When it comes to learning to drive, learners want to get in as much practice as possible – meaning they’ll hopefully pass as quickly as they can. For many young drivers, the best way to do this is to get in private driving practice outside of their lessons. We often hear stories of how it went for the young drivers, but not how it was for the parent who sits with them. We’ve asked Marmalade CEO, Crispin, how the first private driving practice went with his daughter Ella, and what the next steps were!
So Crispin, the first solo practice with Ella – how did it go?!
All in all, it went really well! Ella had only had one lesson with her instructor before we decided to head out, so of course, she is still very new to driving. I made sure I spoke to her instructor before taking her out, as I wanted to see from a professional’s point of view if she would be ready. He said it was ok – all practice is good practice – so we took it from there.
I have taken Ella out driving before, but that’s just been in a car park. It’s completely different out on the road and I honestly had no idea how it would be! There were a lot of real-life situations that Ella had to deal with – low sun, rain, reflections and of course, other drivers! I felt like I was more aware in the passenger seat than I am when I’m driving because I was having to focus on what was happening around us, as well as what Ella was doing.
Do you think one lesson was enough before having a private driving session?
Hmm, that’s a good question! I suppose all practice is good practice, but I think it was mainly helped by when we decided to go. We took a drive on a Sunday afternoon in a very quiet area so it wasn’t too bad – Ella had a chance to make small mistakes, for instance, there were a couple of times when she didn’t quite slow herself down enough before turning a corner and ended up being on the other side of the road. I think before we head out anywhere busier, I’d like her to get a few more lessons with her instructor under her belt.
Were you nervous?
When it was first discussed that I would give Ella some private driving practice I wasn’t, but as the time came, I had no idea how nervous I would actually be. I know what dangers there are out on the road, and I knew that essentially, I have a responsibility to take control should I need to. Needless to say, I had a lot of anxiety because I had to get it right.
In my position of work, I always have empathy for parents taking their children out driving, but until this lesson, I had never experienced it myself. I now have a completely different understanding and appreciation for parents who do it – because it wasn’t easy, for the nerves at least. There’s a certain vulnerability I think, which I didn’t realise until actually getting in the passenger seat as the accompanying driver.
Was Ella nervous?
Not at all – if anything she was excited! She has already had lots of driving practice off-road, with things like track days, go karts, racing tracks and rallying, so she feels very comfortable behind the wheel! The only difference is she isn’t used to is the other traffic. You don’t have to deal with cars coming towards you when you’re whizzing around a track, so this is the only place Ella really lacks confidence.
She has already driven lots off road & on tracks. Go-karts, race tracks and rallying so she is comfortable in the car- perhaps too comfortable.
What are your next steps for private practice?
We’ll definitely keep the private practice going! I think the next session will be after she’s had another one with her instructor. I’m not going to teach Ella anything, but try to cement what she has already learned.
We’ve also discussed and planned out getting in some Skid-Pan training for Ella, as well as other broader driver training once she has passed her test. It’s my personal belief that new drivers whilst technically equipped to take to the roads on their own still need a lot of support– because they’re still inexperienced behind the wheel. I’ll do everything I can to help Ella become a confident and skilled driver – as any dad would for their daughter!
Learner Driver Insurance→
Get short term cover on a friend or parent's car as a learner, to help you get that magic pass!