Parents of Learner Drivers: Your Questions Answered
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 that arise when it’s time for your son or daughter to learn to drive.
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:
- Are 21 years old
- Have held a full licence for three years for the EU or EEC
- Are qualified to drive the type of vehicle they are learning to drive in e.g. manual transmission
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!
Can I teach my child to drive in a car park?
Many parents take their children to 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?
Although a driving licence is not usually required in a supermarket car park as they are generally on private land, it is a public place and therefore insurance is required. This means that under 17s or those without a provisional licence cannot practice there as they can’t get car insurance. Unless your child is insured to drive the vehicle, it is illegal for them to practice in a car park.
Additionally, 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 undertake 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. This cover is usually available from 2 hours right up to 90 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. Remember to contact the insurance provider to upgrade their licence to a full licence.
How do I prepare to teach my child to drive?
There is plenty parents can and should do before taking their son or daughter out to practice driving. Make sure you are confident in your communication skills and ability to stay calm in a stressful situation. Can you negotiate your son or daughter through a dangerous road situation? There are no dual controls, so you must ensure your communication skills are up to scratch.
It’s a good idea for parents to have a refresher lesson with an instructor before taking their child out. 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.
Most people learn with 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.
It’s your responsibility to make sure the car you are supervising your child in is road worthy. 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 Veygo Learner Driver Insurance. Cover is available from as little as two hours, right up to 90 days. It’s super flexible meaning you can tailor your practice to your family’s schedule, and only pay for what you need!