It probably seems like yesterday that you were teaching your child to ride a bike and now they’re ready to get behind the steering wheel! Fear not – we have some top tips to help you get your child through this important milestone.
The DVSA recommends that learner drivers get as much private practice as possible. In addition to this, research we conducted earlier this year with young driver suggested 50% of new drivers feel unprepared for the realities of life on the road from lessons and driving test. Parents’ support is vital to help prepare new drivers for life on the road. Here are our top tips!
Swot up on the Highway code
It’s likely to have been a while since you last read the Highway code, and there have probably been several updates. Brushing up on the latest version means will be a good reminder of the rules of the road – so you’ll be prepped and ready for questions when you’re out driving. After all, you don’t to be stumped when they ask you what that random road sign means!
Support them through the theory test
The theory test incorporates a section with multiple questions, as well as a Hazard Perception element. Think about supplying them with theory test DVDs or apps to revise with. Practising the type of test they will be faced with can help conquer any nerves. Why not encourage them to take a mock theory test on the gov.uk website?
Talk to their driving instructor
Working with the driving instructor to support your son or daughter will make the process smoother for everyone involved – as you’ll all be on the same page. The instructor will be able to share advice for supervising your young driver, and will be able to advise on what your son or daughter needs to work on between sessions.
Set a good example
From a young age, children mimic the actions of their parents. Driving is no different – by being a ‘model driver’ when they are in the car with you - it will encourage good habits. Talking through what you are doing in different situations, as well as exaggerating mirror – signal – manoeuvre, will encourage good habits.
Enable as much private practice as possible
Everyone’s heard the expression practice makes perfect! Getting practice in real life situations will not only increase skills and confidence for the test, but getting practice at different times of day, in different locations, and in different weather conditions, will prepare them for their driving life after they pass! Check out our top 8 drives to do as a learner for some ideas! Remember, whoever is supervising the learner must have held a UK Driving Licence for at least three years and be aged 21 years or more.
Whether they’re driving their own car, or will be using your car for driving practice, they will need insurance cover - and this doesn't have to be adding them as a named driver on your existing policy. The great news is that Marmalade offers a range of flexible options on their own car or a family car! What’s more, it’s super easy to set up – and there’s no risk to your No Claims Discount.
Prepare for the drive
So, you’re swotted up on the highway code, you’ve spoken to their driving instructor and you’ve got the insurance sorted, slapped on the L-Plates, now it’s time to get on the road. To ensure the session goes smoothly, ensure you check the car is roadworthy and legal (e.g. lights, screenwash, tyre tread and pressure, etc) and plan a suitable route – trying to vary each session based on skills they are keen to practise, and routes that enable them to drive in a variety of conditions – like rush hour, rural driving, night-time driving, different weather, car parks - to name just a few.
Stay calm and encourage them
If you’ve been driving a long time, it will be second nature to you. As it’s new to them, they will have a hundred things to think about. Ensuring you head out when you’re both in a good frame of mind and have plenty of time is a good start. Shouting and issuing a barrage of reminders and commends is likely to stress them out. Try to keep calm and provide praise at the same time as constructive feedback.
Good luck helping your son or daughter through their driving test - with any luck, you’ll soon be relieved of those taxi duties! In the meantime, if you’d like to be kept in the loop with tips and advice for parents of learner and new drivers, why not join our Facebook Group!