How To Help Your Teen Start Their Driving Journey
Learning to drive is a significant milestone in a teenager’s life. The sense of freedom can be exciting but getting behind the wheel can also feel overwhelming and often unnerving for both learner drivers and their parents.
As a parent, it’s important to offer encouragement and support your teenager as they begin their driving lessons. To ensure they learn to drive safely, there a few things you can do to help them get off to the best start.
Help Them Choose A Driving Instructor
Even if you plan on teaching your teen to drive yourself, it’s still a good idea to get them some lessons with an approved instructor.
It’s vital to choose an instructor that they’re comfortable with as they’ll be spending a fair bit of time with them, learning an important skill. You should help them choose a qualified instructor who’s approved by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.
Ideally, you should find an instructor in the local area and one that’s recommended by friends or family. If you’re unsure, check reviews from previous learners. It’s also wise to get upfront information about costs, lesson durations and schedule availability. You’ll often be able to block book lessons which might work out cheaper in the long run.
Refresh Your Highway Code Knowledge
Highway code rules change regularly so, if you’re planning on helping your teenager with their theory test revision, you might want to brush up on your knowledge. There’s plenty of information available online or you can buy a hard copy from a high street store.
There are also multiple sites that offer free theory test practice which include hazard perception videos and multi-choice questions.
Offer Extra Driving Practice
While most learners choose to drive with a qualified instructor, many also benefit from getting additional experience outside of lessons. This allows them to build up time spent on the roads and can expose them to a range of different driving conditions.
For example, if their usual lessons are during the day, then you might suggest supervising them to drive in the evening when it’s darker. You can also include a variety of roads and introduce new routes. It’s important to avoid motorways, however, as learner drivers can only drive on these roads with an approved instructor.
This might also offer the opportunity for the learner to practice any particular manoeuvre they find difficult such as parallel parking, reversing or re-joining traffic.
If you are providing extra driving experience, it’s important to make sure both you and the learner are insured on the vehicle. Taking out temporary car insurance can be a good way to get cover for a learner driver for a short period of time.
Explain The Different Vehicle Components
It’s a good idea to explain the basics of the vehicle to the learner driver such as filling up the tank with fuel, topping up the windscreen wash and checking oil and other fluids. This will help them to get into the practice of safe driving and regular car checks once they pass their test.
Make sure you go through the various warning lights and what each one signals so they know what to do should something go wrong.
Make Plans For After They Pass
If your teen is planning on getting their own car or making use of a family car once they pass, it’s wise to start thinking about getting some insurance quotes. New driver cover can be expensive but there a few ways to make it a little cheaper.
Consider the make and model of vehicle they’ll be using and, if possible, choose one in a lower insurance group. You can also add them as a named driver but it’s wise to check with your provider what level of cover they offer.
Car insurance can usually be paid for monthly or annually, with the best price typically available to those who pay it off in one go. It also makes sense to shop around as quotes can vary widely.
Finally, make sure that if you’re supervising your teenager when they’re first learning to drive, try and remain calm and patient. Choose a time to take them out when you’re not stressed, tired or in a rush as this could discourage them. Try and set aside a set time each week when you know work or other responsibilities won’t get in the way.
It’s also important to set a good example when you’re in the drivers’ seat by abiding by safety rules, adhering to the highway code and demonstrating confident yet careful driving.