Getting behind the wheel for the first time is a daunting experience, so it's really important that you get some practice in between driving lessons! Like any skill, you’ll only improve if you keep working at it, and build up some confidence doing things at your own pace.
Practising out of lessons
When you’re practising, you need to make sure you’re accompanied by an adult that is over 21 years of age, who has had their driving licence for 3 years or more, and most importantly that you’re covered by insurance. If you don’t, you could face an unlimited fine, be banned from driving and get up to 8 penalty points on your licence! Check out our new hourly learner driver insurance, Anytime to get you ready to hit the road.
So you’re ready to practise – time for your parents or guardians to step in! This can be quite challenging for everyone involved, so we’ve written a guide to help you both keep the peace behind the wheel. Here are our top tips on coping with the learner/teacher relationship from both sides.
Tips for parents:
Your immediate instinct might be to hide the car keys the minute they utter the words ‘driving lessons’, but it’s important to remember that they’re old enough, and, therefore, mature enough to get behind the wheel. Think back to your own driving lessons. Did your parents fret over you learning, and did you wonder what all the fuss was about? Well, they’re probably feeling exactly the same way.
Don’t take their first lesson
If you’re feeling particularly nervous about your teen taking to the road, it’s a good idea to let them get in a few lessons with a professional before you get in the passenger seat. A driving instructor will help them get to grips with the basics, and – in a dual control car, next to an experienced instructor – you’ll know that they’re in safe hands.
Find out which bits of their driving lessons are going well and which bits aren’t going so well. Having a good understanding of their progress will not only help ease your mind about them driving, but it will also mean you know which aspects of driving, in particular, you can help them with.
Brush up on your highway code
Although you’ve already got your licence, the driving test has changed a lot over the years, and you may not be as test ready as you think you are.
If you’re going to be teaching your child to drive, you should brush up on your highway code too. Revise together and test each other to show that learning goes both ways.
Tips for learners:
Understand their concerns
It’s only natural for a parent to be anxious when their child gets in the driver’s seat for the first time, and it’s important to keep that in mind. Keeping a record of each driving lesson’s progress will help put their minds at ease, and will help you to demonstrate your abilities on the road.
Who do you learn best with?
It’s normal to gel with some people, as teachers, more than others, and the same applies when it comes to family. You might find that you learn much more with your mum than your dad or with your brother than your sister, or vice versa. Find out who you learn best with, and take as much private tuition with them as possible.
Communication is key
Your mum and dad aren’t trained instructors. There may be things your instructor has told you to do differently, but it’s important not to snap at them insisting they’re wrong. Communicate effectively and explain that you’ve been told to do it differently by your instructor. As long as you’re both able to maintain effective communication, your private tuition will be very useful alongside your professional lessons.
Keep your cool – both of you!
The most important rule of learning to drive with a family member and of teaching a family member to drive is that you need to stay calm. You won’t achieve anything if your lesson escalates into a screaming match. If things do start to go pear shaped, pull over and take a couple of minutes separately to cool down before trying again.
Remember, you both have the same goal here: to get you, the learner, on the road!