Teaching your child to drive: Tips and FAQs
Help! My teen is learning to drive!
Once you get over the fact that your child is old enough to drive, (and that you’re old enough to have a child who can drive!) most parents have a lot of questions. What are my responsibilities? Should I even teach them or should I leave the job to an instructor?
We’re tackling some of the most common questions about teaching your child to drive in the UK.
Can I teach my child to drive?
You can supervise your child while they are learning to drive as long as you meet the following conditions:
- You’re 21 years old
- You’ve held a full licence for three years for the EU or EEC
- You’re qualified to drive the type of vehicle they are learning to drive in e.g. manual transmission
Check out this article for more information: Can I supervise a learner driver?
How do I find a driving instructor for my child?
Your child’s driving instructor will be their most invaluable resource when learning to drive so it’s important to pick the right one. You and your child should work together to find the perfect instructor for them. Here are some things you should think about when choosing an Approved Driving Instructor:
- Ask around. If you were looking for a builder or landscaper, you would probably ask your friends and family for personal recommendations. The same applies to driving instructors.
- Find reviews. If you can’t get any recommendations from friends and family, have a look online from reviews or testimonials. Most driving instructors have a website or at least a Facebook page where you can find these.
- Is there a wait? A waiting list indicates that the driving instructor is in high demand. It’s a great indicator of how good they are. Although it might be convenient if the instructor is available the week you contact them (especially when you have an eager teen!), you might be better off waiting for the one you really want.
- Budget. Driving lessons are pretty expensive. Expect to pay at least £20 an hour or more. Some instructors offer deals if you book a block. It’s worth shopping around to see what offers there are. However, be wary of paying too little. If an instructor is offering lessons for considerably less than others in your area, there’s probably a reason why!
Want to know more? We’ve got a whole guide dedicated to how to choose the best driving instructor.
Can I teach my child to drive in a car park?
Many parents take their children to their local supermarket car park or industrial estate. These locations can be handy for getting familiar with the car and working on clutch control. But is it legal for learner drivers to practice there?
Drivers who are under 17 can practice without a provisional license as long as they’re driving on private land that doesn’t have public access. Supermarket car parks, even though they’re private land, are considered public places. That means insurance is required, so unless they’re over 17 and have a provisional license, they can’t drive there. Even if the car park’s empty, it’s illegal for your child to practice driving in a car park without insurance.
Here’s more info on the legal age for learning to drive in the UK.
Empty car parks to practice driving
If your child is 17, holds a provisional driving license and is insured to drive; empty car parks are a great place to take them to practice driving, especially when they’re beginners. Heading out early on a Sunday morning to a big car park is a great time as it’s usually very quiet.
However it’s important to be aware that supermarkets or car park owners may have their own objections to learner drivers practising on their land, so always double check if it’s okay.
What insurance do I need to teach my child to drive?
It’s important to make sure that your child is properly insured if they wish to do private practice without an instructor. If you’ll be teaching your son or daughter in your own car, you have the following insurance options:
- Short-term learner driver insurance – Temporary cover specifically for learner drivers practising in a friend or family member’s car. Our learner cover is available from 2 hours right up to 180 days and is the most flexible option. If they need to make a claim, it will not affect your main insurance policy.
- Named Driver – Alternatively, you can add your son or daughter as a named driver to your own insurance policy. If they need to make a claim as named driver, your own insurance policy and No Claims Bonus may be affected.
Remember that any insurance policy taken out with a provisional licence, is not valid once the learner passes their test. This means you’ll need to contact the insurance provider to upgrade their licence to a full licence.
Teaching your child to drive tips
There is plenty you can do to prepare for teaching your child to drive. We’ve got a whole article dedicated to how to teach someone to drive that we recommend you check out. Here’s some key things to remember:
No dual controls
Remember that unlike a driving instructor, you won’t have any dual controls. That means you need to feel confident both in your instructing ability and your communication skills. Can you negotiate your son or daughter through a dangerous road situation?
If the answer to the above question is no, it may be a good idea to have a refresher lesson with an instructor. It’s all too easy to pick up bad habits and you don’t want to pass them along to your son or daughter. Additionally, driving test standards have changed over the years, an instructor will make sure you’re up to date with the latest information.
Speak to your child’s driving instructor
Most people learn through a combination of lessons with an instructor and private practice with parents. Have a chat with your son or daughter’s driving instructor before hitting the road. They’ll be able to give you tips on where they feel your child needs extra practice and will let you know if they’re ready for private practice.
Remember that if this is the case, most of the learning will be done with their instructor. Treat their time with you as an opportunity to practice what they have already learned. Try not to contradict any of their instructor’s teachings.
Make sure the car is roadworthy
It’s your responsibility to make sure the car you are supervising your child in is roadworthy. Use this as an opportunity to teach your son or daughter how to make the necessary vehicle checks, e.g. fluid levels and tyre tread.
Are you thinking about teaching your child to drive? Make sure they’re properly insured with learner driver insurance. Cover is available from as little as 2 hours, right up to 180 days. It’s super flexible meaning you can tailor your practice to your family’s schedule, and only pay for what you need!