questionnaire.

It’s been designed by a psychologist to determine what your teacher personality is. Passing on knowledge is a complex and demanding activity and there’s no doubt that some of us can affect this transaction with less stress than others.

The quiz will reveal your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher and it provides tailored insights for your personality type on how to make the process as smooth and enjoyable as possible for both parties.

When it comes to teaching your child to drive are you a Kindly Sergeant Major, a Zen Master or The Boss? Psychologist Donna Dawson has the answer

Parents may feel that they are doing their children a favour when offering their services as a driving instructor, but they may be in for a surprise.

Parents may feel that they are doing their children a favour when offering their services as a driving instructor, but they may be in for a surprise. Play

Your child has asked you for driving lessons and you need to set up a teaching schedule. You:

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While your child is driving, you:

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Your child needs to learn theory as well. You:

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Your child keeps stalling the car while getting to grips with the clutch. You:

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On a main road, your child is driving under the speed limit and a long queue of traffic is building up behind you. You:

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Your child says that you are making them nervous. You:

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Your child needs help with a particular driving task that they continually get wrong, such as reversing around corners. You:

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Your child says that they don’t feel like a lesson on a day that you had previously agreed. You:

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After a driving lesson, you find yourself:

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Your child hits a parked car while practising with you. You:

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How to get started - top tips

Now you know what sort of parent teacher you are – do you dare let yourself in the car with your offspring behind the wheel? If you’ve not been put off yet, we have some valuable tips from driving instructors. Our two professionals have distilled years of experience in the hot seat down to some key points to bear in mind when teaching learner drivers. Spoiler alert: a calm appearance and the handbrake are your best friends!

learner driver top tips checklist

Give longer lessons, more regularly

‘Take them in a manual car if at all possible – it increases safety as well as future driving options,’ says Dave Barker, from Bee Free Driving School.

‘Once they are confident, go out on the road for closer to two hours than one hour. The way traffic is nowadays it could be up to three quarters of an hour before they get moving properly.

‘Keep the lessons quite regular so you don’t have to go over old ground.

‘Teach your child that they should be aware of both the road and the pavement, and don’t forget that there are lots more cyclists on the road these days.

‘Make sure they pause at roundabouts, rather than drive straight into them. That’s very important. But don’t scar them with criticism.

‘Many roads have 20mph limits nowadays, so be prepared for qualified drivers to overtake you erratically. And please, turn off your phones.’

advice for giving driving lessons

Keep calm and focus on safety

‘Parents should really make the effort to research the requirements for taking a test today,’ says Manuel Balisio of Manuel Driving School. ‘The Highway Code may have changed since they passed their own test, as have their own driving habits.

‘It’s almost impossible for a parent to teach their child all the way to a successful test. It’s far better to help by taking them for practice runs after they’ve had some initial professional lessons.

‘Staying calm is essential. A learner driver can be traumatised by an angry parent and can lose their confidence or panic.

‘Always insist (calmly!) that they put the hand brake on when they’re at lights. It’s incredible the number of learners who roll backwards, or forwards into other cars.

‘Give them experience of driving, but stay clear of the technical stuff. And stop taking them out during the final “fine tuning” lessons from a professional, before the test.

‘Don’t train a learner to pass their test – teach them to be a competent and safe driver after their test. Your aim should be to get them driving safely when they have their own little kids in the car with them, so you won’t have to worry about it for the rest of your life.’

Remember the cover

Don’t forget, if you are teaching your young’uns to drive, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got the right car insurance. Why not have a look at our car insurance deals today to make sure you’ve got the right cover for you and your teenagers.

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