This one’s for the parents of learner drivers. Hopefully this will be helpful if you’re teaching someone to drive right now…and good luck, you must really like them.
Teaching a learner driver
Learning to drive is a big moment for both you and your child. Most learner drivers choose to have lessons with a professional driving instructor or mix between lessons and practising with someone using learner insurance. Driving instructors will be experts in the latest driving rules and can help your teen pass their test. However, the DVSA says the average learner driver needs an additional 22 hours practice with friends or family. This will help them get more important on-road experience.
There’s always the risk you accidentally teach them some bad practices. Even the most experienced driver will pick up bad habits over the course of a few decades. The driving test has also changed quite a bit over the years. Take a look at our advice on how to teach someone to drive.
Can a parent teach a child to drive?
Yes! Learner drivers need to be supervised at all times when they’re driving. This can either be by a qualified driving instructor or by a friend or family member.
When can you teach someone to drive?
You can supervise a learner driver if you’re 21 years or older and hold a full, valid driving license, which you’ve held for at least 3 years, for the type of car (automatic or manual) being driven. The learner driver needs to be at least 17 years old and have a provisional license. Check out this article about what age you can learn to drive for more info. You’ll need insurance too, but we’ll get onto that later.
Tips for parents teaching driving
- Do some driving revision
Make sure you’re up to date with road traffic laws before setting out with your learner driver. It could be helpful to re-familiarise yourself with The Highway Code. This essential reading for road users can be picked up for a few pounds, or you can read it for free here.
Our guide on how to prepare and what to expect on your driving test will give you a good idea of what your child needs to do to get driving test ready. Plus, you can brush up on road signs here.
- Talk to their instructor
Your child’s driving instructor will be able to let you know what’s been covered in lessons and also when the learner is ready to start practising with you. They’ll also be able to give you some personalised tips on how you can best help your child develop their skills.
Not found a driving instructor for your learner yet? Here’s 6 things to think about when choosing a driving instructor.
- Stay calm
If you shout or make non constructive comments, it’s likely to stress out your learner driver and potentially knock their confidence. We get it, teaching someone to drive can be stressful so it’s definitely easier said than done. Our learner driver report found that 19.6% of learner drivers found arguments the hardest part about learning to drive privately with friends or family. Although don’t let that put you off, there was some good news, almost half of learners said there wasn’t a hard part! To avoid any trouble, try using the praise – constructive criticism – praise method instead. The ROSPA have a handy guide on helping young people learn to drive available online free.
- Set a good example
It’s important to practice what you preach! It’s much harder to ask a learner driver to follow what you’re telling them if they see you doing the opposite every day.
- Mirrors – Signal – Manoeuvre
Driving tests today are often said to be much stricter than in previous years. So, it’s important to make sure you’re aware of the skills the examiner will be looking for. Encourage your learner to stick to these rules and make sure you’re running through the basics like Mirrors-Signal-Manoeuvre. Excellent all-round observation is the key to passing the practical driving test.
- Prepare your car
As supervisor to a learner driver it is your responsibility to make sure the car is in a safe and legal condition. Involving the learner in your pre-drive checks (tyres, lights, windscreen wash etc) is a great way to help them prepare for their test. If you need a reminder yourself here’s an article on the essential car maintenance checks. They’ll be asked to show their understanding of this during the ‘show me, tell me’ part of the practical test.
Make sure you’ve got the correct L plates on the car and in the right places. Learners can receive 6 penalty points if L plates aren’t properly prepared. Check out this article on L plates, P plates and T plates to find out everything you need to know.
Extra tip: To help you keep an eye on their driving you can pick up an interior rear-view mirror for the passenger side for just a few pounds.
- Prepare your route in advance
Always make the most out of the practice sessions with your learner driver. It’s a good idea to make an effort to plan your route in advance. Try and include as many different types of road and driving conditions as possible, e.g. single and dual carriageways, urban and rural roads, daylight and darkness. This will help the driver become confident driving in all scenarios.
What should you not do when you’re teaching someone to drive?
- Don’t take a learner out without proper learner insurance
- Don’t take them out in a car without L plates
- Don’t shout – good communication is key!
- Don’t stop coaching – you should be keeping an eye on the road at all times and looking out for potential hazards
Make sure the learner driver is insured
Driving without insurance could land your kid in big trouble, earning them 6 penalty points and a fine – not a great start to their driving career!
Luckily with Veygo you can cover a learner to drive your car for as little as one hour, right up to 180 days. Better yet, the cover is separate to your own insurance policy. So, if they need to make a claim while learning your no claims bonus is not affected. Get a quote for learner driver insurance in minutes.